It's been about four weeks which is quite amazing. So far the theme remains the same, I'm working less and the time I spend thinking about school is at a higher level, teasing out better versions of lessons rather than pure survival.
So, where we stand:
Randomizing - A success after one week, still a success now. StudentPicker is still respected, and I'll have some kids volunteer. The beauty of random numbers makes it funny when the app "picks on" a particular group one day. Next step: try to use it more. Right now I pick at most 5 kids/class with it.
Groups - Showing its potential. The kids have settled in, and in Pre-Calculus I'm really trying to retool the curriculum to give the kids a lot more to do as groups. Example: we cover transformations in the early goings, and rather than slog through stuff they already know (it's Algebra II afterall), we turned it into a poster project. I have something on the backburner for quadratics as well. I'm also trying to encourage unity, but that's a separate entry. Algebra II is a little hit or miss, but I'm still working on group-centered stuff for them. It's a different kind of student in Algebra II, so there's at least one group in each class that is slightly dysfunctional.
Boot Camp - A success, now to force myself to take the concepts from there and generate higher level problems.
Tasks - Relative success, but too early to call. Pre-Cal and Algebra have only had one each.
Notebooks - Big success. Students at the bottom will always space out when they should be writing things down, but I see more of mid-level achievers using them everyday which can help make them high-level achievers. Since I know the kids have them, we don't do loose worksheets. I either take old lessons that were done as worksheets and find a way for them to do the writing, or it becomes a paste-in. Example: Transformation rules in Algebra II. We just finished the first appearance of these (only like 6 more times to go) and in the past students will fill out a reference worksheet and turn it in for some kind of homework grade and then throw it away. Now? The rules and their meanings are a chart in the notebook. Same for parent functions. I have much more to say on this some time later.
I need to do another curriculum dump, I adapted a tried and true district lesson on transformations to my group situation, but I feel like it can get better. All my random Pre-Cal group brainstorms need a home too. Plus, proportional reasoning and you!
Finally, I find the best way to implement something is to always have it visible, so I'm getting a document camera. Not the super expensive, oh-I-need-to-change-projector-inputs kind, but something sleaker. First thought (and semi "look at the hipster" answer)? iPod touch and FaceTime. Better (cheaper) thought? Logitech C910 Webcam and a long USB cord. No sooner did I think of that then I found someone uses it for that express purpose: