Tag Archives: Website

A Standards-Based Class Website

I made the switch to SBG (Standards Based Grading) this year, and one thing I discovered about my course is that I do not provide nearly enough scaffolding support for students to study the material in the way that they can best learn it. I saw this across the entire course, but I also saw this on a standard-by-standard basis. Often a student needed to study for a quiz they did poorly on and the best advice I could give was “Study the quiz I gave back to you!”. [2]

So I decided to edit my class website around the standards and create a page on my website for each standard.

Here’s where I am 7 standards in:

Drop-down Menu Drop-down Menu-zoom

Each webpage looks something like this:

solve4aVarPage

solve4aVarPagezoom

So on it, I (try to) clearly explain what each standard means in terms of “I can” statements. I also have resources for learning and practicing the standard [3], as well as vocabulary.

Notice that I have both online material and worksheets that students can print off for those who have no internet at home (they have access to computers & a printer throughout the school day while at school). Notice also that (nearly) all of those worksheets have the answers with them.

This summer I intend to continue adding resources, and I have some questions of the MTBoS:

  1. If you had a website/webpage like this, what else would you provide for your students?
  2. Are there other good resources for practice or learning that you would include?
  3. How would you encourage students to use this?

I described my idea to one particularly motivated student of mine and she exclaimed “OMG, why didn’t you do that this year?!?”, to which I had to explain how teachers become better every year. I told her to be thankful she didn’t have me 3 years ago. 🙂

Here are some links to the standards I’ve made so far for my Precalculus class[4]:

I plan on working on this tool over the summer. It will do several things for me:

  1. Organize my materials as a teacher for other teachers to use.
  2. Focus on what “Proficiency” and “Mastery” means on each topic I teach (by working out the “I can” statements) [5].
  3. Help me learn the textbook that was new this year to my class, and which I used very little.

As always, thank you for reading and providing feedback, MTBoS!

 

[1] When I hear scaffolding, this is what I think of. Besides, that’s an edu-jargon term.

[2] This isn’t bad advice, but it also shouldn’t be the best I can do.

[3] Yes, that’s Khan Academy that you see there because I believe that KA can be a good resource. No, it don’t in any way replace good teaching, but for some students and some topics, it can be extremely helpful.

[4] These standards are subject to change, so please give advice to me if you see something funny about them as well.

[5] I hope to look at standards that other states provide, as well as “breakdowns of the standards”. Those things never interested me before SBG.

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Start of Year Difficulties

I haven’t posted all summer because I was away in NC, MD, MI, and France (wohoo!).  But I completely plan on continuing to reflect this upcoming year and I hope that my teaching practices improve significantly.

Ask I started to plan for the first few days (which happened last Wednesday–4 school days ago), I realized that there was a TON of different things that students had to know how to do in order to succeed in my class.  So much so that it was nearly eclipsing the material and content (perhaps it is?).  An experienced teacher once told me that he always wanted to do some math on the first day so that students recognize what is important in the class: doing math. This man is also my father-in-law, and so I honestly believe he was an incredible teacher and want to emulate everything I can that he did.

However, I feel like I have the following things to do before I can “get down to learning”:

  1. Talk about the Syllabus.
  2. Put names on Popsicle sticks (students doing this saves tons of time)
  3. Website scavenger hunt.  My teacher website has become huge due to all the online opportunities I want to give my students. So big that I decided to do a scavenger hunt (see below) for them to find things on my website.
  4. Participation Points.
  5. Have students create Google Accounts. Our school has decided to do away with school e-mail accounts because when they leave school, the school doesn’t have the money to continue giving them e-mail accounts, but that means that we can’t contact our alumni (mostly for Advancement).
  6. Student Survey.  Many of the questions are stolen from other excellent bloggers.
  7. Quiz.  I want to do this before explaining SBG so that they have some point of reference.
  8. Explain SBG.
  9. Explain SAS.  This is my student-initiated assessment form for students to fill out, if they want to improve one of their grades on their own time.
  10. Have students create a blog (using Kidblog).
  11. Setup Remind101 for students.

At this point I’ve done almost everything in all of my classes except setup Remind101.  I have so many options for participation points right now, however, I think I need to introduce them only a few at a time so students can swallow them and try them out. One thing I like is that I purchased a Facebook-like Stamp and I can use this on warm-ups or HW to entice them to work even though HW is 0% of their grade. Forget the 5 points that the stamp is worth, the students really just want to get stamped on their paper! Unfortunately, I think that fascination will wear off soon, which is why I decided to make them worth PPs.

One thing I did that I think worked out well was not trekking through the whole syllabus on the first day.  Instead, I did a scavenger hunt on my website.  That way students are navigating through it and getting comfortable with it, and it’s not just one more class where the teacher talks about procedures (even though I definitely could talk for 3 days straight about procedures!).  Here’s my scavenger hunt below if you’re interested. (Yes, both pages are the same–I saved it that was so I could print them side-by-side on our printer and save paper).

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School Website

So I just wanted to post my class’s website up here so that other teachers can hopefully take ideas away from it, and so that I can receive suggestions.  I am fortunate that my school is not a part of a school system which requires all teachers to use some crappy software for a website, so I use the free website designer http://www.weebly.com.  It was the easiest to use and (more importantly) allows an unlimited number of uploads as long as they are all under 5 mb.  Please check it out and let me know how I can improve it!

(This semester I am only teaching Chemistry, Precalculus, and Physics, so don’t worry that my “General Science” class seems defunct.  Oh, and Physics doesn’t use the website too much, either, so really just check out Chemistry and Precal.  Thanks!)

mrnewmanswebsite.weebly.com

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