Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Math resources

This is a Google document that has math games and math resources we used for out Math Curriculum night.

Link to googledoc

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Paper Mache Piñata

The mixture for the paste is 1:1 flower and water but make sure you squeeze of any extra paste otherwise it will take forever to dry.  There are other recipes out there that involve past but I didn’t think that would be fun to get all over.

I used hand torn strips of paper bag with paper on the outside. You could start with pre-cut strips of newspaper and it might dry faster. The Internet suggested using white paper for the outside if you are going to paint it.

Warning: This is a very messy project and you should put down a tarp and set up clear expectations first.

I started with a 20-inch balloon and tied a string around it a couple of times so I would have something to hang it from. Then I mixed the paste and started ripping stripes of paper. I had to mix several batches of paste because I kept running out. I also used a pie pan as a place to hold the paste I was using so I could completely immerse the stripes. Hindsight says squeeze off any excess but this might result in falling apart later. You might also not need to put as many layers on as I did. I put two layers of thick newspaper and craft paper. If you have a place to hang dry, test weather or not the string will hold it all together before it is dry. I set my on a Tupperware container and rotated once a day. It took me three days to dry so if these are for an event plan ahead.

Weather you are going to paint them or not you can add legs, tails, ears and anything else that is appropriate before it drys

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Rights, Responsibilities and Rewards

Classroom management is more than just how the classroom is laid out or the rules of the school, it is the mind set that every person has when they walk into the learning environment. The students, teachers and staff all need to know their rights, responsibilities and rewards. Students need to know why they are there in the first place and how school will benefit them. They also need reinforcement from their family and community. Also, what each student brings to the classroom will greatly affect what he or she gets out of each class. Teachers also need to know their place in the classroom. Teachers need to know both what is expected of them from the governing bodies and management as well as what each student expects. Teachers also need to know how students are predisposed to education from their family and community. How a teacher views the students they are working with will also affect how smoothly each class operates. The staff, including principals, receptionists and every support person, also will have an effect on the success of each individual student.

I think it is important to start early when dealing with classroom management. Setting up at the beginning of the year not only, expectations, agreements and procedures but goals and benchmarks make it possible for students to see what lies ahead for them in the coming year. General classroom behavior needs to be outlined for every person involved with my classroom. These expectations need to be brief and specific. In middle school, things such as what needs to be brought to class everyday and assigned seating need to be explicitly laid out. In addition, behavioral expectations such as not interrupting or talking out of turn, or respecting other peoples property need to be discussed early and revisited every time there is a lapse.

I feel that taking two or three days at the beginning of each year to develop a set of guidelines and principles is worth the loss of instruction time because it would lead to fewer interruptions in the long run. I would like to start by having the following printed in large letters at the front of the classroom where everyone can see them:

Rights • Responsibilities • Rewards 

These where taken directly from Classroom Management that Works, (Marzano, Marzano, & Pickering, 2009). I think they effectively sum up all the aspects of a classroom in a fairly abstract way. I will lead each class in a guided discussion about what each means to the students and how they affect the classroom as a whole, guiding them to come up with a series of guidelines for classroom expectations and behavior. This will help them buy into the cooperative nature of the classroom and be able to identify the consequences of disruptive behavior. It will also help foster student/student relationships by instilling in them their effect on other classmates. Posters can be made in groups to illustrate what they mean to each class and the large words can always be referenced when attentions wander. It would also serve as a reminder of why students are in class, and what they have to gain by participating.

By laying out the foundation and giving my students a good plan for how the class will be run and the guiding principles, they will have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and where the class is headed. Posting the core standards and curriculum so that they understand what their constraints and goals are. As a teacher, I will strive to help them understand why the class is important. Connecting what is handed down from up above to what they are seeing will help them understand that it is not an “us vs. them” scenario, but rather a collaboration for the good of everyone.

Learning procedures is an important life skill and helps keep an ordered classroom, but if I don’t set them up to understand the principles and background behind them, students would be less likely to follow them, or more importantly understand why they are there. Every thing from entering the class on time to cleaning up after themselves before leaving class will help keep lessons smooth and effective. If I can help them to internalize classroom guidelines and procedures they will understand why the process are necessary. For instance procedures for turning in homework is the final step in one of the most important aspect of the classroom, getting credit for the work you did. Having clearly defined deadlines and a place to turn these in will set my students up to succeed.

