Today we finished up with Hats for the Families and then started working in Family Constraints. I have not been assigning much homework so far. I realize that I am going to have to in order to "catch up" since we started the book late. My struggle with that idea is that VERY FEW of my students usually complete their homework. Today Tom Laster from It's About Time sent me a brochure entitled "How to Help with Math Homework When the Answers Aren't in the Book" by William Blatner. This was such an awesome read. I loved that in the brochure it mentioned that students will be asked to spend 25 minutes on math homework. 25 minutes is not that long! I hope that if I do a good job communicating my homework expectations and stress to the students not to spend any more than 25 minutes on any one assignment that I can motivate my students to actually DO the homework. I believe the nature of the work, which is not a group of 20-25 problems, will help. When a student is asked to spend 25 minutes brainstorming ideas or documenting the things they have tried to solve a problem. Something that I have told my students over and over again since starting the new curriculum is DON'T ERASE! Because the curriculum is so focused on being able to discuss the process of approaching each problem and the different strategies you have used I have encouraged the students to only strike through or put an 'x' over any parts that they think are wrong. I wish I had thought of this before now. I have often told a student who has erased a problem and then asked for help that they should have left their work on their paper so I could help identify where they went wrong. However, my new favorite thing to say is DON'T ERASE!
Tonight as I was trying to prepare for the lessons I would like to do tomorrow I have again realized something VERY important. If you don't refer to the teacher's guides you will miss out on some really important teaching points for the lessons. Thankfully I looked before we finished discussing the Family Constraints activity. The students completed 2 and 3 on their own in class today. You will not find definitions in the lessons. There is a glossary in the back of the book; the important terms to go over are mentioned in the teacher's guides. So far this is the 2nd lesson which asks you to specifically review vocabulary.
Also, we had PD on formative assessment today. My new term for the day is 'descriptive feedback.' It really struck me when it was said that students need descriptive feedback AND the opportunity to revise after the feedback.