Monday, January 21, 2013

Mid Year Status

I've changed the name of this blog to reflect what my goals are.  All of my posts have been related to updating my Algebra 1 class to reflect modern trends.  I think education is in the process of a major transformation that has primarily been brought about by the internet.  Information is now much easier to access and it also easier for people to communicate around that information.  This brings so many changes and I think public education has to find meaningful ways to adapt.

The first thing I'm doing is creating central locations online where all of my classroom materials are located.  I am consolidating all of my materials onto a shared drive at my school where all of  my colleagues can have access to them.  I have also created a website for my algebra class using our school's Wordpress platform.  Here's a link:

EHS Algebra 1 Site

I'm a big fan of all things Google, but I don't like how their sites are so tailored to their applications.  I have years of material from my pre-Google doc days and Wordpress gives me greater flexibility in how I present material created using a large number of platforms.  Each day's classroom activities are posted online along with the class notes that I give using a SMART Board.

Our math dept is in the process of transitioning to the Common Core and I feel one the big changes that can happen at this time is that the textbook manufacturers will no longer have so much control over our curriculum.  To that end, I'm writing a textbook using the modules created at  Here is a link to the latest version of the book, I pieced it together over the summer and I'm finalizing it a chapter at a time as the year goes on.  I'm pretty happy with chapters 1-5 in this version

EHS Algebra 1 Book

Next year, we will be implementing Common Core based units on statistics and modeling with functions.  I plan on modifying my existing book to match the new curriculum.

It is also very easy for educators to communicate with each other now, that's one the main purposes of this blog.  I post things that work for me and I use great ideas from educators the world over.  This seems very transformative to me and I'm happy to be on board.

I also think technology has the power to help individualize student's education and I'm trying out ALEKS in this capacity.  It's a program that uses the concept of knowledge spaces to find out where a student is at and assesses them on the material they are ready to learn.  I have been using it successfully since August 2012 and I feel it's a step in the right direction.  My students use ALEKS in a very positive way and I think it's helping them master concepts.  It has yet to result in increased grades in my class, but I still think it is helping them.

Something I'd like to pursue next year is Standards Based Grading.  I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do it yet, any suggestions would be welcomed, but I think it's an important step in creating individualized instructions.

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