Monday, July 2, 2012

Three Templates - Made 4 Math Monday #1

A few fellow math teachers on Twitter (yay @druinok and @pamjwilson!) came up with the idea of making something for your math class, at least once per week, and sharing it on Monday and attaching the tag #made4math. I decided to put together two templates that have been bouncing around in my head for some time now. The first one is inspired by @mgolding, who has written a lot about interactive notebooks (for example, here and here). I will still have students use a binder system next year rather than interactive notebooks in order to save time and avoid cutting and gluing, but I wanted to move to a more interactive system for note-taking so I created a note-taking template that uses the "input" and "output" notions of interactive notebooks to help kids move from passive note-taking to processing and making sense of what they did in class.

Note Taking Template

The idea is that students would write down what's happening in class in the "input" (right) side, then write down reflections, comments, and questions in the "output" (left) side. I will also have them write an annotated example that either shows what they understand or what is still confusing to them from that day's lesson and to write a summary at the bottom of the last page in their own words of what they learned that day. My plan is to have them do this during the last few minutes of the class period since my experience has been that kids tend to blow these types of assignments off if they are asked to do them for homework.

The second template that I created for today was inspired by @samjshah's post on participation quizzes, where he talked about giving feedback to groups on the quality of their communication and ability to work together on a given mathematical task. The idea is that while students are working in their groups, the teacher is circulating and making notes on an overhead or SmartBoard of the things that are going on in each group, both positive and negative, as well as positive phrases or quotes that are promoting good groupwork. This gives groups instantaneous feedback and an opportunity to learn about group norms and what types of behaviors and ways of talking promote or hinder their ability to work together. I'm hoping to be able to use the template below to organize my feedback to each group and to be able to do this on my iPad while circulating around the room. I've done it before on an overhead and it can get a little hectic to both circulate and keep running to the front of the room to write down comments and observations.

Participation Quiz Template

The final template I made is inspired by stolen from @approx_normal's Homework SWHHW (See, what had happened was...) sheet, which she collects from students who don't have the homework due that day. I thought that this was a great way to keep a clear record for students who habitually neglect their homework beyond what I record in my grade book. This just seems so much more objective and will be in the students' own handwriting too, so no squirreling out of that one during a conference with parents. My optimistic plan, since I am terrible at keeping track of papers, is to take a photo of the form the student fills out in class and then upload it somewhere - possibly Evernote - where I can tag it with the student's name. Then, I can call up all of the missing homework forms for a particular student by searching. In a future world where every student has some sort of digital device in my classroom, I can just have them fill it out electronically, but I'm getting ahead of myself. So, here's my version of the form, just slightly altered from @approx_normal's document.

I would love any comments or ideas on how to improve these templates since this is just my first attempt at putting them together.


  1. They look so nice!!! I can't wait to use the participation quiz template this year :)

  2. Thanks!! And let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement!