Archive for November, 2011

Spying on Assessment


My grade 9 class is writing a math test as we speak. They have a multiple choice component in order to get them used to the idea of multiple choice in preparation for eqao. Tom created and shared a file with me that allows students to answer their multiple choice questions on their TI Nspire. While on it’s own, it’s kind of a nifty trick, the real benefit to me is that I can spy on their progress as they work through the assessment.

I try to stay out of the way when they write a test, so I’m not always looking over their shoulders to see how they’re doing.  Now I can finally see who is struggling with the pace of the assessment, what they’re spending most of their time working on, and really get a feel for the “process” that they went through to come to a final answer.

Often I’ll get a paper back and be trying to figure out how that person came up with that answer.  This gives me a little window into their thinking as they are being assessed.  This stuff is gold!

Nowhere to hide … not learning is not an option:)


This grade 9 lesson had me experimenting with sticking with something until I was sure everyone was on track. I used the class screen capture feature in TI-Nspire Navigator. I continuously refreshed to “see” if everyone was on task and successful. The context was a beautiful Summer Olympic data file that allowed students to build linear models for men’s and women’s gold medal winning performances over time (modern day Olympics). The task was to find, according to their linear models, when men and women might share the same 100 m times.

I began the class with our normal homework Quick Poll:

After taking up a sampling of problems from #3,7, and 19 from the homework, I sent the Olympic.tns file to the class through the TI-Nspire Navigator and modeled the 100m event for the class:

Below is a class screen capture a few minutes into the activity.

Below is a class screen capture 10 minutes into the activity that was visual evidence for me and my students, that we were all successful, and could move on:

Pretty powerful stuff! The students knew that I cared enough that they were all on track and understanding the task to not move on until we could see ALL of us were successfull. This really drove home the notion that not learning was NOT an option. Everyone could and would be successful in today’s class.

Let the reporting begin!


We had our first sharing session on Monday. Chris, Maureen, Aggie (our principal), Chelsey (student), Alley (student), and I presented to our OCSB senior executive. It was an ambitious agenda for a 15 minute session, but we were pretty pleased with the outcome. Our goal was to model what learning math felt like for our MTHS students. Each S.O. was given a TI-Nspire CAS handheld they were able to keep (thanks Len:). We had the TI-Nspire Navigator system setup and running. We modelled Quick Poll, make presenter, and class screen capture. We then shifted into a discussion on why MTHS has seen such a dramatic, sustained improvement on our Grade 9 Math EQAO scores.

We recorded a video screen capture video of the session using the SMART recorder:

Making Progress!:)


I am pretty proud of how my MPM1D lesson went today. Check out my lesson notes and video (Lesson 2).

Why am I proud?
- I kept my talking to a minimum
- I started the lesson with having the students reflect on their learning from the previous class
- The students generated the math that drove the lesson
- I had the students predict what they expected before they saw the results of their experiments
- The heart of the lesson had the students engaged with, owning, and creating their own math
- I loved how the TI-Nspire Navigator allowed me to quickly capture student-generated examples that formed their homework
- I ended the lesson with students reflecting on their learning from the lesson

I have always loved CBR2 activities. The fact that students painstakingly had collected ball bounce drop height and rebound height data by hand the class before was significant. In groups, they created scatter plots. This took a whole period. Collecting and representing data with the TI-Nspire CAS and CBR2 takes 5 seconds! The students had an appreciation for the power of what the technology was doing for them. I love the tight feedback loop that exists when students interact with this technology. They get instant feedback that they hold against their thinking, revise their thinking and then try again, and again, until things make sense to them. The Navigator made an already powerful learning experience even more effective, allowing me to capture and share “challenge” graphs the students themselves had created. The class then had to describe the motion that led to these “challenge” graphs.

Beautiful lesson. Beautiful student-engagement. Beautiful student learning. Beautiful teacher learning:)