This is the second of three posts on my classes this semester (one post per class). My grade 12 math post is here.
My grade 9 math class is a very fun group.
|My grade 9s' strengths.|
They are a group of students who take their work very seriously. There was a lot of stress going into the diagnostic test, and worry about not remembering the math they learned from last year or being able to complete the test in time. There were a lot of complaints afterward that the test was brutally hard. We (grade 9 teachers) had tried to reassure the students that the test was only to make sure everyone was placed properly, and while I was sorry to hear that there was so much stress on the students' part, it showed me that they cared.
|What my grade 9s have pledged to work at and improve upon during the school year.|
Love seeing the commitment to getting better at math, and being outside their comfort zone!
On the whole, the students are very comfortable with technology, though not all have their own devices. We've been using a class set of tablets to supplement, for now, but the applied level class will be taking them over in the near future (the tablets are allocated to the applied classes... I've been lucky to have them up until now!).
The Term:I've been structuring the units similarly to the math classes (MCF3M and MFM2P) I converted to BYOD last year. Our first unit - Number Sense - went very smoothly, thanks partially to the addition of a peer teacher to the class. I had a great peer teacher last semester, and she was invaluable. Already this semester's peer teacher has been a huge help as all 30 students worked through their first set of learning goals.
Many students are choosing to learn from the textbook, and worksheets are very popular. Students are always encouraged to help each other out, and to take advantage answer keys to assess whether or not they are mastering the skills. Others are choosing online games (like Integer Jeopardy, or Dividing Fractions Soccer), and nearly all of them are working together - teaching and learning from each other - which is great to see.
We've started using a tracking board again, so that the students can see (and double-check) where they are in the unit. It also allows me to touch base with students who are falling behind. It works to help keep both the students and myself organized!
Student ReactionEven though this is a very different approach to learning math than what the students are used to, they seem to be adapting very well. This could be because everything is new in grade 9 - new school, new timetable, new courses, new classmates. The response seems to be overwhelmingly positive.
The other day, while I was filling out the tracking board for the first time, I overheard some of the students talking as they were watching me colour in their completed squares. They were saying they felt these concepts were easy, that they were proud to see their accomplishments noted on the tracking board, and that they were surprised to see that what they had accomplished in one week this year would have taken them over a month last year. They were thrilled!
Now, granted, these were mostly review concepts, but allowing the students to choose how they learn seems to improve their confidence. Having them choose the pace at which they learn seems to take away some of the stress they've associated with learning math. I'm looking forward to great things with this vibrant group.