Week 3: Call to Action (Option 2)

16 Nov 2017 9:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Choose an item or two out of the Make It Safe table on pages 51-53 that resonate with you. Try it in your classroom and then write about what you learned.


  • 19 Nov 2017 12:57 PM | Anonymous member
    What resonates with me is that children need to be encouraged to take risks and not be afraid to fail. As we know, we learn from our mistakes.That is easy to say, but the children need to be provided with a "safe learning environment". I try to bring in examples I've heard about companies that encourage workers to working on a project until they hit failure.This allows for experimentation and a feeling of ease and support for the children. When a child explains their strategy to the class and the answer is wrong. I thank this person for I know that others in class have done the same thing and this openness allows us to exam what went wrong and what could be other possible strategies. Our class has "math picnics" on the floor for those children wanting to work with me and each other. We bring out scrap paper and counters to work out problems in a cooperative way. I like the possible comments to give the children on page 44. I will be trying these out.
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    • 25 Nov 2017 10:31 AM | Deleted user
      Could you give me an example of how you used math picnics? I was wondering what grade you worked with? I like the idea and would want to try it.
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  • 19 Nov 2017 3:29 PM | Anonymous member
    We spend a lot of time talking about different approaches, different answers, different strategies. At first, students don’t pay attention if it is not their turn to talk, so we spend a lot of our math class time practicing how we can listen to one another and ask respectful questions. Recently, I had a really strong student make a mistake at the board, and someone started to question it, but then stopped and turned away; everyone was a little more confused, and I made them stop and look again. I asked the questioning/wondering student what she was going to say, and she kind of brushed it off, saying that the mistake-maker was smart, and SHE must have been the one who had done something wrong. We all took the time, and the strong student acknowledged his error, and I thanked him, and I reminded everyone to be paying attention and to ASK QUESTIONS. I have had nearly everyone in class willing to share their attempts in front of the class, and I have found quiet people who are less willing to jump in, and I’ve shared their thinking anonymously with PearDeck or by just saying, “Here’s something really cool I noticed while I was walking around.”
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  • 19 Nov 2017 3:31 PM | Anonymous member
    I have the students do class discussions where they share different ways they solve problems. I find that the same students like to participate, so I try to draw out the others by commenting on their work beforehand and asking them to explain their way of thinking to the class. When they get "stuck" I encourage them to keep going and that we are there to help. At the end, I encourage others in the class to try the ways their fellow classmates have come up with, both to boost the confidence of the kids who are not as secure in their thinking and to broaden all the students' ways of solving problems.
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  • 20 Nov 2017 8:06 PM | Anonymous member
    I must admit that I am a "true traditionalist." When our school was given a new Math curriculum a couple of years ago, I was totally thrown! I am "old school" and I had never learned how to do most of the strategies that we were supposed to teach the kids, and would be one of the first to admit, as I heard parents say, what was wrong with the regular way? Our class begins the year with Multiplication. Any of the strategies that I teach to the students, I did not do in school. I had to learn with the students! It is fun and interesting now, after teaching so many different ways to get to the answer with multiplication, which strategy the students choose! I am a work in process, but use, or try to, a lot of phrases such as wow that was great. Did anyone have a different way that they used to get to the answer? I am taking risks as much as my students are!
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  • 21 Nov 2017 2:03 PM | Anonymous member
    As I read through the Making it Safe table I had many moments of nodding yes, I do that as I read the statements on Encouraging Risk but I also noticed that I do follow some level of Promoting Obedience, especially with the students I work with as an Interventionist. The area that really stood out for me in need on fine tuning is the language and procedures I use with my students. I feel like I dictate more in this area than any other, trying to get my students to learn the algorithms and remembering rules to use. I certainly understand the power of risk taking and appreciate what it offers a learner, but I also feel like my students are receiving a 25-30 minute service 4 or 5 times a week and I really want to optimize the time I have with them and maybe even "catch them up" in some area. I guess what allows me to sleep at night is knowing that the teachers we have in our building and the program we use to teach mathematics encourages many aspects I see in the Encouraging Risk category.
