#LL2LU Learning Progressions – Faculty Forum Oct. 30

As part of the Faculty/Staff Forum peer-to-peer professional development, I offered #LL2LU as a session. Shelley Paul (@lottascales) co-facilitated this session for our teacher-learners.Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 6.48.08 PM

We set a lofty goal.  In the hour, we wanted everyone to write a learning progression and complete a feedback loop.

Here’s the learning plan:

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I was not completely sure we could accomplish the challenge, but it was worth a try.  We started with my 4 minute Ignite talk on SBG and the additional layer Leading Learners to Level Up adds.

Experiencing a leveled assessment always feels a little uncomfortable to a teacher.  I was worried, but Shelley encouraged me to persist. Feedback indicates that it was a good choice.

It was good to actually practice this method– how it feels to both TAKE a leveled assessment and CREATE the levels.

It was exactly what I needed. I have noticed that my kids have a hard time asking for help or knowing when they need help. Having “I can” statements will help them know where they are and where they need to go.

It was a great exercise in thinking about the proficiency levels and where we would like all students to be with a given skill. Practicing how to work backwards was important to see how to break down the skill. I also liked the idea of not having “grades” but levels and how that empowers students to learn to ask question.

It helps for me to have time to think & do. Evaluate & synthesize. It also really helps to have you there for guidance & advice.

It was exactly what I needed. I have noticed that my kids have a hard time asking for help or knowing when they need help. Having “I can” statements will help them know where they are and where they need to go.

Samples of the learning progressions generated during this hour are show below.  For the first time, I have seen a visual leveled learning progression for non-readers. Yay! Chari Nickerson (@charinickerson) sketched the four levels for Kindergarten for the life cycle of a plant and included I can… statements for reference.

One hour goes by really fast when you are engaged in the work and learning. We did not have time to convert these learning progressions into formative assessments, but we did complete the first feedback loop.  Just offering and receiving feedback deepens understanding and motivates revision.

What if we used this type of plan with our student-learners? What if we offered a challenge and a feedback loop? What might be learned if learners review the work of others? What feedback might they offer and receive?

#LL2LU Mathematical Communication at an early age

When my daughter was learning to talk, we coached her in the moment.  When she exclaimed “Mommy, I eat-ed the whole thing!,” we countered with “you ate the whole thing!” Right there in the moment, we offered feedback and correction.  When someone gave her an unexpected gift, we would way “what do you say?” “Thank you.” Right there in the moment. 

In the moment… Hmm… As a high school and junior high math teacher, I often lamented and worried about my learner’s inability to successfully communicate what they knew.  Did I coach them in the moment – in the learning episode? Or did I correct them only on “test” day?

This week I’ve been helping in 4th grade math – well, I hope I’ve been helping.  Arleen Honick and Laura McRae allowed me to join their math sessions for Unit 3 as they work with our young learners on multiplication, division, number sentences, & algebra.

Continue the pattern:  18, 27, 36, ___, ___, ___, ___

Lots of hands went up.

18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72
Yes! How did you find the numbers to continue the pattern?

S1:  I added 9.  (Me: That’s what I did.)
S2: I multiplied by 9.  (Me: Uh oh…)
S3: The ones go down by 1 and the tens go up by 1. (Me: Wow, good connection.)

Arleen and Laura probed and pushed for deeper explanations.

S1: To get to the next number, you always add 9. (Me: That’s what I did.)
S2: I see 2×9, 3×9, and 4×9, so then you’ll have 5×9, 6×9, 7×9, and 8×9. (Me: Oh, I see! She is using multiples of 9, not multiplying by 9. Did she mean multiples not multiply?)
S3: It’s always the pattern with 9’s. (Me: He showed the trick about multiplying by 9 with your hands.)

Without the probing and pushing for explanations, I would have thought some of the children did not understand.  This is where in-the-moment formative assessment can accelerate the speed of learning.

There were several more examples with probing for understanding. Awesome work by this team to push and practice. Arleen and Laura checked in with every child as they worked to coach every learner to success.  Awesome!

24, 30, 36, ___, ___, ___, ___
49, 42, 35, ___, ___, ___, ___
40, 32, 24,  ___, ___, ___, ___

I was so curious about the children’s thinking.  Look at the difference in their work and their communication.

By analyzing their work in the moment, we discovered that they were seeing the patterns, getting the answers, but struggled to explain their thinking.  It got me thinking…How often in math do we communicate to children that a right answer is enough? And the faster the better??? Yikes!  No, no, no! Show what you know, not just the final answer.

My turn to teach.

