Nico's Window Into Classroom


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  • I’m Kelly Gaddis, this is Annie Lerew and Nic Vitale, and we are from Banana Kelly High School in New York City’s South Bronx. It is a neighborhood school, our 9 th grade classes have 20-25 students, most of whom come to us with weak literacy skills and number sense, and having had minimal success in middle school math. Confidence is low, and in general, kids are not accustomed to tinkering or experimenting, conjecturing or asking “what if…,” or simply wondering for the sake of it in math class. We use the notebooks to help kids open up to those. In the day-to-day, the math-science notebooks are simultaneously a place for learning and for finding out about our students’ learning.
  • Explain how sketching and drawing helps focus on details to make better observations
  • One way of recording - put it in the notebook. Also inserts (hanouts etc.)
  • Great way of making sense of or explaining a concept.
  • Just an example - we would like to facilitate more of this
  • One prompt - many responses
  • Different ways of organizing data.
  • Unanticipated use of notebooks. “ word-sketches” Thermometer plots Amazing artwork.
  • Nico's Window Into Classroom

    1. 1. Window into my Classroom Nicola Vitale
    2. 2. Origins: <ul><ul><li>No connection between subjects or to student’s experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students lacking fundamental understandings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No mastery of basic skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low motivation, interest, and confidence </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. “ All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.” -Leonardo DaVinci
    4. 4. What We Began to Do <ul><li>Hands-On Classroom Activities </li></ul><ul><li>Fieldwork (River Trips) </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific and Mathematical writing and Notebooks </li></ul>
    5. 5. Classroom Activities
    6. 6. <ul><li>Lab Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Start with simple tasks, following directions, and working with a group </li></ul><ul><li>Students are expected to use skills from simple tasks to complete a complex task </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Start with articulating the meaning of numbers and measurements </li></ul><ul><li>Students are expected to analyze data, recognize patterns and trends, and draw conclusions </li></ul>Scaffolding Activities
    7. 7. Fieldwork <ul><ul><li>Use visits to the Bronx River to increase student interest and provide a real context for math and science </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Fieldwork <ul><li>Keep tasks simple with clear expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Build a routine </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare materials that provide structure but allow for flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Allow time for and encourage individual exploration </li></ul><ul><li>Use trip to reinforce recent classroom concepts or give an experiential context for future learning </li></ul>
    9. 12. Math-Science Notebooks Image from
    10. 13. Goals of Notebooks <ul><li>Moving from “Hands-on” to “Minds-on” </li></ul><ul><li>Making student thinking visible </li></ul><ul><li>Develop student’s “voice” and ownership of learning </li></ul>
    11. 14. Scientists and mathematicians communicate in more than just words
    12. 15. Sketches and Observations
    13. 21. Collecting
    14. 22. Predicting, Data-Gathering, & Sense-Making
    15. 26. Explaining and Using Diagrams
    16. 30. Questions and Wondering
    17. 31. Comparing Salinity - Graphs
    18. 32. Comparing Notebook Use
    19. 33. Surprises
    20. 34. Reflective Writing <ul><li>Use writing to reflect on their learning </li></ul><ul><li>Uncover student thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Writing-to-learn </li></ul>
    21. 36. Differentiation
    22. 37. Challenge: How can we give opportunities for all students to develop - not only literacy in mathematics and science, but also an interest and a “voice” ?