Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Portfolio: Shared Responsibility: Developing Autonomous Learners

I am taking the Teacher Leadership Part 1 AQ. Our culminating task involves creating a leadership portfolio by choosing items from each module of the course to share and reflecting on its contribution to my growth as a leader. I have chosen to share my portfolio as part of my blog.

This entry is from the module entitled Shared Responsibility where we looked at parent communication reasons & strategies, inquiry-based learners, mental health & resiliency, and student success stakeholders and planning. The item I have chosen is the inquiry-based activity (lesson) that I developed as part of the Developing Autonomous Learners section of the module.

In this section I was forced to come back to an always-repeating thought "what does inquiry-based learning really mean in a math classroom?" So I did some research to find out what others thought this means and discovered that for a math teacher this really should be thought of in the lens of discovery learning or problem-based learning. The goal, in the end, is to get students learning/asking questions in the context of the learning so that it has more meaning and leads to better retention. For instance, the teacher can introduce students to a basic idea (i.e. factoring trinomials) and then use problems for students to work through so that they can start to identify patterns or methods that work. In this model the teacher (who I now prefer to call the coach) can answer questions, connect groups of students, do mini-lessons, or stop the whole class to discuss something.

Our assignment had asked us to submit an inquiry-activity. Going through the above process helped me to realize that I am doing more inquiry-learning than I had realized and then forced me to think through an activity more thoroughly. I now feel like I am better equipped to answer the question "but what does this mean in math?" and to be an instructional-leader in this area.

The assignment was to outline an activity, describe the assessment process(es) involved, and to describe how we would share the resulting data with others.

Here is the activity that I submitted for this assignment:

Inquiry-Based Activity

The idea behind inquiry-based learning is that students use an activity as a learning opportunity (to discover or uncover new learning). In many classes this might involve a topic that is introduced (or an open-ended question) where students come up with a question to investigate. In mathematics there is not necessarily a chance to come up with big issues to get students interested in the learning but we can use problems to get them to investigate a main idea and learn the details of that idea from the problems.


Prior Knowledge: Students have already learned what a function is and they have reviewed characteristics of 5 main functions (such as asymptotes, vertexes, etc).

1.      Review characteristics of 5 functions, address any concerns or questions.
2.      Get students onto to complete Domain and Range activity. Most slides in the activity have students submit work and then they will see the responses of 3 peers (so they can self-assess immediately) and teacher can see all responses to monitor class progress (so the whole class can be paused if needed or teacher can go to discuss with specific students). The activity progresses as follows:
                           i.          Graph is given and domain and range are described in words. Student is asked to describe what they think domain and range mean.
                          ii.          A graph is given with description in words. Students identify whether they agree or not.
                         iii.          Graph is given. Students are asked to describe domain and then range in words.
                         iv.          Graph is given and “select all” list using algebraic description of domain and range.
                          v.          Graph is given with algebraic description for domain. Students have to correct the domain.
                         vi.          Graph is given. Students submit algebraic description of domain and then range.
                       vii.          Algebraic domain and range is given. Students create a graph that fits description. ( x 3 )
                      viii.          Graph is given with MC question asking for which algebraic statement is false.
3.      Teacher leads a discussion to consolidate learning of domain and range and add full notation and review function vs relation.
4.      Students add domain and range to characteristics in chart from previous class.
5.      Students pair up to check each others domain & range and to give feedback.

Plan for Sharing Successes, Challenges and Next Steps

This particular inquiry will help to determine the preparedness of the grade 11s to discuss functions (based on introduction of domain and range briefly in grade 10) and on student preparedness to complete investigations (which is an important thinking skill in mathematics and ties directly into the math processes of reflection and connection and this particular task ties into representing). In addition it will help inform the grade 11 team for readiness to move onto the next lesson (immediate next lesson is an activity to practice using the domain/range vocab and we will do some algebraic lessons before coming back to characteristics of functions).

I will share the above with the current grade 10 team so they can make informed decisions about introducing domain/range and with the rest of the grade 11 team to get a conversation started about next steps for investigative thinking. If admin want to know how we are looking at skills continuum in mathematics I will also share this information with them. 

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