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Secondary Mathematics

Task 1: Planning Commentary

TASK 1: PLANNING COMMENTARY


Respond to the prompts below (no more than 9 single-spaced pages, including prompts) by typing your responses within the
brackets. Do not delete or alter the prompts. Pages exceeding the maximum will not be scored.

1. Central Focus
a. Describe the central focus and purpose of the content you will teach in the learning
segment.
[Students will identify parts of a linear equation f(x) = mx + b and how each part affects
movement of a line graphed by the equation. Students will use a TI-84 graphing calculator to
study how changes in the equation affect the graph. ]
b. Given the central focus, describe how the standards and learning objectives within your
learning segment address
conceptual understanding,
procedural fluency, AND
mathematical reasoning and/or problem-solving skills.
[ The learning objectives in each lesson focus on a particular line movement that can be seen
from the equation. For example, in lesson #2 I have a learning objective about students
identifying which part of the equation affects the direction of the line. While working through the
objective students are asked to make a table, graph the equations given and find a pattern
between the direction of the line and the equation. Having the students create their own table
and graph the equations using a calculator increases procedural fluency. When the students
are answering the questions in the activity and comparing columns in their tables to find a
pattern they are solidifying their conceptual understanding of how an equation is related to its
graph and the students are also using mathematical reasoning to find those patterns and
answer the questions in the activity. ]
c. Explain how your plans build on each other to help students make connections
between concepts, computations/procedures, AND mathematical reasoning or problem-
solving strategies to build understanding of mathematics.
[At the start of class every day, students are given starter problems that consist of content that
they are currently working on as well as content that they have already learned. Having the
students complete the starter problems gives them another opportunity to practice their work
and to deepen their understanding of what they are learning.
Because this class is set up as a self-paced flipped classroom, the activities are specifically
designed to build upon each other. Each activity involves some of the previous activities
computation and concepts that we want students to continue to build upon when learning the
new content in the current activity. For example, during Lesson #2, students were to identify
that if the number in front of the x is positive, then the graph of that equation will increase or go
up and vice versa for if the number is negative. In Lesson #3, the focus of the activity is
identifying that the number in front of the x also tells us how much the line of the equation is
going up or down. In this activity students are to make a table with the headings Y = Equation,
Move up or Down?, and How much up or down for one space to the right?. The second column
is directly connected to the previous lesson, but in this activity, we are asking students to take it
one-step farther and see what else the number in front of the x variable tells us about the
movement of the line graphed by the equation. ]
2. Knowledge of Students to Inform Teaching

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Secondary Mathematics
Task 1: Planning Commentary

For each of the prompts below (2ac), describe what you know about your students with
respect to the central focus of the learning segment.

Consider the variety of learners in your class who may require different strategies/support
(e.g., students with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners, struggling readers,
underperforming students or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted
students).
a. Prior academic learning and prerequisite skills related to the central focusCite
evidence of what students know, what they can do, and what they are still learning
to do.
[A couple weeks prior to this Unit, my students completed the NWEAs for Reading
and Mathematics. The results have given me lots of information and insight to my students
pre-existing knowledge and what level they are learning at. A couple of my students are
below grade level in both reading and mathematics. These students are actually at a
second grade level. A low reading score is partially the cause of low math scores. This told
me that they needed specific interventions to help assist with reading the activities so they
can make progress in my mathematics class. The rest of my students tested at grade level.
The learning segments preceding this unit had key learning targets that helped
prepare them for this unit. Students learned about Relations and how they can be
represented, the differences between a function and a relation; can identify a function in
many different forms such as graphs, tables and equation form; can evaluate a function
along with graph it. These are all essential skills to have when learning about line
movement and being able to identify which parts of an equation translate to movement on a
graph. ]
b. Personal, cultural, and community assets related to the central focusWhat do you
know about your students everyday experiences, cultural and language
backgrounds and practices, and interests?
[At the beginning of the year I had my students complete an activity where they
answered ten questions I had up on the Smart Board on a note card. One of the questions
was On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate your ability to do to math? Why? After they
answered the questions, I collected them to look through their answers. I was surprised with
how hard the students were on themselves when rating their math capabilities. The majority
of the students rated themselves as 5 or below and their reasons where that they didnt think
they were a math person. As I planned my lessons for this Unit I kept their answers in
mind. I learned about a mathematics professor named Jo Boaler who has videos that she
made to help kids understand what happens when they learn, make mistakes, etc. Before
each lesson I showed a different video that talked about how making mistakes helps the
brain grow, how everyone can be a math person and that being good at math does not
necessarily mean being fast at math. This helped them be more comfortable and not afraid
of making mistakes.
Another question that I had them answer was Tell me about your family. From this
question I learned that one of my students was brand new not only to the school district, but
the United States. As it turns out, she is the only one that speaks English in her family. She
translates for both her mom and dad. Since learning this, I make sure to check up on her a
couple times a week and ask her if everything is going alright and if she has enough time at
home to complete her homework when there is homework to be done.
]

