Sunday, August 30, 2009

Things are going to change this year?

For the first time in years I am using a textbook.  The rest of the junior high bought books in the past years and we are now all using the same book and perhaps this is a good thing.

I have not used texts before because there are so many options out there that are more cost effective.  Also no text gave me freedom to use the best practices from many different sources including the web.

The text the school has chosen is MathLinks from Magraw Hill Ryerson

It has some interesting additions that make it very school 2.0 friendly.  Each text book has a number that allows students to access thier homework from home on the net.  They will have access to a textbook 24 hours a day without bringing the textbook home.  With over 90% of my class having internet access at home this allows me to weave the homework into blogging easier.  Assignments for scribes can change to not only include what happened in class today but examples of the homework that has been assigned.

Each chapter is broken up into interesting sections too.  They start off with a foldable (notetaking device that uses a sheet of paper in interesting ways) I have been using foldables for the past 3 years.  Now there is a text that employs teaching techniques that I use and embeds it in each chapter. The rest of the chapter is the usual drill and practice laid out in an interesting colourful way.  (Doing a small google search I found this site that shows and explains what foldables are!!!)

The book also features mental math strategies and problem solving strategies that are crucial these students having success on their final exam.  All of this is will be avialable online.  I am thinking parents will enjoy having the work to see as well. 

Other interesting aspects of the text are built in math games and challenges in real life.  Anything that pushes students to realize the importance of math in the real world works for me.

Having said all of that above that does not mean that the rest of my teaching will change.  We still will use a wide variety of materials to push conceptual understanding of the math being taught.  All my lessons will be streamed and saved at ustream.  Lessons will be done using the smartboard and saved at slideshare. 

I think what I am looking forward to the most is using the textbook to organize my teaching.  I am all over the map and sometimes to scattered to get maximum understanding out of my students.  I plan on using this more focused approach to push my students beyond where I have taken them before.  If this textbook organizies me and keeps me more focused .... then amaizing things will happen.

Anyways that is just one of the new things happening to me  this year in my classroom.

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