Tuesday, August 1, 2017

AP Statistics Olympics

This is an activity that I think I invented.  I'm not 100% sure though, since I've been doing it for a long time and usually I steal activities from the internet, but I think this one is mine.  Please tell me if I'm wrong so I can give the real inventor credit!

AP Statistics Olympics!

I introduce z-scores by holding the AP Statistics Olympics in my class.  We start right away with the three olympic events.  I model each event and then kids can do them in any order all at once in a bunch of wonderful chaos.  The events and the notetaking all take place in a 47 minute class period, and with up to 32 kids in the class.

1) Trashketball
I set up a trash can against a wall and make a line on the floor with some masking tape.  Kids throw as many balled up pieces of paper in a row as possible.  Keep throwing until you miss and write your #shots on the board.  Most kids miss the first shot and get a 0.  For the sake of time, it's helpful to set up two trashketball stations.

2) Broad Jump (Standing Long Jump)
This is the station that I (wo)man.  On the floor I have a long piece of masking tape marked off with distances (by inch).  Students jump as far as they can, I call out where their heels hit and they write their distance on the board.

3) Reaction Time
I set up a few laptops (just having one laptop isn't enough - Holy Traffic Jam Batman!) and have students go to this website: https://www.humanbenchmark.com/tests/reactiontime
They write their average score over 5 tries (the website calculates the average for you) on a clipboard that I have over by the laptops.

As students finish up, I quickly input all the data into a spreadsheet so that I can calculate the average and standard deviation for each event.

I announce that we need to have one gold medal winner, one silver, and one bronze - but we had three different events, how can we compare?  This leads into . . . z-scores!  How impressive was a student's performance compared to everyone else?

We calculate the z-score for the winner of each event, and then we write out what this means in words.  I like that the reaction time winner will have a negative z-score, which automatically leads into discussions about positive/negative z-scores and absolute value.

Here are two photos of the completed foldable:

And a link to a blank copy of the foldable: https://app.box.com/s/rgkdo6fpk58ealg8n9yd

What I'd like to do differently:
You can see that in past years we just compared the top performer in each event.  This year I'd like for students to calculate their own z-scores in each of the three events and then we can discuss how we could combine those three z-scores for one score that encompasses all three events.  For example, you can't just take the absolute value of each z-score and add them, because if you have a negative z-score in the broad jump that would mean that you were below average and taking the absolute value would make it seem like you were above average.  I want the kids to figure out what makes the most sense here.

In addition, this year I'm NOT doing ISN's (Interactive Student Notebooks) - I'm doing chapter packets instead (only including my best foldables in the packet).  More about that in a future post.

I'm attaching my Chapter 2 Packet to this post - the new z-score pages are on pages 30-31 of the packet (the chapter 2 packet isn't that long, it's just that I continued the page numbering from the Chapter 1 packet - kind of like an ISN).

Monday, July 27, 2015

Using Kahoot! as a Warm Up in AP Stats

I hate assigning late detention.  First of all, I often don't notice that a few kids are slipping into my classroom late because I'm busy doing other things (things like checking homework or "teaching").  When I do notice that a kid is late, I hate having my first interaction with them be a negative one.  If I tell myself, "Oh, I'll tell them during group work/independent practice time that they have late detention". . . I am going to forget.  I also hate writing kids' names on the board to assign detention because that's either really distracting OR the kid doesn't notice.  I hate assigning late detention; it is the worst.

I want kids to be motivated to get to class on time, which means that I need to be doing something in the first few minutes of class that is absolutely vital.  My warm up/drill/do nows in the past have not been vital to anyone.  Yes, they're good for accessing prior knowledge or setting up the day's lesson, but I'm not interested in grading Warm Ups, so kids don't tend to find them important.  I also need a few minutes to take attendance and check homework.  We only have 47 minutes in class, and I can't waste a moment.

Another issue I need to fix is that my students don't do very well on the multiple choice part of the AP Statistics exam - or even on the chapter tests that I give.  My kids tend to score above average on FRQ's, but at or slightly below average on multiple choice.