Alfie Kohn is not the only person that believes that effective teachers can prevent discipline problems. I also believe that an engaging teacher, who is aware of what is going on in all aspects of the classroom can effectively manage without need for harsh discipline. I agree that through a combination of “rules and procedures, disciplinary interventions, teacher-student relationships and mental sets” (Marzano, Marzano, & Pickering, 2009), a productive learning environment can be fostered at any level.

To me educational equity represents fairness, or providing for every student that with which they need to succeed. Because true equality is not realistic, I must provide for all equities in my classroom with the goal of addressing them and providing a just learning environment, a classroom that gives every student the tools, motivation and self-awareness they will need to succeed.

In order to give my students an equal shot at being successful, I must go beyond being “highly-qualified” in my subject area. I must acknowledge that I am a white, middle class male and bring with me the assumptions that come with seeing the world from this point of view. I have been fortunate to have the position of power that this affords me, but I must realize that not all my students were born into the same situation. Recognizing inequities will be another big challenge I will face as an educator because it will require me to step out of my comfort zone, and view the information from my student’s perspective. This will require me to acknowledge the differences and measure the similarities between each student and between the students and myself. This will help me build a foundation for further learning.

Positive teacher-student relationships can greatly decrease disruption and stimulate positive educational growth. I need to create a safe environment for two-way communication (Patterson, Grenny, McMillian, & Switzler, 2002) between me and my students. Fostering a teacher–student relationship where I am the obvious leader, but lead through cooperation, I can facilitate a fertile learning atmosphere. I believe that one of my greatest strengths is building relationships with students. I always take time to find out a little bit about the students I currently work with, from asking them about their weekend to finding out if they are enjoying in their classes, and what their favorite subjects are. These are good ways to break the ice before helping them complete assignments. Some times this can be a little distracting from the lesson, but I believe that this is essential to transition into one-on-one interactions.

Active management of the classroom is important. Keeping a constant watch for disruptions and unproductive behavior will help keep students on task. “Withitness”, or the act of constantly knowing what is going on in all parts of the classroom, is something that may come when I have my own classroom. But for now I can practice the basic concepts; keeping track of repeat offenders, and problem areas of the room, acknowledging good behavior when done spontaniously throught the room. I have also heard in the classroom the term “shark”; constantly moving around the room giving helpful reminders of what is expected and making positive comments to students working dillagently. These practices will help head off potential disruptive behavior before it becomes a problem.

One of my greatest weaknesses is lack of assertiveness. Realizing that my position is one of athority is hard for me to come to terms with. I need to practice being “constructively assertive” (Marzano, Marzano, & Pickering, 2009). Using “assertive body language, appropriate tone and persistence” I can assert myself as the leader of the class. I have taken several opportunites this past school year to practice my assertiveness and I believe that I am getting better.

Overlapping is another term coined by Jacob Kounin and it means that a teacher is able to observe and deal with several possible situations at the same time. It involves teaching a lesson and dealing with a student who is being disruptive without drawing attention to him or her. For instance, I was recently leading a journalism and glanced over just in time to see one student slapping another. Because I didn’t have time right there to deal with him and because he would need some time to think about what he had done, I firmly said his name and pointed to a stool at the side of the classroom. It was simple and effective. It allowed me to finish what I was doing and to think about how I could deal with his actions.

Another facet of my class will be group activities(Kounin, 2011). Math posters, where students work together to finish problems, will help build team work. It will also encourage accountability, making students aware of the effect they have and their contribution to other students. Letting them know that not only will they be graded on their completed project but on participation will reinforce the notion that not only is the product valuable, but also the work that goes into it and the interaction between each student.

Keeping clear goals and measurable results posted so that everyone can see clearly and presicely the direction the class is heading will not only facilitate understanding but also illustrate accomplishments. I like the use of calculators in most middle school classrooms but I also think that they will make a great reward for mastering long division. In 6th grade students who can show to me that would be able to accomplish this would “unlock” the use of calculators for other assignments. Using micro-levels, small accomplishments that unlock further challenges and tools to complete them, create excitement and build anticipation for the next assignment.

Equity in my Classroom 

Through exercises designed to help students identify what is important to them, I can help them make connections between the curriculum and their individual goals (Pellino, 2007). I will treat my classroom as an environment of acculturation instead of assimilation. I will use the community I am teaching in to further my curriculum and connect it to each student’s life and goals. One way I can do this is to bring community and business leaders into my classroom and have them give presentations about the use of basic math concepts in business and government. I can also have parents come in to give examples how math is used to balance family budgets or calculate housing costs. Because every family deals with these in different ways, it will be a great experience to see how other families deal differently with some of the issues of every day life. This will also accomplish a second goal of mine to learn more about each student. Capitalizing on the different backgrounds of each student, I can address their needs individually.