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Secondary Mathematics
Task 1: Planning Commentary

c. Mathematical dispositionsWhat do you know about the extent to which your students
perceive mathematics as sensible, useful, and worthwhile1
persist in applying mathematics to solve problems
believe in their own ability to learn mathematics
[ As mentioned in the prompt above, my students do not have confidence in their mathematic
abilities or their ability to learn math. I think the reason for their lack of enthusiasm about
mathematics is that they do not realize how much they actually use math every day outside of
the math classroom. My goal is to use real world applications when teaching the students math
to help them see that math is important and anyone can be a math person. This learning
segment was setting the foundation in procedures for the next segment that involves a lot more
real life examples. For example, the next learning segment is Rate of Change. In this segment
students will be ask to go to Mr. Pizzas website and write and equation for how much a small
cheese pizza with extra toppings would be. Students will also explore things like the changes in
the stock market. Involving these really world applications, it is my goal to change my students
perspective of mathematics and make learning it more enjoyable. ]
3. Supporting Students Mathematics Learning
Respond to prompts below (3ac). To support your justifications, refer to the instructional
materials and lesson plans you have included as part of Planning
Task 1. In addition, use principles from research and/or theory to support your
justifications.

a. Justify how your understanding of your students prior academic learning; personal,
cultural, and community assets; and mathematical dispositions (from prompts 2ac
above) guided your choice or adaptation of learning tasks and materials. Be explicit
about the connections between the learning tasks and students prior academic learning,
their assets, their mathematical dispositions, and research/theory.
[Knowing that some of my students reading and writing along with math skills are below grade
level, I have adapted my activities for some of my students in the following ways:
1. A couple of my students get easily distracted when using the Ipads to complete their
activities. For these students, I provide a printed copy of the activity.
2. One of my students has in their IEP that they need accommodations to help with writing
and organization. For this student, I provide an already made table with the equations
written in.
3. For my students who struggle with maintaining attention, I make sure the directions are
written out carefully and that each direction has its own line to make it easier for the
students to read through and understand what they are to be doing. ]
b. Describe and justify why your instructional strategies and planned supports are
appropriate for the whole class, individuals, and/or groups of students with specific
learning needs.

Consider the variety of learners in your class who may require different
strategies/support (e.g., students with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners,
struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic
knowledge, and/or gifted students).

1
From The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

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Secondary Mathematics
Task 1: Planning Commentary

[Even though the class is a self-paced flipped classroom, I think it is important to bring the class
together as a whole to make sure everyone is on the same page. I do about 5 to 7 minutes of
whole class instruction every day. It is during this time that I go over the answers to the starter
problems and address any misconceptions that I see the students having. I also give any
announcements that I might have during that time as well.
The self-paced aspect of the classroom is very beneficial for individual students because some
students do not work at the same pace as others. This allows students to work at the pace that
best suits their learning needs. I can also better support educational needs for individual
students. When I go around the room answering students questions I can personalize and
change what I say depending on what I know about how certain students learn and what their
specific educational needs are. ]
c. Describe common mathematical preconceptions, errors, or misunderstandings within
your central focus and how you will address them.
[ Some students when asked to look at an equation and identify whether it is linear or nonlinear
will think that a negative number in front of the x correlates to being nonlinear. To help with this
misconception, I make sure to include in a couple activities, specifically in the tables, exactly
what the number in front of the x tells us about the line graphed by the equation.
Another big misconception is when asked how much the line will move up or down for one
space to the right, students will not look at the number in front of the x and instead substitute the
number 1 into the equation and see what the answer is. For equations that have a y-intercept
other than 0, this will not give them a correct answers. Students must identify the number in
front of the x as the indicator of how much the line will move up or down for one space to the
right. ]
4. Supporting Mathematics Development Through Language
As you respond to prompts 4ad, consider the range of students language assets and
needswhat do students already know, what are they struggling with, and/or what is new to
them?
a. Language Function. Using information about your students language assets and
needs, identify one language function essential for students to develop conceptual
understanding, procedural fluency, and mathematical reasoning or problem-solving skills
within your central focus. Listed below are some sample language functions. You may
choose one of these or another language function more appropriate for your learning
segment.

