For the last few years our school board has had money for PD and it's focus has been Math.
Math has gone from primarily paper and pencil to more of a "hands on" approach. Well, like everything in life, I believe all things in moderation. I would agree offering an alternative to paper and pencil has benefits for all students and allows students who are visual and tactile learners to break down questions, giving them a starting place. For some students paper and pencil is where their comfort zone is and to take this away from them is not offering differentiated instruction to all.
Math questions have also gone through some changes over the years, from closed and definite to open ended questions with multiple entry levels and answers. Thinking has shifted from getting an answer "right" to what was the "process" used.
With these changes comes changes to the way we teach math and how our uninterrupted 60 minute math block should look. With all the professional development over the years I have come up with what works in my classroom.
Each grade three class has been given a question from a previous EQAO test. I introduced the question the other day to the students and allowed them to use anything they wanted to in the classroom to answer the question. I should have you know that the students are aware of our math manipulatives and use them often enough to know what they would have access too. So with no suggestions from me these are some of the things they came up with.
A lot of the students like to use chart paper when working on open ended math questions, it gives them room to work, and when using smelly markers on the floor they are less afraid to make mistakes, like they are in their workbooks.
Snap cubes were a choice.
Some asked for calendars to be printed out.
When examining the three part Math block, all aspects of the block depend on each other. Students need some modelling to understand where to start. They need step by step modelling of how to see the important information inside a question. Next, "hands on" time to try a variety of ways to solve questions, using manipulatives that are at their finger tips. Finally, is the sharing of what they have done. Students learn from explaining their work to other students, and showing their different approaches. I can't tell you how many times in a week, a student has chosen a way or a tool that I have not thought of. We accept that children learn in different ways, and we differentiate our lessons to provide an education to all. Allowing the student to become the teacher and explain their thinking to others has been so beneficial.
I tell my students daily how much I learn from them. That they are the true teachers.
I call them my pro's.
Here is last week's "Tweet Student of the Week" board.
Great Job Hailey!
Looking forward to Valentine's Day.....
I will be using this package that the kids loved last year
and this keepsake freebie for their Valentine's
Here is what I decided to make for the students for Valentines Day.
I am so excited to give them on Friday. :)
Have a Great Week!