Eureka and Middle School Math · Remote/Digital Learning · UDL in Practice · Universal Design for Learning (UDL)


I miss Irene.

If you have read much of any of my blog posts, you are familiar with Irene, my former 7th grade math colleague and partner in mathematical crime, always the better half of my brain. When I was tracking the big picture planning with an eye to MCAS in April, she was always willing to dive back into the weeds to do detail duty just one more time, resulting in a better product, whatever it was we were doing.

So, tonight, as I write my first set of Do Now Google Slides for co-teaching math at GCVS, my new district, I ask myself, “what would Irene do,” or WWID for short. Would my work meet her standards?

For this first found of Do Now’s, I chose adding and subtracting decimals as a topic. This is a 6th grade standard, so I creating work that is standards-based, a requirement of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

I also provided choice, offering four options; the second pair of options offer what Dr. Jo Boaler calls “low floor, high ceiling” options, in that students can enter at a low(er) level, but can create up to an unlimited (high) level (ceiling).

I used the same four options for Day Two, but changed the content of the problems. I also used the PearDeck “add audio” option to read the instructions to address barriers.

If this goes as planned, I will have a collection of student-created story problems by Day Three. In particular, I am interested in providing this option because I have a few students in class who have indicated their boredom, both in feedback they have provided to use through Google Form checkins and through their in-class behavior (“I’m doooooo-nnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeee.”). I’m hoping that having options, a variety of options, and a variety of options with some “high ceiling” aspects will meet the needs of this group of students. I’m hoping to be able to have enough problems and enough student interest to have two days of using student-created problems.

On the Google Slides for every day, I have included a “Need Help?” slide. Students need to be provisioned in order to do their work; as an adult transitioning to a new district, I have come to value the power of being well-provisioned and the impact of being locked out of programs or struggling to acquire skills, materials, and tools to do one’s best work. Adding a simple help slide can relieve student anxiety around doing this work.

To wrap up the week, I first went for IXL, but quickly decided to add choice in the form of one of the Desmos Card Sorts I created in August.

Then, I sent it off to Irene! I hope she approves!

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