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  • 21 Nov 2017 2:13 PM | Anonymous member
    My Ed Tech and I reviewed the table together and brainstormed what we could do in our classroom. We had been talking about our students reading and comprehension impacting their math and had bounced around some ways we could address that. We both noticed that word problems gave our students a hard time. It was impacting their problem solving and their testing. Honestly, we couldn't decide between the two so she chose one and I chose the other. We are working on: Thinking and understanding are paramount.
    I felt that the visual impact of a word problem was daunting to our students and they were seeing it as impossible to "find a way into." To this end, we had students highlight each sentence of a word problem in a different color. We had students read the problem to themselves and discuss what information was important, what tasks is it asking me to do, and what does it want me to figure out. This led to some interesting discussions about how words can be translated into numbers and math symbols. Students began to circle words they found and add numbers and symbols above them. We were constantly modeling the kinds of questions they would eventually ask themselves. Through this guided questioning we moved students through understanding their word problem, completing tasks within the word problem like making an array, and modeling their information in different ways. We used student examples to showcase how different kinds of thinking and modeling could still lead to an answer. Students enjoyed seeing their work and the work of their peers. They also enjoyed furthering each others thinking during the problem solving process. Differing answers were debated and checked by students. We found it hard to resist instructing students but the aha moments more than made up for it.
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  • 21 Nov 2017 2:13 PM | Anonymous member
    My classroom teacher and I couldn’t choose between two items from the table, so she is commenting on one and I the other. I chose: Student are expected to build new understanding from what they already know guided by the teacher. A safe environment is one in which students are center stage in their own problem solving. This is not to say they shouldn’t have support, on the contrary. We strive to use guided questioning to model to students the kinds of questions they need to ask themselves when solving problems. One thing we noticed about our current class is that their reading and comprehension skills were low over all. It was showing up on their standardized testing in math, as well as in the class. We also noticed that merely reading for them seemed to make little difference. However, when we rephrased the question, students were mainly able to showcase their math skills. To this end we began a word problem journey with our students. We had student led discussions about what information was important. As well as words that either signaled math operations or numbers. The word “a” was discussed as being a hidden number one. The word “both” could either signaled addition or the number two,and so on. We highlighted each sentence a different color and decoded the information circling numbers we needed and circling words we could replace with math symbols like plus. Each time this was modeled through questioning. For example, asking students to find their first task or finding a way to model the information. Of course some students needed less guidance in the questioning than others and it is still a work in progress. But students are better able to persevere in finding a way into a word problem than when we started.
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  • 22 Nov 2017 1:21 PM | Anonymous member
    Enjoyed reading the table - I find myself a mixture of the two sides! Better work on that! :) I have a student who doesn't want to show their work and it's interesting as the year is going by why that is. I had already started saying to the student "I want to see your thinking" now I need to add the "so someone else can understand" to it. I think that phrase will really help the student. This student has always been told they were a good math student - mostly 4's on the report card I am told in the subject of math. The mother has said often that she is going to see about putting them ahead a grade because of it. However, now that we are getting into problems that are requiring more thinking - that you can't keep all in your head - like multiple step problems - the strategies the student has used before are no longer working. Hence the reason I want to add "so someone else can understand it." I find the students that are struggling - are struggling for a variety of reasons and unfortunately some of it comes from low esteem surrounding math. This is one of the areas I find that I do encourage risks - praise is often - as well as encouragement. Through talking with them I am able to help them find out where exactly the tricky part is - and where there is confusion.
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    • 24 Nov 2017 10:11 PM | Anonymous member
      It is amazing how much of a difference language can make. "I want to see your thinking." is so much less confrontational than "I want to see your work." "I want to see your work." seems like the student isn't trusted. I do LOVE this book and everyone's comments are so helpful!
