Thursday, June 15, 2017

KTL and Math
by: Tom Regan

The BHS Math Department is actively looking for ways to implement the Keys to Literacy skills in a beneficial and efficient manner.  Several of the teachers have experimented with the Top-Down Webs, Categorizing, a few instances of using Two-Column Notes, and a some experimenting with Summarizing (thanks Renee).

As you may recall from your days as student of mathematics, few if any of these strategies were utilized within a typical math classroom.  And when you think of literacy skills, math class is not where you would think these skills would be developed.  But in many ways math is the ultimate world language.  It is the underlying language that explains much of our lives.  

There is an extensive amount of definitions.  Kyle had his students practice Two-Column Notes while introducing circle terminology. This provided a format for his students to organize the vocabulary while clearly showing supporting diagrams.

There is an extensive amount of theorems and properties to be categorized.  Jeanne created an activity that had students grouping functions into multiple categories.  This allowed the students to organize the variations of properties on their own terms.

The entire subject matter is cumulative in nature.  Here is an example of a basic Top-Down-Web used for review.  These types of Webs help to show the relationships between concepts.

And in order to truly understand equations, notation, and concepts, you must be able to put them into plain English.  Brighid and Renee worked on this by breaking down text and introducing the idea of summarizing in the math classroom.

While this is nothing like we as Math teachers were taught ourselves, there have been multiple ambitious attempts to step outside our comfort zone and try something new.  Clearly this is a solid stepping off point.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Two-Column Note Taking Variations
by: Virginia Volpe, Jaime Kotarakos, Theresa Bergeron

Two-column notes have been an effective strategy in all content areas. They are very useful in helping students find main ideas, supporting details in textbooks, organize their thoughts for writing assignments, and preparing for tests and quizzes.  It has become a great study strategy technique for students.

Many students can become overwhelmed by the amount of background information examined and collected when researching topics.  Some students have difficulties distinguishing between facts and opinions when reviewing their evidence. The Two Column Notes Strategy is a good tool to help students’ identify misconceptions when organizing historical facts. One variation I found to be very beneficial is having students create Two Columns Notes with the headings, Fact/ Opinion or as seen in the student sample below, Myth/Fact.

The students had fun with this project. They enjoyed sharing their work and they were intrigued with information they discovered.