I was so inspired by Ilana Horn's (@tchmathculture) guest post by her own teenager, Faking Excellence: The Art of Milking Mediocrity For All it's Worth, that I have to tell you how.

The writing is my favorite kind of prose: creative non-fiction, self-reflective, witty, smart. Having a Senior in high school, we, (my daughter and I) can totally relate. As I read, my heart went thunk, as I fall into every teacher trap she laid, "Greet your teacher upon entrance, have book and supplies with you at all times..." My daughter carries a certain book with her at ALL times, how long could it possibly take to read one novel? Now I know it is just for show, as is her overflowing pencil case. I must admit, I do love the oversupplied student...

"Live life like an overworked student..." Oh so my daughter...though she ALWAYS has time to respond to friends, go to movie nights, and fit in a fantasy shopping spree online. "Do you want me to be sad and lonely? Aren't you the one who told me to spend more time with people?" Though I must wonder if this makes me a flakey teacher because I feel for students and let them slip things to me late (with explanation.) I so don't want to the one who gives the students busy work. I try to pick and choose assignments wisely, does this make for lazy students?

To linger over the greatness of the writing and try to make peace with my gullibility, I gave my students the opportunity to read the blog as extra credit. I wrote a Google Form,

And feel so excited to make more response sheets like this one to check for not only content understanding and mastery, but to hear my student's voices. We are not a 1-1 school so I am not sure I can REQUIRE a response.

How do you use Google Forms and response sheets to assess students and inform instruction?

It is important for Newbies, Oldbies, and Inbetweenbies to look for resilience in ourselves. How do we handle a dismal result from a well-planned lesson?

Blame and negative talk to ourselves are not useful or productive. So acknowledge it didn't go so well, and tweet out to your PLC, share with a trusted colleague, sleep on it, check the MTBoS Search Engine, take a run or a bath, or both!

I wanted my students to discover which triangle congruence shortcuts worked and which didn't. Last year I had good success with lesson inspired by the original CPM Math 2 curriculum, where the students cut out various triangles, we put them up on the board and decided which were the same and which were not. Problem was, not enough accuracy with protractors and notion that vertices had to be the endpoints of the triangles, so sometimes non-congruent triangles ended up in the SSS category for example.

So this year I started with a lesson inspired by one I found on James Rahn's website: Discovering Ways Triangles are Congruent. I wanted to use Patty Paper to try to get a grip on accuracy. The idea was to create triangles from all the permutations of six parts of a triangle, each of three vertices and each of three lengths. Problem was there were too many triangles (9). The students didn't like making a triangle out of one single angle, or just an angle and a side.

Most students used the arrows at the end of the rays as endpoints and closed the triangle, so many of the triangles looked the same and plus, each student had about a zillion pieces of patty paper to try to keep organized and categorized. There wasn't enough time to debrief and I wasn't prepared to store the bazillions of pieces of patty paper for the students.

After reaching out to MTBoS community and reading a January 2015 post by Kate Nowak on the same topic, I re-organized thanks to Kate's helpful recording sheet and tried again the next day. I focused on what I wanted the students to specifically see, and decided to concentrate on the triangles given three pieces of information.

This time, instead of every student doing every iteration of  a triangle with the six pieces from James' lesson,  I gave the groups of 4 and 5 students the same 6 pieces of information as they saw previously, and using Kate's recording sheet, specifically asked the students to use the patty paper to create one each per group of very specific triangles in specific orders. For example, create a triangle using side AC, then, CB, then, side BA. ENDPOINTS MUST BE VERTICES AND ANGLE VERTICES MUST LINE UP WITH SEGMENT ENDPOINTS!

I told the students they could divide the work up anyway they wanted...each take a triangle to create, work all as a team, as long as when they were finished they had 5 triangles, on 5 separate pieces of patty paper, labelled for the corresponding letter with the directions for the triangle. You have 20 minutes, GO!

I put 5 pieces of colored paper on the board and had a member tape up their triangles with the ones that were built the same way.