Quick fixes and silver bullets… – Thinking Mathematically I find myself reflecting on what I believe is best for my students and best for my students’ beliefs about what mathematics is often. When I get the opportunity to take a look at my students’ work and time to determine next steps, I can’t help but reflect on how my beliefs inform what next steps I would take. However, I wonder, given the same students and the same results, if we would all give the same next steps? Let’s take a look at a few common beliefs about what our students need to be successful and discuss each. My kids need to know their facts: Often we see students who make careless mistakes and wonder why they could have gone wrong with something so simple. Instead of spending more time worrying about memorizing facts, I wonder if other strategies have been thought of to help our students as well? My kid aren’t reading the questions: I wonder what answer students might get to the above question? What do you notice here? What might our students see? My students need more stamina:
insidehighered NEW ORLEANS -- Sherri Restauri, who joined Coastal Carolina University last summer as director of online learning, said that pre-course assessment surveys she used in the past never showed her what skills her students had. She said web-based eLearnReady, created by her Coastal Carolina colleague Cheng-Yuan Lee, provides that information. “You know what [skills] they have, and you can use that information to shape the class,” said Restauri, speaking during a session at the Online Learning Consortium's Innovate conference here last week. “As an instructional designer and director of online learning, this is huge.” eLearnReady provides information about students’ abilities at the onset of an online class, offering insights that can help instructors tailor their teaching to boost learners’ success, Lee and Restauri said during their conference session. Benefits for Students Students have access to their scores for the nine eLearnReady categories. Insights and Training for Instructors
How Giving Students Feedback Through Video Instead of Text Can Foster Better Understanding Narter is not alone. In the past few years, a handful of educators, working in different disciplines and various education levels, have made similar observations. Michael Phillips and Michael Henderson, education faculty at Monash University in Australia, have been experimenting with video feedback for years. They’ve created a website with recommendations for teachers who want to try it out themselves. Technology has limitations, of course. Overall, Phillips and Henderson, who previously taught in high schools, have been blown away by their pupils’ rave reviews. Cognitive scientists may be less surprised by the enthusiasm for video grading. Emotion, for example, is largely conveyed through nonverbal cues, as psychologist Albert Mehrabian (now an emeritus professor at the University of California, Los Angeles) revealed in studies in the 1960s. Indeed, in the videos, teachers typically use a casual, conversational style, which students see as authentic and accessible.
How to Use the Reciprocal Learning Strategy So you just taught your students something new. Maybe it’s a math operation, a bit of music theory, or the conjugation of an irregular verb form in Spanish. Now you’re ready to get them practicing. One standard approach is to assign written exercises. Fine. That’s perfectly fine. Last fall, I showed you how to take written exercises and build in more movement and interactivity with Chat Stations. It goes a little something like this: Every pair consists of a “Student A” and a “Student B.”Each student has their own set of problems or exercises to work on. This arrangement, if done right, will help students become more self-directed, increase academic gains, and improve the quality of social interactions. Here’s a quick demonstration: Reciprocal Learning is one of twenty research-based strategies outlined in Silver, Strong, and Perini’s excellent book, The Strategic Teacher: Selecting the Right Research-Based Strategy for Every Lesson .
Five Classroom Dimensions That Show Deep Math Learning Is Happening | MindShift | KQED News Mia Buljan remembers the specific moment eight years ago when she realized she had to give kids more space to grapple with a problem on their own. She was filming a student working on a math problem with her iPhone (something she does regularly so she can review her strategies and plan next steps). “At that time I thought my job was to be super helpful,” she said, “like ask some pointed questions, or give some suggestions of where he might go next.” But before she could help the student, her attention was called away by a disturbance on the other side of the room among her 34 students. “The whole time I was distracted and not talking to him at all, he was thinking and redesigning his problem,” Buljan said. “I have watched so much wrong counting it hurts,” Buljan said. Buljan no longer rushes to cover everything in the pacing guide. She applies the Teaching For Robust Understanding of Mathematics (TRU) framework in her classroom. Subtraction is a good example.
Scrum Methodology and Project Management Even if you are new to Scrum, you may have heard of a role called the ScrumMaster. The ScrumMaster is the team's coach, and helps Scrum practitioners achieve their highest level of performance. In the Scrum process, a ScrumMaster differs from a traditional project manager in many ways, including that this role does not provide day-to-day direction to the team and does not assign tasks to individuals. A good ScrumMaster shelters the team from outside distractions, allowing team members to focus maniacally during the sprint on the goal they have selected. While the ScrumMaster focuses on helping the team be the best that it can be, the product owner works to direct the team to the right goal. The product owner is responsible for prioritizing the backlog during Scrum development, to ensure it’s up to par as more is learned about the system being built, its users, the team and so on. The third and final role in Scrum project management is the Scrum team itself.
Teaching & Assessing Soft Skills The career landscape is changing dramatically. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before the age of forty. This requires a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. Students who leave high school with strong soft skills will work more harmoniously with others and be more successful tackling unfamiliar tasks. However, teachers must explicitly teach these soft skills in school. This year I am focusing on both teaching and assessing these critical soft skills. Now my teacher team uses these rubrics to give each student feedback on where he/she is in relation to mastering these crucial skills. Below are a few of the rubrics I designed. If you have strategies or resources you use to support students in developing their soft skills, please post a comment and share them!
How to Use the Concept Attainment Strategy Give me 5 minutes and you’ll have a new teaching strategy under your belt. Suppose you’re an art teacher. This week, you want to introduce your students to Impressionism, the style of painting used by artists like Monet and Renoir. Now, you could just give them the name of the style and a definition, then show some examples. Using a strategy called Concept Attainment, you could reverse that order. Instead of providing any terminology or any kind of definition, you could simply tell students that you’re going to study a new style. You begin with this first Yes example: Then a No example: Followed by this one, another Yes example: Then another No: As they study the examples, students work to develop a definition, or a list of characteristics common to all the Yes examples. For a more thorough example of how Concept Attainment works, I offer you this video demonstration: [This section contains Amazon Affiliate links. . In their 2001 book, Classroom Instruction That Works
Ask the NCTM Community :: Suzanne at the Math Forum During the fall season of conferences Annie, Max, and I took the opportunity to find out what types of questions folks would ask if prompted to Ask the NCTM Community. We set up a bulletin board in the NCTM Central Networking Lounge at the Regional conferences in Phoenix (October 26-28) and Philadelphia (October 31-November 2). We also asked visitors to our booth in the CMC-South Exhibit Hall in Palm Springs (November 4-5) to offer questions. Before reading through the questions that we gathered, imagine what you might ask if given the chance to Ask the NCTM Community. Would it be a question about a particular math topic that you find difficult to present to students? click image to view larger version Regional Conferences Networking Lounge – bulletin board Below are the specific questions we gathered at the three conferences. Regionals – Phoenix and Philadelphia: Bulletin Board Notes How do we convince our school not to use timed tests in math? Any ideas on teaching proofs in Geometry???