It is not enough to have the correct numbers in the answer.  It is important to have the correct numbers, but that is not was is most important.  It is critical to learn to describe your thinking to the reader.

How might we explain our thinking? How might we show our work? This is what your teachers are looking for.

The children gave GREAT answers!

We can write a sentence.
We can draw a picture.
We can show a number algorithm. (Seriously, a 4th grader gave this answer. WOW!)

But, telling me what I want to hear is very different than putting it in practice.

It makes me wonder… How can I communicate better to our learners? How can I show a path to successful math communication? What if our learners had a learning progression that offered the opportunity to level up in math communication?

What if it looked like this?

Level 4
I can show more than one way to find a solution to the problem.  I can choose appropriately from writing a complete sentence, drawing a picture, writing a number algorithm, or another creative way.

Level 3
I can find a solution to the problem and describe or illustrate how I arrived at the solution in a way that the reader does not have to talk with me in person to understand my path to the solution.

Level 2
I can find a correct solution to the problem.

Level 1
I can ask questions to help me work toward a solution to the problem.

What if this became the norm in our elementary math learning? What if we used this or something similar to help our learners self-assess their mathematical written communication? If we emphasize math communication at this early age, will we ultimately have more confident and communicative math students in middle school and high school?

What if we lead learners to level up in communication of understanding? What if we challenge them to make their thinking visible?

How might we impact the world, their future, our future?

Peer-to-Peer PD: Sharing our practices to build capacity

Our Faculty/Staff Forum team has recruited facilitators and coordinated learning experience for our first Faculty/Staff Forum.  Faculty were offered sessions to prepare to use Haiku for their peer-to-peer learning sessions. They’ve organized the offerings on our Haiku site and have launched an invitation to sign up for a course that interests the learner.

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The offerings for this Wednesday’s peer-to-peer learning are shown below.  Isn’t it interesting that what we want to learn aligns with what we want to teach? Learners want to grow together, share what they are learning, and collaborate on next steps.

What will we learn? Will we apply what we learn? How might we grow and learn together by sharing bright spots and successes?

Title: Evernote Workflow
Teacher(s): Rhonda Mitchell
Class description: Your students are engaged in meaningful learning experiences everyday. How can you help students extend and deepen that learning by using the portfolio process? We will develop a workflow for capturing learning in Evernote.  Please bring a computer or iPad to this session.

Prerequisite: None
Minimum: 3     Maximum: 15

Sign up:12:30pm class
Sign up: 3:30pm class

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Title: Integrating iPads with Young Learners
Teacher(s): Erin Lindsey and Karen Boykins
Class description: In this workshop we will highlight several apps that are geared towards 3’s through 1st grade. These will include, Story Wheel, My Story, Show Me, and Skitch. We will show how it has been incorporated in our class as well as have time to work with one another on other ways it each can be utilized.

Prerequisite: Please bring and iPad and have at least 2 of these apps ALREADY downloaded.
Minimum: 5     Maximum: 12

Sign up:12:30pm class
Sign up: 3:30pm class

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Title: Children’s Literature: Polacco, Pulver, and More
Teacher(s): Meredith Burris
Class description: Don’t have time for a full-length book for reading aloud to your class? Come explore some picture books that can be used with older children that address a range of curricular areas: science, math, social studies, grammar, writing, etc.

Prerequisite: None
Minimum: 3     Maximum: 18

Sign up: 3:30pm class

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Title: Introduction to Haiku
Teacher(s): Amanda Thomas
Class description: You’ve had a glimpse into the world of Haiku and now you are hooked. Let’s learn how to create a page, post pictures, add documents, and maybe more. Be sure to bring your computer with you.

Prerequisite: Be able to sign into Haiku on your own.
Minimum: 3     Maximum: 10

Sign up: 12:30pm class
Sign up: 3:30pm class

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Title: Advanced Haiku
Teacher(s): Melissa Walker
Class description: Come and learn more about how to use Haiku class polls, assessment, link your Twitter feed to your page, and create class Wikis. Please bring any questions or future assignments for Haiku. Be sure to bring your computer with you.

Prerequisite: Already using Haiku and have ideas on ways you want to use this tool in the classroom
Minimum: 3     Maximum: 25

Sign up: 3:30pm class

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Title:  Using Dropbox as a Teaching Tool
Teacher(s): Janet Lee
Class description: Learn all about Dropbox and how to use it in your classroom! We will discuss ideas for how to use Dropbox to make your workflow smoother and how your students can use it to learn more dynamically. Please bring a laptop. An iPad is optional.

Prerequisite: None
Minimum: 3     Maximum: 15

Sign up: 3:30pm class

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Title: Using Twitter in the Classroom
Teacher(s): Ashley Johnston
Class description: Learn how you can introduce your students to the world of social media through Twitter! Twitter is widely recognized for its professional development community, but it can also be used to improve class lessons, facilitate distance learning, encourage and improve student reflection, give your students an audience, and act as a tool for formative assessment. Come learn how putting Twitter in the hands of students can enhance your lessons and student learning in the classroom.

Prerequisite: None
Minimum: 3     Maximum: 20

Sign up:3:30pm class

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Title: Leading Learners to Level Up
Teacher(s): Jill Gough and Shelley Paul
Class description: How many times are teachers shocked to discover after the learning episodes are complete, that the learners did not, in fact, learn? This conversation is designed to help teachers design paths for formative assessment that leads learners to level up. In her book Grading and Learning, Susan Brookhart calls for assessment that motivates effort and achievement. We will tackle the problem of proficiency by developing and implementing a system of formative assessment that harnesses the power of positivity. Learners will be able to say “I can…” and “Can you help me…” based on the assessment empowering the learner to have control over the path to success.

Prerequisite: Curiosity, willingness to prototype
Minimum: 5     Maximum: 20

Sign up: 3:30pm class

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Title:  My Learning Entries
Teacher(s): Jack Parrish
Class description: What things are grade levels incorporating into their student’s My Learning folder? What are good additions and what are poor additions? How do we make their additions add to student personal understanding? In this conversation we will discuss and examine My Learning among class participants. Attendees should be willing to share their student folders with others in order to help the class see what different grades are adding.

Prerequisite: How to access student My Learning folders on Evernote. Need to bring whatever device from which you access Evernote.

Minimum: At least one representative from two different grade levels     Maximum: none

Sign up: 3:30pm class

Is there something that intrigues you from this list? Are these compelling learning sessions? If they are from the needs and interests of the teacher-learners in our community, will we build capacity as we learn together?

PD: Assessment (a.k.a Falconry) – feedback

Identifying problems as a way to move others takes two long-standing skills and turns them upside down. First, in the past, the best [learners] were adept at accessing information. Today, they must be skilled at curating it— sorting through the massive troves of data and presenting to others the most relevant and clarifying pieces. Second, in the past, the best [learners] were skilled at answering questions (in part because they had information their prospects lacked). Today, they must be good at asking questions— uncovering possibilities, surfacing latent issues, and finding unexpected problems. (Pink, 132 pag.)

When we improve and grow in our art of questioning, we serve our learners. We must be fearless about uncovering possibilities, surfacing latent issues, and finding unexpected problems  before it’s too late – before the gap between what I know and what I need to know gets too big.

We met yesterday to continue our learning on assessment.  Our stated purpose for yesterday’s learning:

  • I can describe the difference between formative and summative assessment.
  • I can identify types of formative assessment that are employed by my team and share student work.

Additional purposes we are working toward include:

  • I can analyze student work to plan for formative assessment next steps.
  • I can contribute to the questions and formative assessment strategies of others to move learning forward.

We started with the mini-lesson on summative and formative assessment.  I wanted to begin to connect dots. The summer reading on the Art of Questioning connects to Greg Bamford’s work with us on growth mindset which connects to assessment.  Little did I know how important these connections would be during this hour of professional development.

The mini-lesson started with a quote from Make just one change: Teach students to ask their own questions.

We want more students to experience the burst of energy that comes from asking questions that lead to making new connections, feel a greater sense of urgency to seek answers to questions on their own, and reap the satisfaction of actually understanding more deeply the subject matter as a result of the questions they asked.  (Rothstein and Santana, 151 pag.)

Formative assessment and actionable feedback empowers teacher-learners and student-learners to ask questions, make new connections, and understand in new and different ways.

Asking the right question enough questions is key.  Persistence is required. We must stick with it until we uncover possibilities, surface latent issues, and find unexpected problems.

The mini-lesson reviewed formative assessment – assessment for learning – and summative assessment – assessment of learning.  Today we wanted to focus on actionable feedback. Do we offer learners feedback that helps them grow and learn? Do we give feedback that spurs action? How might we?

In groups of three, teachers shared an assessment with student data used to assess learning.  The conversations centered around the following questions.

    • What was this assessing?
    • What information did you learn about this student-learner?
    • What action(s) did you take based on what you learned?
    • What action(s) did the learner take based on this learning?
    • Is this formative assessment, summative assessment, or both?

