We ventured off track from “the plan” for day two. There are nine National T3 instructors facilitating learning at our site. We decided to have our teacher-learners change classes so that they could work with and learn from four additional T3 instructors.

The Middle Grades teacher-learners had the following learning opportunites on day 2:

- Investigating Computer Algebra Systems with Paul Alves
- Creating Sliders with Josh Mize
- Data Collection with the CBR with Margaret Bambrick
- TI-Nspire Presentation View with Alicia Page

I had the opportunity to facilitate the following learning:

- Formative Assessment with the TI-Nspire Navigator for Algebra I participants and for Getting Started with High School Math participants (twice!)
- Phases of the Moon for Connecting Science and Math participants

Here’s feedback from one of our teacher-learners:

“Hey y’all,

I am so excited! I gave myself homework, which was to recreate the document that Josh (TI instructor) taught us how to do today, without looking at my notes or the previous document. I did it! Change the leg lengths by increasing or decreasing the sliders and the figure changes shape. It also calculates c (hypotenuse) by measuring, but then look at the second page and you can see where the c value is calculated using c = square root of (a^2 + b^2) and the two columns (one measured and one calculated) match each other. Too hard for 6th grade but useful in 7th and 8th.

D”

I can also report an interesting story from Josh. He says that he showed the Middle Grades teacher-learners several documents with sliders and then asked them which one they would like to create. They said “none of them; it’s not what we teach.” So on the fly, he taught them to use sliders to illustrate the pythagorean theorem just as described above. He was learning with his “students” to teach them what they wanted to learn. Exciting! Isn’t this how it is supposed to be? Josh dropped his plan when it wasn’t going to work for his learners. He taught how to use sliders to make math dynamic while meeting the needs of his learners.

When formatively assessed this morning, the Middle Grades teacher-learners could successfully work through the spiral activity showing they had acquired the essential skills of day 2 without marching through the standard curriculum. Wow!

I was a student in Josh’s class. He is a very gifted teacher. We were all very appreciative of him “winging it” to design a new document he had not pre-conceived before class. How could we not be interested and on task with what we were learning, when he changed his lesson plan just to do what his students wanted/needed to know. One of the things I liked most about Josh’s class is the wait time he gave us. I think it is probably a natural part of his teaching strategy, but I bet his wait time was longer with us, because he was pensively considering how best to create the document we wanted. It allowed me time to catch up and even try to guess what we would do next and perhaps even (ooh, daringly scary) try it before he said it and see if my thought process was right. It even allowed me for awhile (I eventually got too far behind to keep this up) to create the document in two ways, on the calculator itself, but then on the teacher software too. It’s another reminder that I need to give my middle grades kids more time to catch on, catch up, or cast ahead. Wonderful class. Thanks, Josh for the class, and Jill for the time to think and write about the TI-document design and classroom pedagogy I learned while in that class.

DD

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