Finally, as I'm reading Make It Stick, which is for some reason taking me forever to read (that "some reason" may be having a 7 month old daughter... maybe), I'm realizing more and more that kids need to be quizzed on "old" concepts more in my class, and that interleaved practice is the way to go.

The solution?  Kahoot!

I started thinking about using Kahoot! at the end of this past school year, and after seniors left and the AP exam was over, I was able to workshop using Kahoot! with my remaining six juniors.  Once I rejoined the MTBoS, one of the first things I came across was Julie's post about using Kahoot! for engagement, which made me feel like I wasn't crazy for wanting to try this out.

Kahoot! as a Warm Up:

Starting the second week of school, I am going to begin each class with 2-3 multiple choice questions in Kahoot!

Right when the bell rings, I will give students one minute to sign into Kahoot, then the questions will begin.  Students will have to move quickly to a) pick up their ISN materials from the table at the entrance to my room and b) sign into Kahoot!

Students will work with the same partner every day (their seat buddy) and have the same "team" name to use in Kahoot! each day - which will be recognizable to me.  One of the partner's must have a device that can access Kahoot!

I will DEFINITELY be using the timer function of Kahoot! so that we move quickly.

We will quickly review each problem after the game, and I will download the google spreadsheet for each class.  I am going to use this data to create a "leader board" in my room, which will reset each month (or biweekly?).  I don't care about how quickly they answer the questions though, so the leader board will be based on the number of questions that the teams answered correctly.

I would like Kahoot! to take up 5-6 minutes at the beginning of each class:

  • 1 minute to sign in
  • about 3 minutes for the questions (total)
  • 1-2 minutes to review

If a team doesn't have a Kahoot! device that day, I will have sticky notes available for them to turn in their answers during the game.  However, I am going to assign the teams so that at least one partner has a device.  The sticky note back up would only be if the device owning partner is absent or for whatever reason doesn't have said device.  The nice thing about the spreadsheet download in Kahoot! is that I can easily add the sticky note kids to the data.

So here's a summary of what I'm hoping I can get out of the Kahoot! warm ups.  It's a lot.

  • Fewer late kids
  • Multiple choice practice
  • Student discussion of problems
  • Interleaved practice
  • Quizzing on previous topics/concepts
  • Immediate active engagement in class (no wasted time) while I do chores
  • Class data 

Things I need to figure out:

  1. What am I doing about team names?  Do I want them just to use both partners' last names?  Or can they make up a fun team name but it has to be "registered" with me so I know who is in the team?  Last names is easier but team names are more fun.
  2. Do I need to have more ISN materials (glue, tape, scissors - or maybe even papers too) already on students' desks so that there is less time picking up materials at the back of the room.  Sometimes I end up with a line into my room which is a problem. 
  3. Where is the Leader Board going to go in my classroom, and how will it be easily update-able (otherwise it's not going to happen).  Maybe one of those little hanging things that you can put sentence strips in?  Different color sentence strips = different class period.  Team name on the front and student names on the back? (that would solve #1).  Wow, brainstorming while writing a post = awesome.  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Friday FRAPPYs

I always begin each year of AP Stats (and Pre Calculus too I think) deciding that I'm going to incorporate more mixed and spiraled practice throughout the year.  However, I've never come up with a structure to insure that this happens, and without structure, I'm realizing more and more, I am lost and it's never going to happen.  Reading Make It Stick, and learning about how students learn and retain understanding has really pushed me to prioritize cumulative assessments and practice.

So, this year one of the things that I'm going to do is institute Friday FRAPPYs (Free Response AP Problems, Yay! a la Jason Molesky in AP stats.  I will give students 15 minutes to complete the real AP statistics FRQ, and then either I will score them and give feedback, or students will score each other's work and give feedback, or maybe some of both.  The FRQs will mostly cover topics that we've already moved beyond or will have a mixture of topics.

FRAPPYs will be graded as quizzes, so really I'm giving two distinct types of quizzes in class: learning target quizzes which are focused on individual concepts, and FRAPPYs which are meant to be cumulative assessments with mixed concepts.  I want students to know that they are responsible for retaining understanding from previous chapters - they're going to need that knowledge for the AP Exam in May, and more importantly, all of that old knowledge builds and builds until students are prepared for inference.  