Feedback in the form of What if…, I like…, and I wonder… served to deepen the understanding of action steps and strategies to forward learning.

In each sharing session we heard strategies and actions taken to uncover possibilities, surface latent issues, and find unexpected problems. This is a purpose of formative assessment.  When we uncover possibilities, surface latent issues, and find unexpected problems what actions do we take on behalf of the learner, and what actions do we coach the learner to take? Worth repeating:

Today, [educators] must be good at asking questions— uncovering possibilities, surfacing latent issues, and finding unexpected problems. (Pink, 132 pag.)

It is the art of questioning.

I wonder if my faculty understands that the feedback they give me about these sessions is an opportunity for formative assessment and actionable feedback. It is important to me that I serve a purpose and make a contribution in our community.  Their feedback helps me plan for the next learning experience, become better at differentiation, and learn more about our community.  I read and reread every written comment.  I am grateful for both the warm and cool feedback.  I hope they know that they can use I like…, I wish…, I wonder…, and what if… to offer constructive feedback.

While every sentence of feedback is important to me, here is a sampling of feedback comments that I appreciate.

I can make sure I’m encouraging each child along the way. We will not assume the action taken, instead we will help them figure out how they are thinking. We are learning while they are learning. With my example I can take videos of the child and show them how they are working at each task and goal that they want to reach. Once I show them they can plan the next step for them to succeed.

Being more aware of your assessments benefit the child in the learning process. Learning about what other teams have done and what they are currently doing has sparked some new ideas.

How do we include the students in the action that needs to happen after a formative assessment? I’d love to hear ways in which other teachers have done this successfully.

I think talking about an example of an assessment between each other definitely helped us understand how we can assess our kids better. It takes all of us talking together to really understand and learn how to help these kids along the way. We feed off each other when we give examples.

I would have loved to had more of a working session with others to add, amend, and create new assessment ideas. It was nice to talk about ONE assessment from another grade level, but I think a greater jigsaw, among grade levels that are similar (K, 1,2 and 3,4 or 4,5,6) might be more beneficial to those seeking new or different assessment.

Feeding up, feeding back, and feeding forward – how do I know that I am doing these?

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Are we getting far enough down the path? Are we providing enough insight? Are we  interested in stepping to the next higher level? Are we asking the right questions?

I aspire to be a Falconer.

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.

PD: Assessment (a.k.a Falconry)

Grant’s quote highlights the importance of formative assessment.

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Formative assessment compels action – action on the part of the teacher and the learner.

    • Action (teacher): Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path…
    • Action (learner): … we can challenge for ourselves.
    • Action (teacher): They provide us just enough insight
    • Action (learner): …we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world,
    • Action (learner): makes me want to step to the next higher level.
    • Action (teacher and learner):  ask the questions that they want us to answer…
    • Action (teacher and learner): overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome.

Continuing our work on assessment from the September 11 workshop, we will meet today to share assessment practices and to discuss how our assessments are opportunities to learn.

Today’s learning plan, shown below, was collaboratively designed with Rhonda Mitchell (@rgmteach), Kathy Bruyn (@KathyEE96), and Pam Lauer (@PamLauer1). We used the feedback from our last session and our purpose intentions to inform our design.  The purpose of our work today

  • I can describe the difference between formative and summative assessment.
  • I can identify types of formative assessment that are employed by my team and share student work.
  • I can analyze student work to plan for formative assessment next steps.
  • I can contribute to the questions and formative assessment strategies of others to move learning forward.

The mini-lesson uses quotes from our summer reading on the Art of Questioning.

We want more students to experience the burst of energy that comes from asking questions that lead to making new connections, feel a greater sense of urgency to seek answers to questions on their own, and reap the satisfaction of actually understanding more deeply the subject matter as a result of the questions they asked.  (Rothstein and Santana, 151 pag.)

Identifying problems as a way to move others takes two long-standing skills and turns them upside down. First, in the past, the best [learners] were adept at accessing information. Today, they must be skilled at curating it— sorting through the massive troves of data and presenting to others the most relevant and clarifying pieces. Second, in the past, the best [learners] were skilled at answering questions (in part because they had information their prospects lacked). Today, they must be good at asking questions— uncovering possibilities, surfacing latent issues, and finding unexpected problems. (Pink, 132 pag.)

The excitement of learning, the compelling personal drive to take one more step on the path towards wisdom, comes when we try to solve a problem we want to solve, when we want to solve, when we see a challenge and say yes, I can meet it.  Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level. Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Teacher-learners have been asked to bring an assessment with student work to show-share-reflect.  In small triangles of feedback, we will share an assessment and discuss the following questions.

