Performances of understanding will be a challenge for both my students and myself. Students are used to getting information, and then being asked to repeat it. Most math quizzes and tests are like this, and asking students to do something differently can feel unfair to the students unless it happens regularly in class already. Based on the performances of understanding, something that immediately strikes me as being a great assessment is the prediction of data and defending their predictions. This can lead to understandings about slope without actually teaching it, which would be an amazing change from previous years. Another assessment that would make sense is for students to be asked to graph information to present a positive or negative skew on the results. This can be done by adjusting the scales to make the data look high or low on the graph. Students could also be assessed to come up with their own data sets they would like to graph and table and explain the relationship between the two. Assessment should be as regular as possible with the difficult schedule I am tasked to teaching in. Seeing students either 2 or 3 days a week only can lead to difficult breaks in time that will lend itself to assessing students differently. Making some assessments individual take home assignments is a possibility. Also, giving students group time in class to create a song, poem, or poster to explain a concept is another creative way to give students the chance to interpret ideas. Assessments will be given regularly, with no more than 1 week between some sort of formal assessment when students will get feedback to monitor their learning. Online journals are another way I am considering for assessment to make student learning public.

The situation I teach in is a low socioeconomic setting where freshmen come in with vast differences in ability and maturity levels. The most effective pedagogical method is to have students work on discovering ideas and creating things rather than learning directly from the teacher. Whole group instruction is rarely effective and groups of more than two students is too much interaction for students to handle at the beginning of the year. Because of this, I will use partners and arrange desks in sets of twos. The technology that will help me reach students the best this year will be TI-Nspires with Navigator, online journals, and Chromebooks for research of data.

The Nspires will be both the pedagogy as well as the technology of the TPack. The TI-Navigator allows me to view every students’ calculator. It allows me to send them “documents” in which they answer questions or discover ideas on their calculator or in their notebooks. Finally, it also allows me to send students quick polls and assessments to get feedback on what concepts students are struggling with and which have been mastered. My current plan is to have students build tables and make graphs from them and then begin the process of understanding how they can adapt the table to change the graph and vice versa.

The instructional strategy I need to use is discovery in my classroom. Freshmen have very low tolerance for lecture, and I have found that the more I talk, the less the students learn. My goal is to never explain something for more than 3 minutes at the board. It is challenging, but it keeps the class active and students engaged in figuring out math.

I’m excited to get started the day after Labor Day with my new students for the year. Making better connections in Algebra will help my students learn more than in previous years. Using the N-Spires more will help keep them connected to the class goals of discovery and give them a chance to see how different representations interact with each other.