I plan to do 4-5 of these FRAPPYs each quarter - so, not every Friday, but as best I can.  I'm trying to have a total of two assessments each week, a mixture of Learning Target Quizzes, FRAPPY quizzes, and chapter tests.

There are a few AP Stats FRQ indexes out there, but I wanted to create my own so that I could take a close look at the problems, but also so that I could determine which chapters each FRQ corresponds to in my curriculum.  I also wanted to determine at what point an FRQ with concepts from multiple chapters would be doable for my students.  I created the spreadsheet below that is color coded based on the chapter.  I left out all the investigate tasks for the moment, but I'll eventually go back and add those into the spreadsheet.  I would share this as a google doc but it uploaded weirdly - I need to fix that :/    It's formatted strangely here in the box file too.  Womp womp.

In addition, on the last page of the spreadsheet, I color coded in purple the FRQs that have concepts all from one chapter, and in peach I color coded when all skills needed for that mixed concept FRQ have been taught.  As I'm choosing FRQ's for both Friday FRAPPYs, chapter tests, and sometimes even learning target quizzes, I cross them off in the file.

This document might only be useful to me, I'm not sure.  Annotations like "gross" about certain problems are obviously my personal opinion :) And I only went back to 2002, since, as you can see in my spreadsheet "previous to this is crazy."

I like that I got to look closely at FRQs from previous years, which I honestly haven't done in a while.  I've been using the same old FRQs in class for years now.  There are some real gems in there that I think will be great to use, and that I've ignored in the past for some reason.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Learning Target Assessments (SBG)

I've been feeling very welcomed back into the MTBoS and I can't believe how much collaboration I've been missing over the past few years! I still haven't read Chapter 8 of Make it Stick although I plan to as soon as possible. In the mean time, here are my plans for assessment in AP Statistics. I'm planning on two types of quizzes and then chapter tests.  Today I'll post about Learning Target assessments, and then tomorrow I'll try to post my plan for FRQ quizzes.

Learning Target Quizzes

I've been doing the SBG thing in AP Statistics for a while now, in fact, I don't really remember teaching AP Statistics without SBG.  I have unpacked the AP Statistics topics into 67 Learning Targets which are not completely finalized since I always try to improve things a bit each year.  Here's my draft for the 15-16 school year:
The textbook sections that are referenced are from the fourth edition of The Practice of Statistics.  Once I get to inference though, I follow the order that the BVD book uses, introducing everything about proportions first, and then moving on to all things means.

My plan is to give kids small learning target quizzes about twice a week.  I've highlighted learning target quizzes in blue on my pacing guide for the first three weeks of school (the items highlighted in yellow are activities - I'm trying to make sure I'm doing plenty of hands on activities with the kids - more about that in another post!)

The assessments are pretty short and sweet - I'm trying... TRYING to limit them to 15-20 minutes so that I'm not losing a ton of instructional time on quizzes.  I have a tendency though to grossly underestimate how long an assessment will take.

The top of each quiz looks like this:

and this is where I give students their SBG scores.  I try to use holistic scoring, modeling my language and numerical scores after the AP Statistics exam:

I do sometimes give 3.5 and 2.5's as needed, when kids are kind of in the middle.  A 3.5 is usually a computational error but conceptual correctness.  In addition, if I've mixed the learning targets into the quiz, I grade each LT in a different color so kids can keep track of which part of the overall quiz assesses that LT.

I used to allow infinite retakes of any particular learning target, but I am going to change that policy this year for two reasons:

1) Often, kids would show up without preparing.  How do I know this? "Hey Mrs. Secor, what do I need to retake?  Can you look it up on your computer for me? Just tell me whatever I got the lowest grade on."  And then they would want to immediately retake that learning target.  Which, of course, makes me want to die.  Kids didn't mind "winging it" because they felt like they had nothing to lose.  That's not the type of reflection and growth that I want from my students.

2) I have 120 AP Stats kids this year.

In addition, I really want kids to be reflective and look for ways to improve their understanding and performance.  I'm going to steal to Mr. Bowman's reassessment request google form.  I already have mine made and pretty much ready to go on my site, here.  It's not done yet, but at least it's up there and pretty much ready to go.

