Sunday, November 2, 2014

Table Solving

We like to switch things up in my classroom.  A majority of my math block is spent with students collaboratively solving problems and discussing them.  I pull a small group a few times a week during their independent work, which is usually for about ten minutes.  I give 5 problems or so and get through 2 with my small group (that's ok).  I think they should be collaborating during math time.

While not everyone agrees on my math practices, I'd rather have my students solving challenging problems together and talking about strategies as opposed to the opposite: always silently working in ancient text books.

We are in the midst of a long weekend (thank you Nevada Day followed by 2 staff development days), so I gave a math test on the Thursday before the weekend.  On Wednesday, we played jeopardy.

In the past, I noticed that some students were being passive participants, merely smiling and letting their tables do the work.  Not coincidentally, these students weren't doing so great on their tests.  So I let my students pick their own groups and limited the number of students to 4 rather than 6.   This helped with engagement and participation.  True, there were a few students who still didn't want to work but instead of me harping on them, their teams did.  Nothing like some positive peer pressure!

Instead of having them solve on white boards, I got large sheets of butcher paper for each group.  We also used markers because that always seems to make math more exciting!  

They had a great time working together to solve multiplication problems!

On a post-grading note, I had higher scores on this test than previous ones!

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