This is the week when everyone in our eighth grade class needs to give his or her formal presentation as the final part of their already super-huge culminating assessment project. This public speaking trial by fire will take place this week in English classrooms full of other eighth grade students, eighth-graders' parents and grandparents, school board members, our superintendent, principal, and assistant principal, seventh graders being introduced to the expectations they will have to meet next year, and any other interested parties, politicians, or luminaries from the community who wish to stop by.
The net effect of this situation is that the eighth graders are all nervous wrecks this week, the seventh graders are all bundles of hyperkinetic rubber-band energy, and our mornings will be filled from start to finish with formal presentations and — for me, as their teacher — high-stakes tech support for PowerPoint and Keynote slide shows that have been tinkered with more than is recommended.
For all these reasons, I have realized that this is the PERFECT week for us to do the great Double Stuf Oreo investigation project in my mixed 7th and 8th grade Algebra 1 classes during the afternoons.
I have created a minimally scaffolded version of this lesson that has an embedded literacy component in the situation set-up (a whole-group reading aloud activity) because (a) I have finally started to understand this year how much even the strongest adolescent readers can benefit from practicing their reading and decoding skills in a low-stakes, whole-class setting, (b) this is in keeping with my understanding of Common Core's cross-curricular demand for literacy activities in every subject area, with significant practice in reading, writing, speaking, and thinking along the way, and (c) I have also realized that writing these situation set-ups is fun for me and that reading them aloud is fun for the kids and a welcome change of pace from what they are used to. They love being "written into a situation," and this experience gives them a healthy receptivity to practicing the reading and decoding skills they will still be developing well into their high school and college years.
So here is a link to the PDF version of my Oreo investigation on the Math Teacher Wiki. And here's a link to the Comprehensive Oreology reference site curated by the inestimable Christopher Danielson.
Also, you should know that Nabisco is having a HUGE sale on Oreos this week (at least in Northern California), and between my Safeway club card and the coupons I got from the Nabisco rep at Safeway this afternoon, I feel that the company has gone a long way toward repairing the damage done by some blockhead in customer service who clearly didn't get the importance of Christopher Danielson's and Chris Lusto's attempts to receive an answer that was worthy of the mighty Oreo itself.
More news as it breaks!