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Algebra I EOC Success PD

August 13, 2010

For the last two days, S and I have attended the Region XI training on the new Texas Algebra I EOC test. On the one hand, it was good to get some training on this test, since we will be going live with it next year. On the other hand, the state board has still not finalized the test yet, so we really have no resource materials for the test.

Things I Liked

Organization of the lessons
The sample lessons we worked through were well-thought-out and even practical. They were all organized around the 5E Instructional Model: “Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend, Evaluate”.
Each sample lesson included a copy of the lesson plan, which again, was well-organized.
The activities were not lame. In fact, several of them were quite clever.
Differentiation
This was the word of the day(s). For each lesson, the presenters offered ways of assessing, and then differentiating the lesson for ELL or slower students.
Problem-Solving Boards
This laid out the problem in terms of the “See-Plan-Do-Reflect” model. There were actually three levels of differentiation on this: one board could be completely blank, one could be partially filled in, and one could be partially filled in and given a word bank. Very cool.
Slopes
For this activity, we could print out a transparency of arrows that slower students could use to see how the slope changed.
Domain/Range poster idea

Things I Didn’t Like

Teachers are some of the worst students.
I sometimes had trouble hearing the presenters because my fellow teachers were talking so much.
The presenters were not always courteous either.
It’s one thing to fuss at those teachers who were just making general conversation; it’s another thing to cut off productive conversation. This happened several times until one teacher finally spoke up this morning. One presenter was very snarky about waiting for us to get quiet, which, while understandable, was not helpful.
Line dancing
Repetitive format
While I generally liked the lesson format, it did get somewhat repetitive doing four lessons over the course of two days. I know it was helpful to analyze the previous TAKS questions, but we were saying the same things over and over.
What was the purpose of the Day 1 data analysis?
At the very beginning, the first presenter had us analyzing TAKS data. We looked to see how many objectives had 85% passing (tier 1) and what how the passing percentages broke down more generally (80%, as I recall). This was interesting (if somewhat depressing), but I’m not sure how it was supposed to tie into what we did later on.

As I said, in general, this was a good experience (especially since I will get paid for it). I’m glad I went.

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