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  • 22 Nov 2017 3:59 PM | Anonymous member
    As I read through the table I found myself all over the place, both on the left and the right. I started thinking boy this isn't good and then yeah I do this. Finally, I realized we have our own style and most likely all are on both sides of the chart to some degree.

    One thing I tried to change this week and will continue in the future is the language I choose. I will sometimes use the word "easy", not to describe a new topic but an old topic that students have already mastered. This week I focused on using the word "challenging" when making connections between applying older content to new ideas. I'm not sure of he effect that this has had but I feel it lays down a standard that this work may be difficult and it is okay to fail on the way to gaining an understanding.

    A second bullet I ran into this week was talking to a student about solving proportions. We had looked a few ways to solve them in class. In my mind I had the way I like to solve proportions, this student had an alternative way that was equally as valid but could not articulate how he got the answer. I had marked the answers correct but left a comment to explain why his method worked. He came to me and was a noticeably upset because he thought I marked his work wrong because of the question I asked. He was not able to explain and thought I would mark his answers wrong. I had to assure him his work/process was correct, I just wanted to him understand what he had done mathematically. I described to him what he had done and he exclaimed, "Yeah that is what I did" and went on to describe how he had done another problem using the same method. From this experience I learned I need to be sure to have more conversations with kids or give kids more opportunities to explain there work especially if it is an alternative way to solve a problem.
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  • 22 Nov 2017 7:01 PM | Anonymous member
    I think the best thing I can do to promote students taking risks, is to be a risk taker myself. Over the last 2 years I have been really transparent with my students about my own learning as a mathematician, and as a teacher. I am fortunate to have an amazing district math coach, who meets with us, and will visit my classroom to co teach with me. I often share with my students what things I am working on, whether it be learning to listen more, working on representing what students say mathematically on the board, practicing asking questions, or even working on a new math strategy I am learning. Having my students see me as a learner has been very powerful in fostering risk taking. After sharing a strategy tat was challenging for me, one of my students said, "I know this isn't your comfortable strategy, but it really works for me, and I know your practicing it, so could we look at it together?"
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    • 24 Nov 2017 10:05 PM | Anonymous member
      Aww...That's awesome!
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    • 26 Nov 2017 8:43 PM | Deleted user
      I also agree with you Susan. Showing your students that you are always continuing to learn is very powerful in fostering risk taking. I work with the littles just starting out so I try very carefully to use encouraging and supportive language instead of dictating and coming across as it is "My way or the highway." It is terrific you have that support in your school and I know my colleagues and I envy you having a math coach. We work hard but often would welcome support from a math coach who could help us through our struggles and support us in being the best math teachers we could be. :) Value that every day Susan as it is a luxury that some of us wish we had. :)!
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  • 24 Nov 2017 10:04 PM | Anonymous member
    "Speed is overvalued. Challenge and try are common words. It's understood that doing good math takes time." True. We are on a very tight schedule always and more students as well as younger and younger students are dealing with anxiety. Life seems to be unnecessarily complicated, busy and fast. There isn't much think time. Not good. Currently, I have one parent who I know of, who volunteered two weeks ago. Her dear daughter had no think time at all. Her mother whispered every answer in her ear immediately after I asked the question to the class. Therefore, she didn't have to try, wasn't challenged, and had no time to do good math. That 10 minutes of rug time showed me clearly why she has such a hard time thinking for herself and accomplishing a task.
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  • 25 Nov 2017 9:39 AM | Anonymous member
    “Did anybody look at this problem in a different way” has been an eye opening experience for me in my middle school classroom. I have been surprised by the variety of strategies used to solve problems when in my mind I only saw one way, the more traditional way, to arrive at the answer. Asking about different ways to look at a problem has helped me to understand why “the rules” actually work. Taking the time to discuss alternate strategies has increased my understanding of mathematics as well as allowing me to gain insight on my students’ thinking.
