Director of Teaching & Learning Miles Azzeh's Academic Spotlight: Traci Chmidling
This week's spotlight shines on Mrs. Traci Chmidling and her freshman Algebra I class. Traci was kind enough to invite me to see a fun activity she was doing with her students called "Capture the Coin." The activity centered around graphing equations, specifically improving their ability to find the slope and y-intercept of an equation. Traci used the tool "Desmos" and added a bit of "Gamifying" to make it more engaging:
"They will need to decide the best lines to draw on the grid so that they will go through all the coins on the screen. The goal is to create the least number of lines to collect all the coins," said Mrs. Chmidling. "Students can quickly see the line that goes with their choice and can adjust their slope and y-intercept until they start to see how each part is affected."
Mrs. Chmidling kicked off the class with spiral review time, which she refers to as "Tier" work. This time is dedicated to reviewing core foundational knowledge students need to progress in math. It also allows students an opportunity to fill some "gaps in learning" as they work through the activities. This is an excellent way to kick off a class and will provide valuable data for teachers to guide their instruction. Students were utilizing IXL Math when I visited, a tool the state of Kansas is paying for all districts to access this year.
From the onset of class, it was apparent that Mrs. Chmidling has excellent control of her classroom environment. She also does a wonderful job circulating the room to help with misconceptions while building a strong rapport with the students. This relationship-building has led students to very much enjoy her class:
"I really like this class because the teacher treats us how she wants to be treated," said Otto Nevins.
"I like Mrs. Chmidling's class because she is really nice," said Elijah Kiper.
The "Capture the Coins" activity was a good choice, as students worked diligently to try and enter the correct equations to capture as many coins as possible in the fewest lines possible. While some didn't get the answer(s) right the first time, the activity helped them not get discouraged:
"I love that this activity allows students unlimited tries but also encourages them when they get it in the least number possible," said Mrs. Chmidling. "It is very low threat and high interest because everyone wants to play. I also love that I can see their confidence get better as the assignment is completed."
As you can imagine, students loved it too:
"I like this class because Mrs. Chmidlng is a good teacher, and I liked getting the coins on the iPad," said Keegan MJ Cavinaw.
Overall, this was an impressive instructional display. Teaching freshman Algebra is not the easiest of tasks, but because of Mrs. Chmidling's instructional prowess, she can create the perfect environment for students to thrive, as many of them can attest to:
"Mrs. Chmidling will help you before you know you need help," said Kamaree Owens.
"I like this class because she is a very good teacher," said Jonah Niehues.
"I think Mrs. Chmidling is a great teacher because she is super patient with me and helps me through everything I need," said Annie Stansbury.
Fantastic job, Mrs. Chmidling! We're lucky to have you as part of the Pride!