It is also necessary to involve parents and members of the community in order to continually foster support from the student’s home and community (Chavkin, 1993), and to increase communication between the school, teacher, student, parents and the community. I will go out of my way to make sure the parents of my students know that they are welcome in my classroom both as observers and participants. I can engage them outside of the classroom by continually calling, emailing and sending notes home with the students. I feel that it is also important to get feedback from the parents by making sure whatever form of communication I use I facilitate a response. For instance instead of just sending an email with simple updates, and can ask specific questions such as “has the student shown you the A they received on the last test”, or “is your son feeling overwhelmed with homework, because he did not turn in the last two assignments?”

I will actively address stereotypes, racism, prejudices and misinformation by creating an open dialogue and an atmosphere of safety and openness in my classrooms. Even going so far as to stop students in the hallway who are calling each other racist or bigoted names and addressing those with behavioral consequences, because even in jest, those terms can create a hostile environment for other students. If I can create an environment in my classroom that fosters openness, creativity and security students will be able to talk with me about the troubles that they are facing inside and outside of class.

Looping, and tracking are several processes extrinsic to my classroom that I can advocate for in order to make transitions for some students more equitable. Tracking will help to make sure transitions between grades, and different schools, smooth and efficient (Oregon Department of Education, 2005). This is important in order to provide these students with stability they might not have it at home.

In order to advance the human race, education should be a fundamental right. All people need to have an intrinsic place in society, to feel valued and appreciated and to feel like they contribute to society in their own way. It is how we define ourselves and how we order our lives. Education is the right of every person to develop in society and is the basis for true equality of opportunity. Education is the most effective way for individuals to effect changes in their own situation. It can lift a person and their whole family from poverty, right social injustices, and change entire communities.

After reading the description of existentialism in Literacy Theory, I believe that I do tend to follow many of the main strains of this thought. In a free democracy humans should be exposed to the kind of material that allows them to think for themselves and make their own path in life. Equality of opportunity is also a guiding principle of democracy and as such I have always felt that education is the primary tool for this. This is kind of where I stray from existentialism and fall close to progressivism. I believe whole-heartedly that “Education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform” (Dewey, 1897). As educators we are responsible not only for our students in the “here and now”, but also in their futures and the future of humanity. I know that these are lofty ideals, but even more today, each student needs to be taught how they fit into the world around them. In that way we not only teach students to make decisions for themselves but also to figure out the best path for humanity.

One of the main points of existentialism that I disagree with strongly is the mention of math and science as “cold and dry”. Without creative thinkers in these fields, such as Charles Darwin and Leonardo Da Vinci, we would not have some of the amazing discoveries that they have given to humanity. I just think you need to present these subjects with a more constructivist approach. For instance I would like to set up my future math class as a more exploratory science. I would like to help students rediscover pi on their own or exploiting the strength of triangles to build better bridges.

I would also like to borrow from the reconstruction philosophy in encouraging students to get involved with shaping what they are learning and the general focus of education. By making connections between what they are going through in their own lives to what is happening around them in the world they should be better prepared to find the place in society that they can contribute the most. I also think that students learn better when they make connections between what they are learning, their interests and the goals they have for themselves.

In short I have always believed that the primary function of our schools is to teach students how to learn. Only when they can find their way on their own can a student reach their full potential.

I believe that education is a fundamental right of all humans living on Earth, and that through education we can solve many of the problems faced by society. Using both, specific knowledge and abstract knowledge, students/citizens of the future who have both specific skills and are grounded with real-world application will be better able to relate to one another and to cope with the ever-changing world. The content of education should be immersive and reflective, precise and broad, and should always be centered on the student.