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    • 29 Nov 2017 8:12 PM | Anonymous member
      Sometimes it feels like a luxury to spend time asking that question but it is well worth it. If kids know you are going to really listen to them and their ideas, some real powerful conversations can happen.
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  • 25 Nov 2017 10:27 AM | Deleted user
    I teach first grade and one of the things that I am trying to do is to help students feel comfortable with sharing their thinking in regards to how they solved a problem. I have noticed that some of the students in my class do not want to try unless they feel that they are 100% correct. In first grade we have been working on continuing to develop number sense through counting strategies as well as introducing number models using addition and subtraction. One of the things that I tried in my classroom was on page 53 where I encouraged students to take risks by stating what another student tried and how that thinking was different. I noticed that the students responded to this strategy and often times would be willing to help another student in class by explaining their thinking to them and helping the other student come up with a solution to the number model story. This was great for me to see with these young learners.
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  • 25 Nov 2017 3:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    I like the quote, "Students are socialized into a mathematical culture in which questioning, innovating, and attempting are highly valued." (from p 53)
    I am teaching a college math class were the students do not receive college credit for the course - it's a remedial course. It's my second time teaching the class and I absolutely love working with the students. This semester I had a couple of students approach me after the first math class (we'd watched Jo Boaler's video - everyone can learn math.) and told me that they didn't want to fail the course.... again! I was stunned. The mathematics of the class is 8th and 9th grade math. Many of the students have had negative experiences in math and the fact that they have to pay to take this class, and pass, before they can take the math class that will give them the college credit they need speaks to an expected hesitancy that many of them have about math.
    In looking at the Make It Safe table, I certainly expect students to take risks and provide support throughout the semester. Students have to feel safe in order to take risks, we discuss this in the first several classes. I try to provide opportunities for students to share their thinking with a partner, in small groups, with the whole class. This is often a different setting than what they've experienced in math class and perhaps different than what they expect from a college math class. The students quickly learn that we are going to move tables and work in groups - after a couple of class, they are the ones putting tables into groups.
    As students are working, I move around the room and listen and learn about my students. Some of them lack confidence, they need reassurance from me - I work to have them get assurance from their table "mates." It has taken more than half of the semester to get the class to a place where they will openly ask a question - they've learned that questions are good and that others learn from them also.
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  • 25 Nov 2017 6:25 PM | Deleted user
    In the past few years, I have really tried to encourage students to use the best strategy for them to solve problems. If they use a different strategy, they have to be able to explain the strategy to another student for me to know they have a clear understanding of it. I also try to promote a positive learning environment with students by beginning the year with growth mindset activities. These activities promote positive feedback for students as they try and take risks with their math exploration in the classroom. When giving each student feedback, I try to focus on saying to students that they are doing well on the problems and not that they are good at math. I look forward to trying to use the words challenge and try along with promoting them to take their time because good math takes time!
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  • 26 Nov 2017 12:06 PM | Anonymous member
    We ask students to take risks every day. To encourage my students to take risks, I wanted them to realize that everyone makes mistakes. So, I purposely created an answer key that had mistakes in it. Some groups simply changed their answers to the incorrect answer, others agreed that the answer was wrong, but did not bring it to my attention.
    When I asked the class if they had any comments about the assignment, not one student dared to say anything. When I said let's look at number 7 because I think there was an error, they said, we noticed that, but........
    This led to a great discussion, and gave them permission to question me. I encourage them to ask questions, and my mistakes whether accidental or intentional are becoming a way for students to defend their thinking and gain confidence in their abilities.