I use Active Grade just to keep track of my SBG data.  I also end up converting everything into a 10 point scale in Power Teacher Gradebook which we are required to use here in Baltimore City.  Active Grade is really just for my own reference so I can see how classes are doing as a whole on individual learning targets.  I can also track improvement and whether or not students have attempted any reassessments.  Here's a screenshot of my Active Gradebook.  It gives me a nice visual on what learning targets I need to work on since I have it set up to show green for any scores 3-4, yellow for 2 and 2.5, and red for 1.5 or below.

Finally, students are supposed to keep track of their own individual learning target scores in their notebooks.  At the beginning of each chapter I hand out a chapter overview sheet for the students' Interactive Notebooks.  In addition to important vocabulary for the chapter, it includes all of the learning targets:

This year I will do the same thing except there will only be 2 columns for SBG scores (since they can only do one reassessment).    I also want to take a page out of @druinok's book and include problems from the book that are applicable to each learning target . . . if I have textbooks (which is looking probable right now!)

I think that's everything for my learning target quizzes. They get better every year!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

AP Stats Practice and Feedback

Even before I started reading Make It Stick (I'm on page 95 now; I've slowed down a bit), I had been thinking of ways to provide more opportunities for practice, feedback, and meaningful assessment.  Teaching AP Statistics last year could sometimes be difficult as I was implementing an ISN in that class for the first time.  It is always a lot of work to organize and create foldables for the first time - but I know that it is worth it later on.  I also didn't have textbooks last year, which meant that I couldn't assign homework problems without first typing them up and then printing/copying them for the kiddos.  Homework was my last priority after creating foldables, daily activities, and in class practice, and it often just fell by the wayside.

Students actually asked for more homework, because they knew they needed the practice.  I also knew they needed the practice, but I just needed more hours in the day to get it all done.  Being super pregnant (and I mean SUPER PREGNANT Y'ALL), then being out on maternity leave, and then having a newborn at home meant even fewer hours to get it done.

This year will be better because

a) I am not pregnant and I will not have a newborn at home = more sleep
b) I might be getting textbooks (!!!!)
c) I am just super excited for this year and have already pretty much planned the first 3 weeks

This year will be harder because

a) I have 120 AP Stats students
b) I have 120 AP Stats students
c) Dear. Lord. Above. Save. Me. Please.

So here is my plan to make sure that students are getting more practice without me dying.


THE IDEA: IF (and only if) I have textbooks, then I am going to assign a reading guide for each chapter.  These are guided note taking packets that go along with the reading and are interspersed with additional clarifying questions and self checking.  In Make It Stick, the authors describe how just reading or re-reading a text isn't enough, and that students have to be reflecting and quizzing themselves as they go along.  Reading guides will be a structured method for students to do this.  Reading guides will be given out on the first day of each chapter and then turned in on the day of the chapter test.  I will give them and idea of where they should be in the reading guide as we progress through the chapter, but I am aware that some students will wait until the night before the test to do the reading guide and I am OK with this.  It will trick them into studying.

PRACTICALITIES: I will check these for completion and then spot check a few key areas for correctness.  I think this is doable.

I've done a few reading guides before, back in the day when I had textbooks for kids.  This is what I've done in the past:

I want to streamline it a bit as that document is just for one section, and I'd like to do one for an entire chapter.  Does anyone else do reading guides?  I need to find some examples.  


THE IDEA: A few problems each night, including at least one problem that is review from a previous section or chapter.  I will spot check these for completion in the first few minutes of class (as students are doing their Kahoot warmup, will write about that soon) and I will stamp the homework.

I will post a full answer key on my website by the end of the day.  Students are required to check their own work with a red pen.  I will collect all homework for the chapter on the day of the test (along with that reading guide!) and students will get additional credit for showing that they checked their work and made changes/gave themselves feedback.  I will try to wait until the day AFTER the day they check their homework themselves to answer any clarifying questions about the assignment.  

I can't possibly check and grade 120 AP Stats homeworks every day.  I would probably die since I've heard that humans really do need to sleep - like, that's a thing that is biologically required.  However, I need need need kids to check their work and ask questions.  There is no point in doing the practice if you're not learning from it and from your mistakes and misconceptions.  So, a half of their homework grade will be based on whether they checked their work.  

