Week 2 School-wide Events:
During Week 2, two students led our very first school tour for visitors from the Texas Charter School association. The students presented an overview of our school culture and logistics while guiding our visitors through a tour of our school. They did an excellent job for their first times. This was the first of MANY MORE tours that our students will lead this year and beyond.
On Monday of Week 2, our school tried out our very first Student-Directed Learning Time (SLDT) time. During this weekly work session, students get to make their own choices on how to best use a 2-hour block of open work time. Students got to choose from a menu of optional and mandatory 20-minute workshops in Art, ELA, Engineering, and Math. Also during that time, students got several opportunities to attend an info session on the Games / eSports Club. Students not attending workshops also had time to catch up on work in any of their classes while working as individuals or with their new project teams. It was very cool to see many students using this time wisely to further their educations.
Week 2 in 8th Grade Math:
In 8th grade Math, we launched a new project, Join the Club. In this project, students will learn about mean, median, mode, range, and mean deviation by gathering and analyzing school-wide data on students’ club interests. One of the project’s early activities was the Graph the Class Activity. In this activity, we practiced analyzing the interests of one period’s levels of interests in Mondays, Sports, Arts & Crafts, and Video Games. While completing this activity, students practiced creating bar graphs and calculating mean, median, and mode. During a class discussion on their results, my 4th period was very excited that many of their summary results equalled 3. They claimed this was a sign of the Illuminati. This outburst of enthusiasm showed me how willing the students are to make connections between math and things in their own lives that they find interesting.
Week 2 in Integrated Physics & Engineering (IPE):
In IPE, we launched a new project called What’s Cooking? In this project, students will learn about the design process, thermodynamics, electrostatics and electric circuits by inventing next generation cooking devices that are battery-powered and also powered by standard US electrical outlets. During our project launch, our newly-elected class officers got their first opportunities to lead student-led discussions. Our facilitators led class-wide discussions aimed at generating class-wide lists of project knows and need-to-knows. I was impressed by how well our class officers involved ALL students in the class discussions and at the amount of Content-specific information the students included in their knows and need-to-knows.
During this week, we led our first Content workshops: Intro to Engineering Design Process and Intro to Thermodynamics. We also started our weekly Friday tradition of ZAP time (Zeroes Are not Permitted). During this team, students checked their notebooks to make sure they had all the activity stamps in their notebooks that went with all the graded activities for Week 2.
Week 2 in Algebra 2:
In Algebra 2, we launched an Amusement Park Logo project. In this project, students will learn about parent functions and inverse functions by using them to create and analyze an amusement park logo. We held our first content workshop on Parent Functions. In this workshop, we learned the parent function names and equations. We also practiced finding the domain, range, axes of symmetry and asymptotes of parent functions. We also learned how to represent domain and range 3 ways: inequalities, set notation and interval notation.
Toward the end of the week, we had our very first 3-color quiz on Parent Functions. In 3 color quizzes students use 3 colors to represent 3 different sources of info: brain only, notebook and workshop. After students had used all 3 colors, they had a visual on what they could do on their own and with the aid of resources (notebook and/or workshop). After this activity I asked the class if they wanted me to create more parent function practice sets. I was surprised and impressed that most of the class requested that I create extra practice sets so they could continue to develop their understandings of parent functions.