If any of you follow me on my blog over at The Teacher Studio, you know that math is one of my passions. I love to teach math. Do math. Learn about math. I take it very personally when my students come in NOT liking math--and I take it as my mission to change their minds!
One thing that I think is SO important about math is that students need to be explicitly taught some of the "behaviors" needed to be successful mathematicians! Whether this be a willingness to persevere and "give it a try", an ability to organize one's work, the careful "proofreading" of their math, or even knowing when and what tools/resources to use--math "behaviors" can really open the door to success for students who, previously, didn't think they could do it.
One thing that I know to be true is that students will rise to the occasion if the expectations are reasonable, clear, and modeled. I love to have my students begin to recognize quality work, effort, creative solutions, and organization--so I put them in situations to see other students' work all the time. We work collaboratively DAILY, and we often pause to share out things we notice. You will often hear me ask questions like...
"What impressed you with your group's work today?"
"What were some things that you noticed that you didn't think of doing yourself--but might in the future?"
"What did some of your group members do to organize their work?"
"How focused was your group? How could you tell?"
"Did anyone in your group get stuck? How did you handle it?"
What I love about focusing on these math "behaviors" is that ALL students can be successful--even if their math skills aren't the strongest. In fact, some of my students with the BEST math behaviors are NOT the best math students...but as the year has gone on, their skills have improved for a few reasons.
1. Their focus and effort contributes to learning.
2. They recognize that in my class, I value these "Real World" skills as much as correct or "fast" answers.
3. The positive affirmations from their peers are motivating.
4. Having their work recognized for quality builds confidence and active participation.
So...I thought I'd share some snapshots from a few recent problem solving experiences!
|He was SO proud that he discovered a pattern with one of our "perseverance problems"--problems I always have hanging in an anchor chart for math workshop. He was SO proud of his poster--and the other students ooh'ed and aaah'ed appropriately!|
So there you have it! Put your students in positions where they are challenged--but help them recognize that getting the right answer is only part of being a mathematician! Interested in trying one of these problems with YOUR class? I have one available in a freebie if you would like...or a much larger set if you want to really dig in! Thanks for stopping by--and have a wonderful week!
|The full resource...problems, poster headers, suggestions for use, and more!|
Follow me on...