Monday, October 10, 2016

We learn...

Of all the quotes I've read, this is my favorite!

I truly believe what William Glasser stated is 1000% true and I live by it in my classroom!

10% - Have you ever had a student ask "How do you do this?" two seconds after you have given them the assignment that actually has directions on them?  I usually tell them to read the directions.  I know it sounds harsh, but I want that student to be independent and not rely on someone else to read and explain for him or her. I also have students refer to their journal notes often when they "forget" how to do something.

20% - I instruct for about 15 minutes and then I have my students take turns listening to each other explain a problem.  I have student A and student B, or shoulder partners, taking turns. One explains while the other listens.  I sometimes also do a rotation when students are in a group of 4.  I try to teach my students that its important to listen to someone else's ideas because they might learn a different way to solve a problem.

30% - I like to use visuals when I teach.  Posters, word walls, diagrams, and flow maps are all great to use in math journals or around the room for a quick reference.  I have created colorful and animated powerpoints. I also like to incorporate videos from the internet into my lessons. 

50% - Using manipulatives, such as red and yellow counters, for modeling integers and then drawing the model really does help students see why a negative plus a negative has to equal a negative. I do the same with algebra tiles as well so that they can see what needs to be done to get the variable by itself on one side. I model and explain, then I have them model and explain so that their partner can hear the steps, once more.

70% - Isn't it amusing when you ask students to discuss something and all you hear is crickets. Yet, you ask them to be quiet and listen and you can't even hear yourself think over all the talking?  At the beginning of the year, I notice that many of my students have trouble putting their thoughts into words. I'll ask for an answer, and a student will give the correct one. But when I ask them to explain how they arrived at that answer, they respond with the infamous, "I don't know." I do a lot of pair share, shoulder partner and round table discussions. At first I provide starter statements because that makes it easier for them to begin. By about the third six weeks, they get better and are more independent when it comes to explaining in complete statements. 

80% - I try to incorporate many real life situations involving math in my classroom. For some activities, students get to go up to the front of the classroom and present their work. However, I let them know this before they start on the activity or project.  They seem to be more careful and try harder when they know that they are going to actually present it to their peers. They get better and better with presentations and speaking in front of their peers as the year passes.

95% - I always have my students explain to each other. I tell them that if they can explain something to someone, that means that they understand it.  So I have them make that their goal, to be able to explain how to solve a problem.

Gone are the days of teachers instructing in front of the classroom and having students sit quietly and perfectly still for the entire class period.  They are NOT going to do that AND learn. Students need to be more involved in their learning and teachers need to be facilitators of learning. Don't just ask for an answer, ask "Why?" or "How did you get that?" Get students to explain to each other. Trust me when I say that it's almost like "pulling teeth" when you first begin, but giving them starter statements really helps.  Stop with the daily worksheets or daily book work.  Have your students up and walking during a Loop Game or partnering up with someone to complete a matching card activity. 

I've even done a stand up, hand up, pair up with a worksheet and have had success with that. Yes, I said worksheet. I use them in my classroom, I just don't use them daily. Putting a little twist on that type of assignment seems to get certain students to actually want to try. Struggling students also will have someone to discuss solutions with. How about having one student explain and solve the odd numbered problems and the other student explain and solve how to do the even numbered problems.  This simple little twist really takes away the "Oh no, another worksheet" statement and makes it fun. One more! I have told them to select their own problems on the worksheet to solve. For example, they may get to choose six out of ten problems. Some usually excitedly respond with, "Any six?". I answer with yes and a smile because I have reeled them in!  LOL

Discussions and learning will happen! You will see it and hear it and when it does happen, you will smile.  My favorite is when I hear a debate followed by "Miss, can you tell him I'm the one that's right?"  That one makes me smile the most.  When this happens, there is so much more learning happening on both sides, by students and by the teacher.

This is the way I see it. Some students want to talk. Well, give them something to talk about with a math stations or activity! 

You can get a free download of this poster HERE

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!!!

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