What’s for Dessert?

If you haven’t already purchased The Classroom Chef: Sharpen Your Lessons, Season Your Classes & Make Math Meaningful I highly recommend you get it. John Stevens (@Jstevens009) and Matt Vaudrey (@MrVaudrey) have written a book that is humorous, relevant and helpful to any math teacher, from the beginners to the veterans.

While I was reading the book, I came across “Choose Your Own Assessment”in Chapter 15 on re-thinking assessment (If I could I would quote this entire section):

“We teachers often judge the cooks of our classroom solely on the product of their recipe card – without asking them to pick up a spatula.  We are relying on one simple form of assessment to gauge the level of proficiency our students have reached on any given standard or objective.  To be blunt, it’s easier – easier for the teacher to create and monitor, easier to grade, and easier for the kids to prepare for.  Or so we think.” p.157

It was the beginning of May and the last thing on my mind was another test, especially after we just finished state testing.  I was burnt out, couldn’t find any problems worthy enough to create my own test  on Rigid Transformations and to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to grading anything.  Instead of me creating something that would have tasted like a dry piece of cake (you know you like moist cake!),  I chose to have the kids demonstrate 5 learning goals in any format of their choice.  I sent the idea out to John Stevens and Ryan Dent (@4ryandent), fearful of this being extremely messy.  This was the end result CYOA – Rigid Transformations. Because I didn’t want to add to my sanity and have all the kids choosing their own problems, lets be honest that would take forever to grade, I gave them a Rough Draft/Project Outline with some options of problems for them to choose from.  This would make the grading easier on me, but still offer enough of a variety for the students to choose.   They had two days in class to work on it, a Friday and a Monday, and then it was due the following Monday.  The only way kids were able to work in a group was if they were going to create a video.  Students submitted their rough drafts to me at the end of the day Monday, I looked at them to offer feedback, and returned them Tuesday so they could get started on their final product. In reality, I kind of graded their project before the final draft, because most of the final drafts reflected my suggestions which made grading them fast.

Here are some of my absolute favorites for the videos.  I was looking forward to grading them and found myself watching some of the videos multiple times and on the weekends.  If I had to rank my top 3 videos to watch it would be

  1. Dasia p5 (for those of you on Twitter, this is the full video of the one I posted)
  2. Raven and Jaelyn p5
  3. Devin Brody Damanza p5

The video created by Devin, Brody and Damanza does have some language in there that is typical of middle school boys, like calling each other stupid.  However, they made some great connections between Rigid Transformations and activities they do every day.

Other Projects:

Allison: A triangle wanting to bake cookies…

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Emma: Comic about Toni and his math homework…

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Kaitlyn: Informational book…

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Marquez: Informational book…

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Now I don’t know about you, but these were way better than any test I would have created.  Thanks John and Matt for the idea to have the kids Choose Their Own Assessment!


Until Next time,


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