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  • 26 Nov 2017 8:26 PM | Deleted user
    I think about my own experiences with math when I was in school and until high school I learned math through my math teacher promoting obedience. Once in high school, I had a terrific math teacher who shifted that math obedience mentality to encouraging risks and supporting ideas on my thinking. It was only then that I was able to feel comfortable taking risks and confident that even if I did not have the correct answer, I felt safe enough to put my ideas and thoughts into at least attempting to work through my math struggles. I felt empowered by the thought of being able to at least contributre something to the math class and the confidence to state, "I do not understand what this problem is asking me to do or I do not know what the next step is." When I became a teacher myself I had made up my mind that I would always encourage risks no matter their grade level when learning about math.

    I specifically think about my 4th grade math class a few years back, before I became the kindergarten teacher. A colleague of mine already posted about this new math program that was thrown into our laps and we were expected to teach it and follow it exactly as stated. We had little training and the frustration set in on many of us. I try to keep an open mind and even though I felt the frustration and confusion just like the next person, I decided to take this new program with a positive outlook and do the best I could with it when teaching my students. I used this one strategy that encouraged risk taking. I basically put a problem on one big chart paper and had 4 students at a time problem solve and use strategies they knew or thought they knew to work out the math problem. I would then switch them to the next problem until everyone had had a chance to use a strategy on each of the chart papers. When we were finished we walked around the charts looking at what students noticed. They had to write two things they noticed about the work on the chart and one question that left them wondering about their classmates thinking. This is what I liked about doing this math thinking, first of all, all of my students were engaged no matter their level of understanding and when taking the gallery walk, no one knew who's ideas were whose. Secondly, the conversations we had about what they noticed or how they learned something new from anothers thinking, or having questions they had answered by the students and not me, was priceless. Being able to stand back and watch the learning happening for all students made me realize that encouraging students to take risks instead of dictating to them on "It is what it is just because", is the best way to encourage my students mathematical thinking and success. Every student was learning math in their own way and knowing having misconceptions, not mistakes, were ok to make in math class, my student felt the confidence I once did in working out their mathematical thinking whether is was quick or a work in progress. A safe, encouraging, and supportive learning environment shows me more learning progress then rigidity and obedience ever has.
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  • 27 Nov 2017 12:54 PM | Anonymous member
    As an RTI math teacher, I have groups that are fewer students than most math classes. Starting in September, I introduce the structure of "Being the teacher" to my 6th graders; my 7th and 8th graders are already familiar with it. Each student comes in and shares in his/her space on the board. I help my 6th graders get use to this structure by having only two students at a time on a rotating basis be the teachers. For the most part,they love showing what they know then having their peers comment on their thinking, their understanding and their misunderstanding. They follow a similar model in their math classes as far as the sharing of their knowledge, understanding and insights. Students learn quickly we are all there to help and and learn and that I am not the only teacher, only one of any given number in the room. Students enjoy not having me at the "front" and so do I. I should add that "being the teacher" is the most fun when we are in what we call "intensification" mode, which means we are taking a look at what students are studying in their math classes. I observe in our math classes a daily environment of "Making It Safe" and "Encouraging Risk", and I work to model that in the support I provide for students.
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  • 28 Nov 2017 12:11 PM | Deleted user
    I have very small groups of students who are in pullout advanced math classes. It's hard to have a lively discussion. I don't think my students are afraid to take risks, but there are times I need them to elaborate on their ideas. GT students can make great leaps in their thinking, and they often find it tedious to show work. So this week I tried the phrase, "I want to be able to follow your thinking, so be sure to add enough information so that I can easily do this." It was a non-threatening and encouraging way to validate the need for showing work/thinking.
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    • 04 Dec 2017 8:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      I've had a similar experience with a GT class Sarah. I sometimes would point out that perhaps the number crunching or problem solving wasn't the hard part of the lesson - being able to "construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others" from CCSS Mathematical Practices was the real math learning for the students that day. It took the students a while to recognize that they were going to have to communicate their mathematical thinking wth each other and that that is important math.
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      • 11 Dec 2017 9:31 AM | Deleted user
        Exactly! It is hard to find that balance, taking time to communicate and reason, and moving ahead with math ideas. I use the math forum problems a lot, and have students explain their thinking in writing or in a podcast. These supplement my regular teaching.
