Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Word Walls and Power Standards

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I spent yesterday at a training about Power Standards. The idea is simple and something that I think a lot of us overlook--focus on the most important standards, and tie everything else into them. Now, I could sit and easily tell you what standards in the 8th grade curriculum are most important and which are not hit upon as much, but I never took into account the relevancy in the real world or how heavily the standard weighs into other classes (science) or the following courses.

Using a spreadsheet the county prepared for us that had all of the standards in it and coding, we ranked the importance of each standard in the real world, in future grades, and on the state test, whether it is useful in only math, in two subjects, or in multiple subjects, and what level of RBT it is. each response had a certain number of points attached, so the formulas ranked the standards in order of importance according to our responses. It color coded the top ranked in blue, the bottom in red, and everything in between in a shade of purple. From there, we were able to identify the Power Standards, Complementary Standards, and Remaining Standards.

I love this idea. I could have told you months ago that there is no reason for me to spend a month on the real number system. The NC EOG only has 2-3 questions on those standards. My problem is that I'm a perfectionist and I want my kids to master each and every single standard. In reality, I would much rather them master things like systems, linear equations, functions, Line of Best Fit, and the Pythagorean Theorem and have a decent grasp on everything else because that is what is most important in 8th grade, in the real world, in their science classes, and in future math classes. 

Now, I had already mapped out my year, but after doing this, I wanted to do it over. Now my units are centered around the power standards, more time is focused on those standards than things like differentiating between rational and irrational numbers, and I can see my power standards cycle back through different units as complementary standards. I have a nice little flow chart set up for my first semester using sticky notes. Of course,  I color coded--Power Standards in green, complementary in blue, and remaining in pink. If this works out, Systems will be covered before Christmas in a perfect world and definitely by the end of the first semester. I'm fine with moving my scatter plots unit to the second semester if it means having systems done in the first half of the year. I like this because I can pull systems through the rest of my curriculum to keep it fresh for the rest of the year. In a perfect world, the two weeks after Christmas are completely open for reviewing, reteaching, and retesting.

So what does this mean?
Redoing all of my I Can statements and data trackers. In the long run, it will be totally worth it. I just wish that I would have had this training before I got all motivated and decided to start planning my year. Look for new data trackers coming soon in that case. Sigh

The good news is, I haven't started my INB yet, so I don't have to start that over.

New Products!

INB Frayer foldables for all 8th grade vocabulary. Cut them apart, fold each in half, and you can fit 6 to a page in your INB. Alternatively, you can just keep them attached, or cut them and use them as flash cards. There are places for the student's definition, your definition, examples, and counterexamples for each one. There are over 150 words included. This file is available in my TPT store here.

 Word Wall posters to go with the Frayer's. There are a few words or terms in there that I did not include in the Frayer models because they were not things with definitions (for example, I use V/C to teach solving equations rather than the traditional algorithms). Three per page. Cut apart and use on your word wall or agenda board. This is available on my TPT store as well.

You can get both of these files bundled together as well.

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