Compare/Contrast Justify Describe Explain Prove

Please see additional examples and non-examples of language functions in the


glossary.
[ The compare and contrast language function is used in just about every activity in the learning
segment. Students compare and contrast certain columns in their tables to what they see in the
equation. Students use this method to help see the patterns that exist when looking at parts of
an equation and how they correlate to line movement on a graph. ]
b. Identify a key learning task from your plans that provides students with opportunities to
practice using the language function identified above. Identify the lesson in which the
learning task occurs. (Give lesson day/number.)
[ In Lesson #3, students are asked to compare the numbers in the How much up or down for
one space to the right column to the numbers they see in the equation. ]

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Secondary Mathematics
Task 1: Planning Commentary

c. Additional Language Demands. Given the language function and learning task
identified above, describe the following associated language demands (written or oral)
students need to understand and/or use:
Vocabulary and/or symbols
Mathematical precision2 (e.g., using clear definitions, labeling axes, specifying units
of measure, stating meaning of symbols), appropriate to your students mathematical
and language development
Plus at least one of the following:
Discourse
Syntax
[ To help the students see the relationship between the equation and the graph, they students
use a TI-84 graphing calculator and a table that they create. The calculator has several
symbols that the students will use to help graph the equations. While using the graphing
calculator, students must understand the difference between a negative sign and a minus sign
when entering in their equations. Students also use the TRACE button on the calculator a
significant amount to help understand how much up or down the line moves.

When answering the questions at the end of the activities, students will use vocabulary that they
have learned from previous activities. Since each lesson builds upon the last, a continuous use
and exposure to vocabulary is essential to helping the students gain a true understanding of the
learning objective. The questions the students answered where carefully constructed to prompt
students to use the vocabulary they have learned to help answer them.

When completing the activity, students must be precise when looking at and answering
questions about the graph. Specifically when talking about the x and y axis and knowing which
one is which. Students must also be precise when using the graphing calculator. Making sure
the window is set correctly for the graph and that the equations are entered correctly is
important to help them see the patterns and for them to learn the objectives of the lesson.

Students will use graphs, build tables, and compare and contrast the equations with the tables
and graphs to build connections between them and find the patterns needed to learn and
understand the lessons learning target.

Since the setup of the classroom is a self-paced flipped classroom it is important that the
students work together through the activities. Students know that if they are stuck on something
or are struggling answering the questions in the activity, to ask their group members for help
and if everyone is stuck to raise their hand and ask me for help and guidance. Having the
students help each other work through the activities gives them more opportunities to learn and
use the mathematical language being taught. When students can teach each other they are
developing a deeper understanding and knowledge of the content. ]
d. Language Supports. Refer to your lesson plans and instructional materials as needed
in your response to the prompt.

2
For an elaboration of precision, refer to the Standards for Mathematical Practice from The Common Core
State Standards for Mathematics (June 2010), which can be found at
http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_Math%20Standards.pdf.

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Secondary Mathematics
Task 1: Planning Commentary

Identify and describe the planned instructional supports (during and/or prior to the
learning task) to help students understand, develop, and use the identified language
demands (function, vocabulary and/or symbols, mathematical precision, discourse,
or syntax).
[ One of the ways that I support my students learning needs is by giving an already created
table with the equations listed in it to those who struggle with writing. This helps them with their
mathematical precision and allows them to focus more on seeing the patterns between the
equation and the graph instead of worrying about writing. Another way I help support my
students learning is by wandering the room during practice time. I have noticed that students
will ask more questions when you are asking them if they need help on anything instead of just
waiting for hands to be raised with questions. I also support student learning by having the
students complete starter questions at the beginning of every class. Through completing the
starters, students are given multiple opportunities to see and answer different problems related
to what they are currently learning or what they have previously learned that I dont want them
to forget. ]
5. Monitoring Student Learning
In response to the prompts below, refer to the assessments you will submit as part of the
materials for Planning Task 1.

a. Describe how your planned formal and informal assessments will provide direct
evidence of students conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, AND mathematical
reasoning and/or problem-solving skills throughout the learning segment.
[ By having the students complete starter problems at the beginning of class every day I both
formally and informally assess them on what they know. The Google Form compiles bar graphs
and pie charts that show me what specific percentages of how students answered for each
question. Each possible answer will have a percentage of how many students from the class
answered with that option. After I go over the answers with the students, I informally
assessment them by either having the students rate their understanding of what we just went
over on a scale of 1 to 3 with 3 being high understanding, or a quick thumbs up or down survey.
The informal assessment is an immediate feedback of how well I explained the correct answers
to the starters and how well they are understanding the content. ]
b. Explain how the design or adaptation of your planned assessments allows students with
specific needs to demonstrate their learning.

Consider the variety of learners in your class who may require different
strategies/support (e.g., students with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners,
struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic
knowledge, and/or gifted students).
[ In the Google Form assessment I use a combination of different types of ways the students
can answer the question. Some questions are short answer, some are multiple choice and
some are check all boxes that apply. Giving the students a variety of different options to answer
the questions gives students who struggle with certain types of questions more opportunities to
answer. Also, having the assessment on the Ipad helps the students who struggle with writing
out their answers and gives them an opportunity to show how much they understand. ]

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