Week 12: Call to Action (Option 2)

09 Feb 2018 7:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

This chapter includes a lot of specific strategies including using vertical, nonpermanent surfaces (pp 321-323), visibly random grouping (pp 323-324), promoting cross-pollination (pp 327-330), and sparking debate (pp335-338). Choose an area of focus and a strategy from this chapter and try it out a few times. Tell us about your plan and then come back and tell us how it worked out.


  • 09 Feb 2018 8:19 AM | Anonymous member
    I have done a lot of work with the vertical non-permanent surfaces. The kids love it! I use it when the kids are solving multistep word problems. They love to write on the board and it seems to make the problems they are working on more fun. The kids get to see what the other kids are doing and then they can share their thinking with the whole group at the end. I definitely recommend it!
    I have also tried the visibly random grouping. That works for the most part, but sometimes it needs to be rigged because there are some kids who just CAN'T be together. I keep my groupings for a week. That way they get to know each other a bit and it saves time from having to do the drawing each day. They do love it when they get new groups, though!
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  • 09 Feb 2018 10:18 PM | Anonymous member
    I noticed this year how much my students enjoy working on white boards, especially when they are vertical. We are in the process of having a new school built and I put in a request to have while board all the way around my room. I also let the students use dry erase markers on the tables. It erases pretty well. I have to clean them once a week but it is worth it. Students write a lot bigger with markers too so I find that they make fewer mistakes with calculations as far as skipping negatives.

    I also thought about the cross-pollination. I was at one of Jo Boaler's workshops once when she assigned a group member to be a spy. It was very helpful. I like the idea of the spy only going to other groups once though. I want them to still have to work through their own struggles too. I have a problem solving routine that my students use and I will add this component. I had forgotten all about it.
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  • 12 Feb 2018 2:54 PM | Anonymous member
    I use white boards all the time and yes, the kids love it! It seems to make the math simpler to do and students are more accepting of their mistakes. All it takes is a quick swipe and the mistake is gone compared to erasing where "I can still see my writing" said one student. Students are also more willing to share their answers - easier as they only have to hold the board up for viewing.
    Visibly random grouping works. Most kids love to work in groups, but I do have 2 students who love to work alone, so there are times we compromise (sometimes in a group, sometimes alone). I like the idea of keeping groups for a certain amount of time (a week). I do this in science class when doing experiments, never thought of doing it in math class.
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  • 12 Feb 2018 5:24 PM | Anonymous member
    I too have used vertical non-permanent surfaces for students to work on. They have always loved writing on the various surfaces. Even though we all have students share their thinking, in the past few years I have not forced all of kids to stand up, I let some stay at their seats with whiteboards. That did not happen today, today everyone had to stand up and work at a vertical non-permanent surface. It was awesome, there are a plethora of surfaces for them to write on, and it made solving real world problems involving proportions fun.
    While kids were working, the room was energized in a way that it has not been. I used to have the majority of the kids at little whiteboards at their seats, and only 4 or six standing up. With all 22 standing up and engaged the room had a different energy. Everyone was on task, and there was no place to hide. Everyone had to think and share their thinking with peers.
    The act of standing up and trying to figure out how to approach a problem forced many of the reluctant participants to participate in the discussions.
    This format is a great way to Promote risk taking, deliberation, discussion, and sharing. This is a way to celebrate creative thinking, and when the students are interacting in this format they are advocating for what they need to understand the problem.
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    • 04 Mar 2018 1:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      Hi Carol,
      I'm curious about the layout of your room. How did you have 22 students all standing up and using whiteboards? Were they leaning against the walls? On top of counters or book shelves? Were kids writing on windows?
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  • 17 Feb 2018 11:03 AM | Anonymous member
    I really want to use vertical spaces more in my classrooms. I use my Smart board all of the time, so why not have students make use of the large whiteboard that is available? I sometimes use chart paper simply because I don’t want to lose their thinking. I can learn so much from what students have tried, crossed out, and re-worked in completing a problem. I have plans for adding some 24 x 36 whiteboards to my supply list for next year.

    Students love using the small erasable whiteboards, but when they’re stuck and ask for direction, I sometimes see only a blank space. When they share an answer, I see simply an answer, not the process they used. I keep reminding them to keep the work visible in order to share with their peers or with me. The small whiteboards also only provide a limited space for work. I’m one who requires lots of space to work through math problems. I personally need to see every step. More vertical space should help with this.
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  • 17 Feb 2018 4:02 PM | Deleted user
    In my class, groups are randomly picked every day. We may be split by teacher choice or by student choice. I have observed that learning happens no matter the groupng. I am fortunate with a small class. I have the luxury of grouping kids and having differentiated learning so kids are all meeting their needs at their learning level. I mix up kids learning partners as I feel we all have something to learn from each other.
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  • 21 Feb 2018 7:51 AM | Anonymous member
    I'm looking forward to improving mathematical discussions in my classroom. I already use random grouping but will now focus on using vertical, nonpermanent surfaces which will promote cross-pollination and debate. As I read teaching examples in the book, I started visualizing different ways to approach the teaching of fractions in my class. I'm excited to try my ideas and get out of the workbook. Loved this chapter.
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