Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekly Class Summary: Mar. 11-15

SOLs Covered:  7.5 & 8.7 Surface Area & Volume; 7.11 & 8.13 Data Analysis
Math Dictionary Sections:  (40) Surface Area & Volume; (41) Measures of Center; (42) Graphical Methods
Upcoming Assessments:  Data Analysis & Relations/Functions Quiz (Mon. 3/25); Test 3.3 on SA/Vol, DA, & RF (Wed. 3/27)

I've had a busy week filled with meetings everyday during planning except today, so I plan to make this a short-and-sweet weekly class summary... at least that's the plan, though I've said that several times in the past only to have quite a bit more than expected by the end.

This week started with a wrap-up of our volume and surface area unit on Monday and a quiz on Tuesday.  I still have one set of quizzes to finish grading (thus the reason for the shortened summary), but the grades have been lower than desired.  We've been making the assessments gradually more rigorous (which translates from teacher-speak to "hard word problems" in student-speak for the most part) to help prepare the students for the complexities of the SOL test and this quiz was probably one of the most difficult to date.  Once the students get the quiz back (the plan is Monday), we'll discuss each question to an extent, meaning we'll have a bit of a Socratic questioning session that will hopefully set students on the right path to answering the questions correctly.  They will then be given the task of finishing the corrections on their own for homework.  While they always have the chance to do corrections to earn back half credit for the missed questions, they'll be able to earn back full credit this time as long as they do a proper analysis (show the work and give an explanation and not simply giving a final answer by itself).

Wednesday, we started our data analysis unit, which encompasses a little review of the various charts and graphs students have learned in the past as well as learning about histograms (part of Math 7 in Virginia) and scatterplots (part of Math 8 in Virginia).  We've discussed the differences between bar graphs (which compare fixed amounts) and histograms (which compare the frequency of a range of data), followed by a Scholastic activity that required us to review the number of flood claims and the average amount paid in 2005.  We started to explore the possible errors that are commonly made in histograms along with the other types of charts and graphs that can be made from histograms and vice versa.  We'll continue this Monday before we start our next unit, which will be on the combined quiz the next week.

Histograms from Shmoop
Since I will be one of the teachers going on the science field trip to the Virginia Living Museum Thursday and Friday, next week's class summary may be delayed in its posting.  This is also the reason I'm not able to nail down the date for the next after school help session.  I'm hoping to have another session on Wednesday, but since my students will have to go to another math teacher the day they are not on the trip (the team is split over the two days), I will have to have an extra planning session with that teacher to make sure everything's settled.  Once I've got the next date planned, I'll be sure to post the information here and on Edline.

Finally, I'd like to thank Madi S. and her mother for bringing in McDonald's apple pies to share with her class (Block 1/2) for Pi Day.  That was incredibly thoughtful and is definitely the smartest way to do Pi Day pie as it was quick and easy to give to the kids!  Thank you also to my coteacher Mrs. Powell for baking cupcakes as a reward for our shared class (Block 7/8)!  The kids and I (along with a few other 7th grade teachers after school) really appreciated it!

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