The desire for knowledge is motivated by the human soul, which needs to be nurtured, and according to (Grant & Sleeter, 2007), this need is best met when it happens in an educational context a student can relate to. By immersing my students in a world that is mathematical I can encourage them to internalize a world that relates numbers to their future goals and ambitions. This will also help keep my students on task because it has been shown that an effective teacher has no need for discipline if they can meet the need for self-fulfillment in their students (Wiseman & Hunt, 2008). Also because research has shown that children learn best through these methods (Delpit, 1988). Keeping them engaged in the lesson and not giving them time to be distracted or disturb the rest of the class. One way I can do this is by giving them “fun” assignments to work on while they are waiting for the rest of the class to catch up. I have seen this very recently in math classes where a student finishes a quiz or worksheet and then justs has to sit “quitely” while the rest of the class catches up. Especially at the middle school level, where energy is abound, students start to create disturbances or figit, which is distracting to others. Just by knowing what that student is into, I could find a puzzle game or other fun activity that incorporates these interests. For instance a word puzzle that is all about Justin Beber would be perfect for many 6th grade girls.

We also need to engage students to question how the subject connects to their own life situations. In order to do this we must learn about our students. Without knowing your students and their goals, values, learning styles, etc. you can’t know if they are learning. If I can show how each student relates to the subject I will be an effective teacher. Showing them that math does not exist in a vacuum and that without their interaction, algebra and geometry cease to exist. It is important for each student to find relevance in the subject in order for him or her to know how to find his or her role in society. With this in mind, each student needs to develop a sense of community and empathy. Every class is necessary in so much that it relates to their social roles in society. My goal as a teacher will be to create “Super-Empowered Hopeful Individuals” (McConigal, 2010).

“Self-fulfillment” Anna Freud (1935) said, after a very long, gross, description of “the child”, is the ultimate motivation for most students, teachers and professionals. Students learn best when the environment is one where learning is attractive, stimulating, and matches their Zone of Proximal Development (Wiseman & Hunt, 2008). I will also foster a collaborative environment that provides constant positive feedback (McCombs, 2003) (McConigal, 2010). In addition, I must promote two-way (formative) assessment with my students in order to facilitate them in giving me feedback so that I can correctly assess their achievements. I need to encourage my students to become “Warm Demanders” and make my classroom “Learner Centered” because their perception of my classroom is a more significant indicator of student motivation and achievement. My classroom must also be a safe haven for my students, where they can to learn and be safe from negative influences.

A combination between Reality Therapy/Choice Theory and a Democratic classroom management philosophy seem to fit my educational philosophy fairly well. The use of internal motivators and ownership support my own goals as a teacher. I want to be able to guide my students into seeing why education is important for them to become self-fulfilled adults. The basic principles of the Reality Therapy/Choice Theory, love, power, fun, freedom, and survival are fundamentals for a happy healthy life. If you back that up with the Democratic style you empower students to understand that they have control over their own destiny. You also shift responsibility for punishment onto the students in a very teaching type moment, using the natural structure and dynamic of classrooms to highlight the consequences for actions. Not only does this point out the personal consequences, but also shows the relative consequences to their fellow student. I feel this is an invaluable lesson for every individual in a democratic society.

I have posted a short survey on the web that I feel will help me better understand my students. I have built a survey and posted it on the web at http://tinyurl.com/mrhillsurvey (see appendix), and I hope that most parents and students will take the time to fill it out before class starts so that I can have a small picture of the interests and personalities of my students before they come in. I have borrowed questions from several personality tests that I hope give me a snapshot of what to expect. I also hope that it will give me some ideas about how to tailor lessons to better suit my students. I will also print the survey on the back of the letter that I will send out to every future student for those families that do not have computer access. Although many schools have policies against Facebook contact between teachers and students I have already setup a “group” called Mr. Hills Math Class in order to be better connected to my students. It will be a forum for me to help my students when not in class but also for them to help each other with questions regarding class work.

Planners are another way to keep students on track, but they can also be used to keep parents informed of what is going on the classroom. Putting a space for parents to sign of on the work their child is doing gives students motivation to connect to their parents or guardian. It is also important to connect directly with parents, keeping a log of both positive and negative behaviors for students I can have specific accomplishments and concerns to talk to their parents about when I call them. It will be very important to me to not just call a parent for behavioral concerns but to always have a positive conversation that includes accomplishments.

I will also make sure that every parent knows that they are welcome at anytime in my classroom. This will serve several purposes but the most important one will be to keep them connected to their children. They would be better able to help with homework if they can see how class is structured and understand the goals of the classroom. It would also be a great opportunity for me to use them as resource to explain how math, or any other subject, is used on a daily basis in a parent’s professional life.

Below are several diagrams for classrooms that I feel would be conducive to learning. They both seat thirty students and are based on layouts I have seen in several classrooms. Although there are a few similarities I feel that each one would serve different subjects better.

