Our #ppschats the past few weeks have brought some a-has and good reminders for me. Here are a few adjustments I am trying to mindful of:
1. When students are working in small groups, I have often jumped in to their conversation when I heard them going in the wrong direction. Of course, my intentions may have been to redirect them.
Needed adjustment: Be silent and listen. Giving them space to muddle through their own thinking without jumping in and telling them what I think they should think. A key for me may be to keep my tablet, clipboard, post-its to jot down notes of their conversation. Key points to reference back to later. Jot down questions I might like to ask. Not sure when to ask /share, maybe as a quick revisit before the end of class?
2. In my efforts to “value” what a student shares, I often find myself repeating. Afterall, those softspoken students need to be heard, so I repeat it so classmates across the room “hear” them. Oh, no.
Needed adjustment: Ask student to speak up so others can hear. If they are intimidated, offer an encouraging word, let them know you like it, find it interesting or you want others to hear it. When I repeat, I am causing others to not listen because they know I’m going to repeat. Oh, my. Guilty. Who knew? What are ways you create a listening community of students?
3. I may ask for volunteers and the same 8 people are sharing. Spread the love.
Needed adjustment: I tried to be very purposeful in sharing this week. In geometry, I picked a problem several seemed to have trouble with. I structured the task with Know: what information is given, Notice: what do I notice about the diagram? Other information I can use to move me further? Wonder: What other measures can I determine? How can I justify my reasoning?
Students took couple of minutes individually, to jot down a couple of things in each bullet, then in their groups of 3 to discuss. I asked each group to pick 1 thing they felt was important to share. Yep. Good ol’ Think-Pair-Share. As I went around to groups, I arrived at one who said…they already shared ours, so I used the suggestion from PPS to +1 on the board. It seemed that others were really listening to what was being said.
A win in class today as I gave students a diagram with no questions. They noticed/wondered and it was a statement from a student that 2 chords were congruent. When I asked them to convinece me…their statement was quite fuzzy ending with “it just seems like they would be.” I challenged the others to prove or dispute the statement…
“Oh yea” high fives, “we got it!” & “you’re genius!” Students celebrating something they hadn’t seen before.
What was even better, the way they justified their reasoning…all different, not one that I had seen myself. And that is why I don’t care for the answer key as the answer key. Students sharing their strategy and each confirming the others. Hearing them say ‘that’s cool’ to another student’s strategy. Engaged while looking at a different approach. I truly feel the take aways from a single problem approached this way is valuable. It was a productive day.