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  • 28 Nov 2017 8:59 PM | Anonymous member
    I have been working on students building their own understanding from what they already know instead of just following my lead. I worked hard the other day getting my students to figure out a way to write an absolute value equation from a graph. It took them quite awhile, suggesting and trying out different ideas. They finally made connections and figured it out. Just when I was feeling really good about the lesson, a boy raised his hand and said, "not to tell you what to do or anything, but that would have been a whole lot easier if you had just shown us what to do." Haha, they are so used to learning in that manner that they thought I wasn't teaching right. I guess it will take awhile to get them on this new path.
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  • 29 Nov 2017 2:15 PM | Anonymous member
    I have worked on encouraging the risk for students to make mistakes and not feel bad or dumb or humiliated. It is very helpful to start the year by setting the class climate to encourage each other and never make fun of anyone else's answers, ideas, or thinking. I now share a lot of Jo Boaler's work on brain research with the students about how more synapses are fired off when one makes a mistake. The students are quite impressed with this. I have found it takes many ongoing conversations with students to continue supporting a class climate of risk taking.
    I also like to share the video "My Favorite No" from the Teaching Channel, with teachers, to show value in students' mistakes.
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    • 29 Nov 2017 8:13 PM | Anonymous member
      My Favorite No is a great starter for a new unit, a new strategy, anytime!
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    • 04 Dec 2017 8:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      I like "My Favorite No" because it offers a student insight about his/her correct work and hopefully the class discussion helps the student understand where he/she made his/her mistake.
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  • 03 Dec 2017 8:20 AM | Anonymous member
    In my room celebrating risks is key. Sometimes just speaking up when you disagree about another's work is a risk. I try to point out and celebrate students who speak up against someones work when they don't understand it or simply have a different idea. I do this because speaking up when you are unsure of the "correct" answer is really hard to do but I believe it is the first step to true understanding.

    I also, have been working on getting my students to be honest with me and tell me when I say something that they don't understand. I want them to say "I don't know what you mean, or I don't understand." I find that they tend to just nod their head in agreement. So, to encourage more speaking up, we celebrate those who step out of their comfort zone and do it.
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  • 04 Dec 2017 6:51 PM | Anonymous member
    This chapter was so hard for me... I thrive on "promoting obedience"! Honestly, it is how I learned, and I am constantly noticing how I am carrying bad teaching habits through with my students. I am working on encouraging risk by having students explain how they got certain answers; for example, if I notice that a student did not get the correct answer, I ask them to walk me through how they arrived at that particular answer. I don't want to discourage students (who already do not like math because it is difficult for them) by constantly pointing out when they got an answer incorrect. Instead, I feel like I can allow for some self-discovery by having them work through the problem and explain their reasoning.
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  • 04 Dec 2017 8:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    I am teaching a math class for a community college. The course is for no college credit because the content addresses content in 8th-9th grade math. The students often do not have a good math disposition - they can feel defeated and are often worried that they will fail the class. I've had students come to me after the first class and say they don't want to fail the class, again! I spend the first couple of classes building in opportunities for students to know it's okay, and actually expected, for them to ask questions, share when they are confused or when something doesn't make sense. I think by the tone that I set, students know all questions are important and will be taken seriously. During the first class I build in activities that have students talking with each other, moving from one group or partner to another. Students will often hear me respond to a question with, "What do people think?" or "Can someone start to address the question that __ asked?" Students sit in groups so that they can collaborate together. While students are working, I'm moving among the groups and make myself available to questions - IF the group can't help. I also might ask a probing question to encourage a student or group to think a bit deeper about a problem and their work.
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  • 13 Dec 2017 10:57 AM | Deleted user
    I find that giving a positive comment that is specific to what the student said or tried acknowledges that you were listening to them and that their thoughts and ideas matter. When you give over some of the voice to the students, they become more engaged and involved and therefor learn. I have tried a new activity in the classroom called' What Do You Notice? What Do You Wonder?