This first one I feel would be best facilitate math where students sometimes work together in partners and need only limited supplies. Discussions are as much a part of this class but can easily be facilitated by combining two tables or turning chairs around. I have deliberately left the teachers desk out and maximized space by using a laptop instead of a regular desk computer. This will allow me to walk around the classroom with more ease and facilitate withitness(Kounin, 2011). I think this would also help in keeping a green classroom, using digital files instead of paper. This is more flexible and less intrusive to the front of the room. It also frees me up to wonder around the classroom instead of being tempted to hide at my desk during testing or assignments. Having access to the outside is also very important to me in order to take classes on short outings to measure trees using mathematical principles. I also feel that allowing fresh air into a classroom is important for healthy learning.

This classroom although it has a similar feel, I think would be more flexible. Small, individual desks are lighter and can be moved around to accommodate more configurations. I think this room would work well for Social Studies or Language Arts. There is space for a small library of material that could be used for reports or reading. Simply turning every other set of students around could easily facilitate group discussions. I have this time put a teachers desk in at the back of class but have put it in such a place that it would only be practical for prep periods. I have also placed it so that while I am seated at it, I would have a nice view to take my mind of work if need be. This room seats several more students but it would also be nice to loose several desks in favor of a quiet reading area where students could go to have a safe haven.

Chavkin, N. F. (1993). Families and Schools in a Pluralistic Society. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Delpit, L. D. (1988 йил August). The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children. Harvard Educational Review , 280.

Dewey, J. (1897). My Pedagogic Creed. E.L. Kellogg and Co.

Grant, C. A., & Sleeter, C. E. (2007). Doing Multicoultural Ecucation for Achievment and Equity. New Yourk, NY: Routledge.

Kounin, J. (2011 йил 4-March). Classroom Management Theorists and Theories/Jacob Kounin. Retrieved 2011 йил 3-April from Wikibooks: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Classroom_Management_Theorists_and_Theories/Jacob_Kounin

Marzano, R. J., Marzano, J. S., & Pickering, D. J. (2009). Classroom Management that Works. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

McCombs, B. l. (2003). A Framework for the Redesign of K-12 Education in the Context of Current Educational Reform. Theory Into Practice , 93-101.

McConigal, D. J. (2010). McConigal, Dr JaneJane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world. Retrieved 2010 йил 26-September from TED.com: http://www.avantgame.com/

Oregon Department of Education, O. o. (2005). Closing the Achievment Gap. Salem: Oregon Department of Educaiton.

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillian, R., & Switzler, A. (2002). Cruicial Conversations, Tools for talking when stakes are high. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pellino, K. M. (2007). teAchnology. Retrieved 2010 йил 7-November from teach-nology.com: http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/teaching/poverty/print.htm

Wiseman, D. G., & Hunt, G. H. (2008). Best Practice in Motivation and Management in the Classroom. Springfield, Illinois, USA: Charles C Thomas, LTD.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This is a list of resources developed by my classmates to help incoming MAT candidates during their graduate work. It is also a good resource for current teachers looking for material for their classrooms.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Personal Teaching Statement

My first choice for teaching would be middle school geometry teacher. This is mostly covered in 7th grade. My back ground in design and construction lend itself very well to this subject. I think this allows me to make connections between geometry and the real world application fairly easy. I have also worked in business for the past 11 years and can connect some basic business practices to mathematics.

In my free time I enjoy camping, hiking, fishing and being outdoors when the weather is nice. I am not a huge sports fan but baseball is fun to go see. It also can be used for teaching math. When I was in middle school in the 1980s, I took sports statistics as a math class and I learned to keep score at baseball games and football games. This was very fun and although I have forgotten many of the methods this would be a great way to for students to collect data or analyze statistics for probability. I would like to have introductory lessons similar to this for many of my lessons. I feel these would play to students interests and connect the lessons more concretely to real life. 

My graphic design experience makes me fairly fluent on a computer and I prefer the Mac platform. I spend to much of my free time playing video games. Mostly FPS style games although sometimes a good RPG adventure game comes along. I have a dog and two cats and live with 3.5 other people. Both of these interests lend themselves to teaching geometry and algebra. Most students have some sort of interest in games and many are geared solely to preteens. Again you can use them for data collection or simply making connections between computer graphics and the mathematics behind them helps students make connections between what they are learning and possible job avenues for them in the future. It also makes it fun if you assign video game playing as homework in order for students to track points and achievement for use in class. 