    • What was this assessing?
    • What information did you learn about this student-learner?
    • What action(s) did you take based on what you learned?
    • What action(s) did the learner take based on this learning?
    • Is this formative assessment, summative assessment, or both?

My artifact for today’s discussion along with my reflection answering the questions above can be seen in the post Learning from Leveling, Self-Assessment, and Formative Assessment.

I like that the learning plan is interactive. In his keynote talks, Dr. Tim Kanold (@TKanold) challenges us to guarantee that in any lesson at least 65% of the time is spent is small group discourse.  I like that the learning plan has us discussing actual student work.  Let’s focus on the products of our teaching – what the children learned – rather than what we did.

I wonder if we will see assessments that lead learner down a path and offer learners insights to empower and inspire challenges to step to the next higher level.

I wish (and hope) that we will gain new ideas and techniques for assessing learning as well as receive feedback on an assessment.  Will we share practices, add to the learning of others, and gain new insights ourselves?  Will we work toward additional solutions to step to the next level in our ability to design assessment experiences that support, motivate, and lead learning?

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.

Peer-to-peer PD: Modeling/practicing student-directed learning

If, as a school, we are interested in student-directed learning, how are we investigating, practicing, and modeling?  Our Faculty/Staff Leadership Team (FSLT) forwards the practice of learner-directed learning by having a Faculty Forum committee.  This committee is charged with organizing peer-to-peer professional development six times during the school year.  This is professional development done with faculty not “to” faculty.

This year the Faculty Forum leadership includes Erin Lindsey, Amanda Thomas, Marsha Harris, Stacey Goss, and Laura McRae. This amazing team chose to use Haiku, our learning management system, to model online learning resources. If we use Haiku, we must provide enough experience that our teachers can confidently use it with us.

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 8.43.09 PM

During the sessions offered above, this team asked our faculty to complete a Google form on topics they wanted to learn and topics they were willing to teach.

As a team, we met as sifted through both lists.  Would we be able to find overlaps in what we wanted to learn and what we wanted to teach?

What we want to learn:

Armed with this information, we looked for match-up with what we want to teach:

We also intentionally planned sessions around our faculty work in assessment and reading.

Each faculty member that offered to teach what we wanted to learn was sent an email similar to mine.

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 9.04.16 PM

Awesome! I cannot wait to see how the peer-to-peer (learner-directed) professional development offerings line up.

I wonder how often we ask our student-learners what they want to learn and what they want to teach their peers.  What if we used this idea in our classrooms with young learners? What if we risk and model this type of c0-learning with our students? It’s just one hour a few times a year.

What if we try?

Data collection from TSA…Can we transfer to school?

Here’s the final product right before the TSA representative collected it from me:

photo 3

So, there is an error. Could I use this picture to offer our learners an opportunity for error analysis? Could this picture be used to discuss communication and correct notation?

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 6.32.23 PM

Here’s what happened.  I arrived at the airport in Seattle for a 1:15 flight to Atlanta. Upon arriving at the security checkpoint, a TSA representative handed me a slip of paper (shown below) and asked me to hand it to the ticket checker.

photo 1

Fun! How might we use this type of data collection at school?

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 6.37.49 PM

What if we used this method to collect data about carpool? Having the time I arrived at security told me how long I had been standing in line.  I wonder if, when in a hurry, it feels like it takes longer to get through than it really takes.

The TSA agent checked my ID; I scanned my e-boarding pass, and she recorded the time.  Another opportunity for math.  How long did this portion of the process take?

photo 2

Only five minutes passed. A basic, everyday math problem. How often do we subtract times? How authentic are the questions on our assessments? Do they have context? Is this a (dreaded) word problem?

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 6.45.19 PM

There’s one more stop before passing through security.  My line – I always pick the slow one – stalled as the TSA representatives changed shifts.  Again, I wondered if this felt longer than it really was taking.  Holding the slip of paper allowed me to say to the nice but fidgety man in line ahead of me that we’d only been in line twelve minutes at this point.  He said “Twelve minutes; that’s not so bad.” Ahh…to have data.

I arrived at the security checkpoint, unloaded my MacBook, put my shoes and bags on the belt, and passed through the detector.  I handed over the slip and then asked if I could take one more picture.

photo 3

What was the total time I spent in line? How do we explain the error in the data collection? Could this type of data collection help us in our school community? Could our young learners use this type of data collection to find context and meaning for their learning?  Would we make different decision if we collected data and made data-driven decisions?

How might we show math in action?