Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Day 80: Multiple Lessons

Both Math 7 classes had the same lesson today, with vastly different activities.

One class was at the board and did mini-presentations as they practiced combining like terms.  We had conversations about how they arrived at their answers and the types of strategies we used.

The other class worked in short bursts on a worksheet of the same material and we gathered back together as a group to discuss their thoughts.

Both groups did incredibly well with the activities and, in hindsight, I would do it the same way.  It bothers me slightly that I had a group of students doing worksheets.  There is enough evidence that shows that the benefits of repetition of problem sets in math class are short lived and ineffective.

Getting students to have deeper discussions about how they think about numbers and how they apply their strategies is a much better way to solidify the learning.

80 days in, however, I'm still encountering an incredible amount of resistance to that deeper thinking.  They will grind through a list of problems for an entire period.  They will complain about it the entire time, but they will do it.

More cognitive activities, they claim to love, but getting them to actually complete them has been a struggle.

If they are going to insist on doing work at their desks, maybe I need to look into getting some pedal desks.

For my own growth as an educator, I need to work on developing better transitions from rote memory and guided practice to exploratory learning.

Tomorrow we will have a quiz the skills with which we've been working for a week.  I honestly have no idea how it's going to go.

1 comment:

  1. It's perplexing, isn't it? Changing the culture of teaching and learning is your classroom is so challenging and complex! I am NOT and expert and the only thing I have to offer is encouragement because I am still trying to figure it out, too. I feel your pain. It's almost as if worksheets feel safe to students because it's what they're used to, what they expect. They know how to look engaged, know the expectations, know survival tactics. What you are asking of them (and you should!) makes them feel vulnerable, so they resist. I think you are spot on in your reflection about helping them transition. Maybe include student in creating a worksheet of easy, moderate, and gnarly expressions and discuss why some are easier than others, or what it would take to make an easy one more challenging, or a challenging one more approachable. Or have them cut up a worksheet and sort, then discuss.

    I think you are all ready for a well-deserved break!


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