Math is not Linear and this prezi illustrates that point brilliantly. I agree that math touches so many facets of our day to day life and is so expansive that to teach it without context is like learning to use a computer without having one to work with (this has been done). Connecting previous knowledge is the obvious part of the equation, but I really appreciated that she talked about making connections to future learning. Understanding how what they learned in grade school builds a foundation for what they will learn in high school as well as use in future occupations. Giving them examples from calculus and algebra that connects to the geometry I am teaching. It gets students to think ahead in life and make connections to the fact that it does get easier and more obvious.

The Jump model of teaching math made a lot of sense to me and I have tried to use something similar when helping students with math work in classes I have volunteered in. Breaking every problem up into smaller problems helps show how working on even the hardest problem can be simplified. I also recently used an iPad app called AlgebraTouch that shows you how to break up algebra problems into different components using simple “one-touch” demonstrations. It makes these problems very easy and is very fun to work with. This video didn’t go into as much detail about the Jump method but I did download one of the free sample worksheets and it looks like it demonstrates this strategy very well.

The flip classroom is a good way to set up any classroom that would normally be lecture centered. It gives students a chance to have access to the teacher when working on real problems. It does let students watch the lectures at their own pace and I would add links from a blog that would allow teacher interaction as well as peer support and interaction. In addition giving students journals for which to make notes on and write questions they could bring to class would help them to bridge between the videos and classwork. These journals could also be used to collect data for use in lessons. For instance video game scores for use in statistics analysis. You could use it in bridged classrooms where multiple levels are being taught at once, letting students watch Kahn Academy to get a second perspective on the lesson would in my opinion be a great idea. It would also be important to advocate and apply for funding for students who could not afford technology in their homes. Setting up some way to check out technology or making sure it is available for mobile application. 

I have often heard that practice makes perfect. I have also heard second hand that if you do anything for 10,000 hours before you become an adult, you will reach genius level in that subject. Both point out that it is possible for every kid to be an all-star if they just put their mind to it and practice. I also like the idea of breaking up the subject, especially math, into chunks and practicing pieces individually, and eventually putting it back together in a whole learning environment. This gives students connection between the small pieces and how they fit into the bigger picture. I hope to use this method in my teaching. I feel that math is like learning a second language and that it needs to be practiced in context to become proficient. 

The best practices in education that stand out for me are Differentiation, Ecology, Problem Development, Clear and Common Focus, High Standards and Supportive Learning in no particular order. Differentiation refers to attacking problems from different points of view and different levels of understanding. Not all students learn at the same rate or have the same learning styles. It is very important to me to offer students different ways to show they their understanding and learn in the way that suits them both. Ecology might be my favorite. I think that taking math or any other material out of the vacuum of the text book and applying it to real-world problems or situations makes better learning.  Making those connections are key to answer that age old question of “why do I need to know this”. It also helps when trying to engage students. Using their interests as learning experiences helps them to internalize the information. Along with this Problem Development gets students to think backwards and reflect on where the instruction can be used. It forces them to make the connections and allows for critical thinking. Having a Clear and Common Focus, from teacher, student, parents, administrator and staff makes sure everyone effected is on the same page. Teachers as well as Students need commitment from parents and administrators because they are the support system that reinforces learning. High Standards ensures that not only is everyone held to the same standard but that each person, teachers included, are working at their best level. Students who are challenged within their Zone of Proximal Development achieve at a higher rate than students who are not. Supportive Learning provides a positive, safe environment for all students to participate and learn.

“Practice can not be separated from theory” in that what we learn must be what we teach. As we as educators teach we must constantly be learning as well. This seemingly simple idea sometimes get lost as we set into our day to day routine. Learning about our students, and their worlds, learning new strategies, learning new ways to connect our lessons to the outside world, these are ways we can continue to develop as educators. Several principles for instruction that I think are important are: Allowing for errors, provide students to learn as they go. Provide for immediate relevance and make it obvious, the connections between your lesson and the your students future. And make Instruction learner centered so that students drive the learning and hopefully demand a high quality education.

I feel that a hybrid classroom that included these aspects in a cohesive learning environment are essential to setting up students for success. A classroom where students come in prepared for class and excited about learning may seem like a difficult task but I think it is achievable. Lessons that immerse the student in the subject and connect him/her to their future, engage them and motivate them to learn what I will be teaching. Lessons that implore interaction gives students the desire to learn mathematics and make it relevant.