    You list all the things the students notice and all the things they wonder,no matter how trivial it may seem. Students might not say something, at first, that they notice thinking it won't matter, but when you include all responses everyone feels safe enough to share out. Everyone can notice and wonder about a picture. When you do this activity before you assign a task or activity, students prior knowledge gets activated and everyone feels safe.
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  • 17 Dec 2017 9:08 AM | Anonymous member
    Every day on the morning announcements we are asked, "Are you ready to learn?" and most days I answer out loud, "Yes, I am". I love it when I learn something new from my students. The first item on the Make It Safe table resonates with me. Different people have different learning styles and therefore there is always more than one way to solve a problem. The day my teaching approach changed to allow multiple approaches was the day a student said, "I understand what you are telling us, but wouldn't it be a lot easier of we just did this....?" and she explained her approach to me and the class. Twenty plus years later, I still tell this story to my students to encourage them to share their thinking with me and the class. A few weeks ago I had a student share his strategy for memorizing fraction/decimal conversions with 1/8s that I had never seen before and just like the other times over the years, I will be sharing his strategy with others.

    I find the downside is that the obedient approach seems to take less time. The "let me show you how it is done" approach gets everyone thinking on the same page and moves the class along. With so much curriculum to cover and so little time to do it in, I have to constantly remind myself that the learning process will take them farther in the long run than the correct answer.
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  • 26 Dec 2017 11:47 AM | Deleted user
    Our K-5 math curriculum is new this year. I do like the way students are challenged to think. They are given a problem orally, then asked to work it out on their own white board. When they think they have the answer, the boards are turned over to the red side. The answers are shared. I encourage the different methods used to solve the problem by sharing student work. We do not hurry through the problem solving or sharing. I do have to remind myself not to use the phrase, you are such a smart class!
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  • 10 Jan 2018 6:27 AM | Anonymous member
    "Students are expected to do exactly what they are supposed to, according to the assignment, and stay within those constraints." p. 53
    Recently I had two 8th grade students who have been working ahead of the class and doing the standard work book assignments and were completing the Chapter on Transformations in Geometry when they knew I was going to hand them some end-of-chapter tests and asked if they could do something different (Anything the tests!) - we discussed options and they encouraged me to open my mind that they could create a poster that has the four elements of the chapter. They became so excited that I readily agreed, but said that we would look at the posters together after and if I asked questions that needed clarification - they could then adjust/rethink how they had presented information. The Poster was great and they only addition that they needed to do was add misconceptions in bubbles. I am now going to have all the other groups do something similar as a end of chapter assessment. the students took a Risk and I made it Safe for them to ask.
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  • 11 Mar 2018 5:47 PM | Anonymous member
    The very last entry in the encouraging risk table makes me smile. We recently (my co-teacher and I) gave our students an activity where they needed to observe what they could in a picture, hear the story about the picture (this is a 9th grade class)and then make their claim as to whether or not a murder or accident happened. We asked them to provide their evidence and then link this evidence to their claim. First of all, these students have recently completed the YouCubed Unit: Patterns and Functions and realized immediately that they needed to observe and listen for any patterns.

    After our students collaborated in small groups, they were asked to report out their findings. At first, some of the students responded with questions to other groups's findings in a less than respectful manner. It lent us a wonderful opportunity as a class to once again explore how interesting and important peoples' thinking processes can be. Once we recalibrated our classroom's courtesy expectations, we let the students continue to explore some of each others ideas. We then begged the question as to whether there was enough solid evidence to really know what had happened and they agreed that there wasn't. More importantly they concluded that it is important to keep an open mind and listen to what others have to say in helping to better inform their own decisions.
    Many students asked us to provide them with more of these kind of activities, expressing how interested they were in being investigators. We felt pretty successful with this choice of activities in myriad ways!
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