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.