Worked Examples #eduread #MTBoS


June is half gone… the summer quickly passes by. So many times I feel inspired to blog and then something comes up and it gets pushed aside. We started an impromptu book chat last night – mostly because we had the book, it is somewhat a quick read and we felt we could get through a chat quickly enough to move on to other planned projects later this summer. Michael Pershan’s Teaching Math With Examples.

Take-a-ways for me from Chapter 1 and our chat=
“Learning can only happen when careful thinking occurs.”

Self-explanation seems to be key (Rittle & Johnson) – Students read / access information superficially; they listen but don’t think in lecture heavy classrooms. The solution? Prompt students to explain.

Educational techniques are not magic. If they don’t provoke thinking, they don’t work.

Willingham: “Memory is the residue of thought.”

Students do not learn from a worked example – student learn when they think actively about a worked example.

This reading and the chat reminds me of a session I attended at KCM in March 2020 on Worked Examples with Mark Helton. I have my notes at school, but was able to locate these 3 snapshots of his handout. Will share more when I run across that folder.

KCM 2020, Mark Helton
Correct & Incorrect

In the book and mentioned in the chat was a resource shared by @jrykse I had on my to do list in 2020, but then online and virtual classrooms overtook my life. I will be checking this out before summer’s end. Algebra by Example from SERP Institute

Searching my old posts, looking for these handouts, I ran across this Post from a book study on Support for Struggling Learners and listed as one of the interventions was concrete examples. Again, revisiting this book as well as I prepare for next school year.

I have utilized Mathshell’s Formative Assessment Lessons for many years. The Concept Development Lessons give students an opportunity to do a task, allow you to give feedback. Then they actually analyze work from 4 student samples for the given prompt. Students are asked to determine if it is complete, correct and then reflect on what they like or would improve for each student sample. I cannot remember if it was Wilham’s work or someone else that suggested the benefits of using sample work to learn from / see exemplars / ways to improve.

However, it was some experiences this week in Summer School that have led me to see there is value here. A student was struggling to the point of tears, them and me both. I was frustrated because I whole heartedly believed one-on-one was all that was needed to help this learner start moving forward. No. Nothing I said, drew or demonstrated worked.

So I went in this morning a bit early, pulled up what I thought the student would be working on today and began creating worked examples along with a couple of you-try problems each. Of the 4 skills/topics we worked on, 3 were VERY successful. I started each with a warm up including vocabulary – word and illustrated; an example for them to tell me what you see / notice; then a moment with the worked example – focusing on how each line was alike/different, what action did they take from line to line. I stood by with the you try for support, then allowed them a chance on their own for feedback before jumping in the lesson. The day went so much more smoothly and the student accomplished much more as well. It felt good, no tears today.

The examples that they struggled on involved graphing lines. I wonder if I had a few problems with graphs so they could see differences between each if that would have been beneficial? I also found if they student wrote out the information on paper, sketched graphs on paper, they were more successful in completing the questions correctly. Just because a problems is on screen, does not mean you cannot paper-pencil it!!! For this student, writing the information helped them process the question, I believe.

I see the benefits. However I wonder if there are certain learners who benefit more from the structure of worked examples? I plan to utilize these with my collaborative section especially. I feel for ILP and ELL that having these concrete examples can provide a starting point in their work.

How do you implement worked examples in to your instructional practices? What successes / improvement have you seen and made a long the way?

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