Friday, November 21, 2014

Why Is Math Different Now? (Video)

This was also posted on the Burlington Public Schools Blog

Our district math coach, Carrie Fortunato, shared this video which was created by Dr. Raj Shah of Math Plus Academy.  The video was created as an explanation for parents in regards to why math has changed so much since they were in school.

The bulleted points below highlight some of the key takeaways from the video.

  • The biggest question for parents: Why are they teaching math so differently now than they did when we were growing up? 
  •  We have decades of research that show that teaching people to memorize algorithms and execute procedures hasn't work for the majority of learners.
  • With the technology available to people, being able to execute an algorithm in arithmetic to get an answer is a fairly useless skill.
  • We need to teach kids to think and understand and use different strategies to solve problems.
  • Research shows that when you give people a conceptual understanding of what's going on then it helps them understand concepts.
  • Executing algorithms can be kinds of boring, but learning how to solve problems can be fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

We Hosted A 1:1 Visit Today

Thanks to BPS Mobile Learning Coach Jennifer Scheffer for all of the planning for today's program to discuss our 1:1 efforts at Burlington High School. The slides from the presentation are below along with a brief Storify of the morning with our guests. As is the norm, our students and staff were tremendous with their insights and openness about teaching and learning in Burlington

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Help Us Get 2,000 More Views On This Video By Tomorrow Night

Our BHS Percussion section is in the running to win a contest sponsored by Zildjian. We need to get up over 5,000 views by tomorrow night. We appreciate your viewing this and passing it along to anyone else you can.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Great Site For Making Accommodations on the iPad - Burlington Blog Update (Week 10)

The post below is actually a copy of a weekly e-mail that I send to our staff  to promote our Burlington Public Schools Blog which shares the great work going on across our school district. I also try to give a quick technology tip/resource that I think would be useful. It is the ninth post in the series.

As we head into our only five-day week in a six-week stretch Here are the latest posts from the BPS Blog. 

Only 130 more posts to go... 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How Little People Can Make A Big Difference - You Tube Video of the Week #2

The video below is a TEDx Talk done by 9-year old Charlie Cooper from Cairns, Australia.  The talk, which is just under five minutes, certainly lives up to it's name as Charlie shares his amazing idea which could certainly benefit schoolchildren across the world.

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (November 16, 2014)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Unannounced Observation Reminder

At this point in the year our evaluators across the district are involved in completing unannounced observations for the teachers who they evaluate. With this in mind, it is helpful to review the process a bit since we are entering the first year where all staff members will be evaluated under the Massachusetts Teacher Evaluation Model. 

During the unannounced visits, evaluators will be using a form that contains the top six elements of the Burlington Great Eight (Subject Matter Knowledge Rigorous Standards-Based Unit DesignWell-Structured Lessons Adjustment to Practice, Student Engagement, Student Motivation). This form is an adaptation of this form created by the Massachusetts Teachers' Association

Following the unannounced observation, the observer will determine the appropriate evidence rating on each of the elements and the educator's student learning goal and then complete an electronic version of the form that will be shared with the educator.  The evaluator will also highlight one strength and one area of possible improvement from the observation.  

Since the unannounced observations are meant to be short visits to classrooms (lasting about 10-15 minutes), it is expected that some of the elements will not be observed.  In these instances the "Not Applicable" determination will be given. Please remember that this is not a negative determination because it means that there was nothing observable during that short unannounced observation. The negative determination would actually be "Contradictory Evidence" because it means that the teacher observed was actually doing something to show a lack of proficiency in a particular area.

The expectation is that the vast majority of unannounced observations will be comprised of "Clear Evidence" and "Partial Evidence" determinations.  The definitions of each determination are below:
Clear Evidence (E): During the observation, I saw clear evidence of the educator’s proficiency on the indicator.  The guide will be the Proficient definition on the rubric.

Partial Evidence (P): During the observation, I saw partial evidence of the educator’s proficiency on the indicator.  The guide will be the Proficient and Needs Improvement definitions on the rubric.

Contradictory Evidence (C):  During the observation, I saw evidence that the educator clearly lacked proficiency on the indicator.  The guide will be the Proficient and Unsatisfactory definitions on the rubric.

Not Applicable (N): During the observation, the educator’s practice did not include elements defined in the indicator.  This is not a negative rating, but rather an acknowledgement that the indicator was not addressed.