I just attended the EduTecher info. session presented by Adam Bellow. The sessions talked about, which is a website that contains a vast amount of web tools and resources for both teachers and students. Great site–although I haven’t visited it yet. In his presentation, Adam  navigated to several links found on edutecher and showed participants how easy these are to use. Some of the sites he mentioned were:,, edmodo, vidinotes and musuem box–all in all he said  there are over 1100 links to sites on his edutecher site–and 98% of them are free to use! In the text box during the discussion one participated commented that “free” is her “favorite f-word”–pretty funny.

One great piece of advice that Adam gave is to try 1, not 2, not 3, not 10, but 1 new thing in your classroom this year. That is ecxactly what I am going to do. Thanks Adam!

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Highlights and low-points of ED526b

I really enjoyed taking this class for one main reason–I was able to learn a lot about tech tools that will help me in my own teaching–so I’d say that that was the highlight of the class for me. Specifically, I loved learning about screencasting, geogebra, and Wolfram Alpha. These our tools that will allow me to better show students certain types of tasks, such as finding a solution to a system of linear equations. Use of these tools will also help create student buy-in because, in general, I think students get at least a little “pshyched-up” when they are able to use computers in class.

I would say that the low points for me were the number of tasks to be completed each week.  Because of the number of tasks, I felt like I could not devote enough time to any one task. Perhaps I am the only who felt like this–this summer was an incredibly hectic time for me! I would have like to be able to spend more time on certain tasks so that I would feel more comfortable using the tech tools in the future. In a future class, I would devote an entire class discussion to building a task, perhaps using Geogebra. I think this collaboration would be a great way for students to see the power of such a tool, because we all have different ideas and different skills in certain areas.

If there was one part of this course that I would put in the “recycling bin,” I think it would be reviewing lesson plans found on the internet. Instead, I might take one really good lesson plan template created by one of the student’s. Students could even vote on which lesson plan is the best. Once selected, I would give the other students a specific part of the lesson to critique, or flesh out. Students could even work in teams on this task. I think the end product would be a very well put together lesson that could serve as a template or example to follow in our own classrooms. Wouldn’t it be cool to all work on one lesson? I think this would be very engaging and would force students to put their best leg forward.

Thanks for everything Maria–you are clearly a very talented person and have many great skills to share. Cheers and Giddyup!

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Lesson from Algebra 1 text–does it follow Bloom’s Taxonomy?

I really enjoyed this task. As a teacher, it is important that I understand Bloom’s Taxonomy. Why? So that student’s can take on an increasing level of the cognitive load as the lesson progresses. Let’s take a look at one of Glencoe’s Algebra 1 textbook. 

The lesson can be found at

The lesson asks students to complete the following 5 tasks:

1. Translate sentences into equations

2. Use the 4 step plan

3. Write a formula

4. Translate equations into sentence

5. Write a problem

This is a good example of Bloom’s Taxonomy because the lesson begins with Understanding and progresses to Creation. There’s a little back and forth in the middle, but I think it is efficient and allows the student to show a fairly good comprehension of the material. What do you think?

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Response to “Gas Station without Pumps”

After reading Keith Devlin’s rant on thinking vs. remembering, I found an interesting blog entitled Gas station without pumps which I found on another class member’s blog. Below is my reply:

I agree that the best pedagogy begins with a good “hook” as well–it is important to create student buy-in before we ask them to digest a bunch of facts. I disagree, however, that teaching students to memorize the processes to arriving at an answer is a bad idea. I haven’t read Lemov’s book although it is on my list. I am familiar with his work because the instructional model used at the school where I teach is partly based on his reccomendations. This is the first time that I have taught using direct instruction, and I have found it very interesting to hear the many arguments both against and for this style of teaching. I think a lot of it has to do with the setting in which a teacher finds him/herself. Many schools that advocate for such models are found in urban areas where many students arrive in 7th grade, for example, performing on a 3rd grade level. How else can we get these students to progress if we don’t focus on skills, skills, skills? Is there a better way?

What do you think of this debate that seems to be central to education reform today?

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Getting creative with the Pythagorean Theorem!

I’m having some diff.s linking this, but before you get started here check out the Pythagorean T-shirt at with the two legs and the hippo. Classic!

I struggle with how productive asking students to perform the three tasks mentioned below would be and I’d love some feedback. Such tasks seem as productive as asking students to do a word find or watch a movie in lieu of having a objective based lesson. What do you think?

3 “creating” tasks that students could do to explore the Pythagorean Theorem:

1. Students could be asked to perform a sketch in groups of 4 explaining the golden ration and the Pythagorean Theorem.

2. Students could be asked to write poetry or a rap song about the Pythagorean Theorem (On a side note there’s a great song entitled “Particle Man” by They Might Be Giants that mentions triangles).

3. Students could be asked to find uses of the Pythagorean Theorem in the world of art, architecture, patterns used in clothing, etc. and make a presentation based on their findings.

For each of these tasks I would not give the students a rubric. Instead, after the task, I would ask them to do a self-assessment on their work. This would be a fun task, but again I struggle with its productivity. Ou bien?

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Student Tasks for each of Bloom’s levels

Below is a list of sample tasks that could be used to measure a student’s comprehension of Bloom’s Taxonomy and a short explanation of assessment that could be used:

Knowledge: SWBAT find the mode, mean, median, and range for a set of data.

I would use either objective or performance assessment as this task is asking the student to come up with a specific answer.

Comprehension: SWBAT explain how to convert between fractions, decimals, and percents.

I would use either Authentic or Constructed Response Assessment for this task as it is asking the student to explain how they would attack a type of problem.

Application:  SWBAT solve for the area of a rectangle using the formula A=lw

Objective or Performance Assessment could be used here as the student’s answer will either be right or wrong.

Analysis: SWBAT explain methods that can be used to compare and order fractions.

Constructed Response and Authentic could be used here as the task is asking the student to explain how he/she would arrive at an answer to a problem.

Synthesis: SWBAT describe some patterns he/she recognized in the construction of Pascal’s Triangle.

Subjective or maybe even Self Assessment could be used in this task–this would be a fun task!

Evaluation: SWBAT describe how to solve a problem using the 4-step method

Authentic or Constructed Response Assessment would be a good fit here again as the student is asked to explain a process.

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Student Task focused on Data Visualization–“Scatter Plot Basketball”

Please find an example of a student task focused on data visualization entitled “Scatter Plot Basketball” at the following link:

I thought this was a great lesson for showing students how to use scatter plots. The lesson asks students to take 30 seconds to try to score as many lay-ups as they can, and then represent the data using a scatter plot. What a great way to engage students and to show them the relavance of this data visualization tool. It seems that it would be clear by the end of the lesson whether or not students mastered the objective by seeing their scatter-plot. The teacher could also use formative assessment during the lesson via scanning to determine whether or not students were grasping the material. Giddyup!

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