Status on Learning Targets…

- Calculus: done

- Statistics: not all the way through the text, but I’ve gotten through everything we’ve done in the class I’m taking, and I can add to it later

- Trigonometry & Analytic Geometry: done, unless I get through things and have time for an extra chapter, at which point I’ll add in those LTs

- Geometry: just opened the book (I’ll spare you a link to an empty document ;))

If anyone feels like giving me feedback, please do so. This has been a bigger task than I anticipated!

Now for some brainstorming…I have an idea for how I want to structure my units. For each unit, I want to put one or more real problems (of the WCYDWT variety) up on the bulletin board. The idea is that I will choose these Big Problems (don’t I come up with creative names?) as things that can be found using what they will learn in the unit. We’ll keep looking at them as we go through the unit, evaluating how our new knowledge can help us reach new understandings about the Big Problems. (I totally need a better name than Big Problems.)

What I want my kids to recognize is that *math can be useful*. I think it will also push them in the right direction for completing each semester’s final assessment, assuming I stick with that idea.

So once I get my Learning Targets finished, I think I will tackle the first couple of units for each class and figure out…

- Big Problems

- Assessments

- Instruction

- Homework/practice sets

I think doing that will help me feel ready to start the year, though the more units I can prepare ahead of time, the better. Oh, and I also need to work on my Policies & Procedures sheet (to explain things like my crazy new grading idea).

I’m required to give a final assessment at the end of each semester. For my 9th and 10th graders, the final is worth 15% of the semester grade (with each of the quarters in that semester counting for 42.5%), and for 11th and 12th graders, the final is 20% (each quarter 40%). Not all that SBG-friendly, since it’s not something I can reassess.

BUT…we can choose to have the students do some sort of “exhibition” in lieu of an exam. This, I think, I can work with, and still stay true to the SBG philosophy.

So today I thought of something I could have the students do. It’s not totally processed in my mind, so there are probably pitfalls and things that don’t make sense. But here’s where I am with it so far.

- Students choose something they’re interested in. Ideally this is some sort of issue that is important to them.

- Students find numbers related to their issue. They may have to look online, they may have to go somewhere and take their own measurements, they may have to call someone in the field to ask for numbers.

- Students perform calculations on the numbers. At this point it will tie in with the Learning Targets for their course that semester, and they will have to demonstrate and explain how they have used a certain number of concepts. (Certain number from each unit, maybe? Not sure.)

- Students interpret their work. What does their work do to help us understand the issue better? Does it help us develop possible solutions? What action can they take now that they have done this work?

- Students develop a way to present their work – maybe an oral presentation, maybe a backboard for a “Math Fair,” I’m not sure yet.

Although the product (which would be a presentation of all the work) would determine their grade on the “final,” it’s something they would be working on over the course of the semester. I imagine setting due dates for the different parts of the project, requiring students to plan out what data they will look for before they go and get it, etc.; I’m not planning to throw this out there and say “do it.” I also expect that I would offer individual student conferences (formal and informal) so that they could get feedback on their work, make sure they really are demonstrating mastery of LTs through it (there’s that opportunity for reassessment), etc.

What do you guys think of this as a final assessment?