There is also an incentive to do the homework even if you didn't get it done on time.  I will still give half credit for homework that is done by the time test day rolls around.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Catching up with the MTBoS!

I am being a little bit crazy and frantically trying to catch up on the past four years or so of MTBoS goings on (going ons? goings ons?)

I'm in the middle of reading Make It Stick, but then I got distracted by reading approximately eleventy billion blog posts as I updated my Feedly.  I then spent a lot of time learning about Vertical Non Permanent Surfaces and Visibly Random Grouping after their mention on Kate's post about "A Magical Incantation."  And then I started thinking about how to rearrange my classroom so that I have 10 distinct areas for students to work vertically.  I'm also writing this post in the middle of doing all of that.  Plus a million more things.

I'm jumping from place to place and idea to idea in a pretty non linear way, which at first was stressing me out, and then I realized this is just how I do things.

When I was planning my wedding I looked at Pinterest for what seemed like weeks, pinning ideas and thinking about what I wanted to do.  I looked at everything.  Like, literally every wedding pin that has every existed.  Ok fine, not literally but pretty close.   Finally, one day, I was able to just pull the trigger on almost every decision.  I had spent enough time with all of the information that I was able to reach this magical point of saying "yes, I've seen every possible option, and now I'm ready to choose."

The difference this time, is that when you're working on the MTBoS, you want to choose everything.  When people blog about activities that they've done and theories that they have and their best practices, and everyone is reflective and generally self aware and into the big picture as well as the microcosm of their classroom, and people are just generally cool people who know how to push back on an idea and give great feedback, it seems like millions of practices and ideas have already been distilled into one dynamic pile of awesomeness and I want to partake in ALL OF IT.

Interleaved practice? Yes please.
Three act math?  Yes please.
Vertical Non Permanent Surfaces? Yes please.
SBG? Yes please.
Interactive notebooks? Yes please

I'm trying to create some lists of things to do and ideas to explore so that I can organize a bit more.  I'm relying heavily on Evernote, which I only started using last week, and it is SUCH an improvement on my previous attempts at using LiveBinder or even just Pinning stuff and never looking again or making my own comments on what I've looked at.  

I'm working on a list of books to read (which I'll post at some point), things to do so that I'm back in the MTBoS (like actually tweeting... I'm nervous for some reason?), and I'm trying to fix some lessons that didn't go well and find/create some foldables for the probability unit in AP Stats which I missed due to maternity leave.

So many things to do.  So much excitement.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hello . . . again?

I used to be moderately active on the MTBoS, but then I transferred to a new school.  And then I got married.  And then I transferred to my current (and forever!) school.  And then I had a baby.  So, life got in the way.  At some points during all of that I would write a post saying "I am back!  I am blogging! I am completely committed!" and inevitably that one post would be my one and only post.  I am self aware enough to know that this post might be the one and only too.  I hope not.

I've been lurking on twitter, biding my time before jumping back in.  I've been creepily favoriting tweets.  I've been updating my Feedly list (oh dear Google Reader, how I miss you so).

I jumped on the SBG bandwagon so long ago, and I jumped on the Interactive Notebook bandwagon as well.  I've spent some time working, tweaking, and trying to perfect those practices, and then began to wonder... what's next?

What finally did it for me is beginning Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel's Make It Stick.  I'm only on page 75 or so of the book and I keep stopping and saying YES!  and taking pictures of the page and furiously annotating and writing evernotes (is "writing evernotes" a thing?  I don't know the lingo anymore.  Am I like my mom saying that she wrote a twitter?)

I had already been reflecting heavily and reworking my assessments so that they are spiraling back to "old" learning targets and requiring more synthesis.  I had been thinking about mixing up multiple choice practice and how to give better feedback.  I will (I promise!) write some posts on how I plan on doing that, and how it is different than what I was doing before.    

I want to engage in conversation again; I want to be more reflective on a broader scale, not just on the micro scale of the day to day lesson reflection.  I want to promote a greater change in my classroom, in my department, and in my school and I want to make it stick.

I feel excited.  I feel determined.  I don't think this is just the second cup of coffee talking.