The big take away from this morning’s sessions was the concept of students keeping a math journal. It’s something I’ve been considering this summer already, but hearing about it from an experienced AP teacher just pushed me over the edge. The idea is that several times a grading period (at least that’s how my instructor implemented it) the students are assigned journal questions which are similar to free response AP exam questions. They are never cut-and-dry problems, usually incorporating the words ‘explain’ or ‘justify’ or another leads to get the students to think about the ‘why’ or ‘how’ of a concept.
I love the idea. I think it reaches pretty high on Bloom’s Taxonomy, which is always something I worry that I don’t stress enough. Personally, I think I’d use it more than my instructor does. I think almost all new concepts and lessons need debriefed. Many times homework and practice problems aren’t enough to really get the students thinking about what they’ve just learned. Better yet, this is a *perfect* way to incorporate Evernote. I can put a journal assignment in the main class folder, students can copy it to their personal folder (which is shared with me) and begin to work. No paper, no mess, and I can grade them anywhere. I also think this will give the kids the creativity to use pictures, videos, and other media that simply is impossible with pencil and paper. I can see journal assignments replacing homework on many occasions.
In the afternoon session, we spent the majority of our time exploring and working through our instructor’s own class materials. This was helpful at points, but became a bit of a drag after the second hour… I’ll admit that it was a nice feeling working his examples problems well before some of the other teachers sitting nearby and seeing one or two of them peek over at my paper to check my answer. 😉
I’m excited about tomorrow. A Pearson rep is supposed to be on campus, and I hear free textbooks are in store.