Growing up we usually think we are either a math person or not a math person. But, in preparing for this year I saw a picture that said ‘How to be a math person: Step 1: Do math Step 2: Be a person’ and I really started to look at math differently.
By Jenna Laib
My sixth graders are weary of pre-assessments.
No matter how many times we discuss the goal of a pre-assessment–for me to learn more about their current strategies and understandings, so that I can design learning experiences that fit them better–all of them seem to want to impress me with perceived “perfection.” (As flattering as this is, they are missing the point.) Continue reading “The Intersection of Fraction Talks and Clothesline Math: Formative Assessment and the 5 Practices”
By Robin Moore
As a coach, how can I help teachers structure their lesson-planning in order for students to unpack their mathematical understandings?
This question is always at the forefront of my mind as I reflect on my work as an instructional coach. Most times, I walk into classroom after classroom witnessing teachers working harder than the students. To be clear, the students are all on task and working on the mathematical concepts presented to them with little to no behavior problems. The biggest challenge for teachers is attempting to differentiate for the range of learners in the classroom. To address this challenge, teachers have implemented a math workshop format. In this format, teachers communicate the learning objectives for the lesson and present a scaffolded mini-lesson where they gradually lead students through problem-based activities to ensure each student’s success. While the activities are problem-based, something authentic is missing and many would say that the work does not appear rigorous for all students. From a coaching lens, I wonder when and where learning is happening and who is unpacking it. Continue reading “Using the 5 Practices with Instructional Routines”
By Alicia Farmer
I am the type of teacher you want on your teaching team. I am the person that can remember vast amounts of details, predict potential obstacles, and meet any and all deadlines.
My organized personality is apparent everywhere in my classroom. From classroom routines to student supplies, everything has its place. This organization also shows through in how I plan ahead for all of my lessons. Even after 12 years of teaching, I am still not able to “wing it” when teaching a lesson. While I know my organization and meticulous planning are advantages for many aspects of my teaching, I often felt like they kept my instruction from becoming truly student-centered because these characteristics did not leave much room for flexibility. I would have a planned path for a lesson—a very specific, usually teacher-centered, way to get to the end—and never imagined I could rely on my students’ work to guide the pacing, discussion, and overall lesson as effectively as I could. Continue reading “How the 5 Practices Changed my Instruction”