Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Let's Chat About Math: When Choice Leads to Extension of Learning and Some Cool Ideas.

I don't have any graphics to lead with tonight.
I'm not linking up anywhere.

I just watched something amazing happen today.  And I had to write about it!

Today in math, we were explored finding landmarks with various sets of data.  We've also been exploring the number grid at length and 2 digit addition and subtraction.

I've blogged about choice in math here.
It's been a process.  Sometimes I've loved having a choice board in math and all the math angels were singing and all was right in the world.  If we're being honest, sometimes I wanted to just teach what was on the page in the manual and play it safe.  But in my heart of hearts, I knew the kids deserved better.  So I pressed on and asked for more.  Even when it's messy.  Even when it's hard.

So, today brought some confirmation of what I had been working for.  I happened to be catching up on a lesson, and had some time to just observe.  Here's what I saw:

Above:  Our original conversation.  Creating a bar graph.  Finding Landmarks.  

This friend is making a new graph.  He wanted desperately to use his full name instead of a nickname.  Once he learned how to spell it, he knew that using his full name would change our landmarks.  So he's creating a new graph and will work on finding the new landmarks.  

These 3 friends?  They caught onto a math activity I assigned a couple of days ago.  I asked them to count by 10s starting with 7.  It was meant to be a 5-7 minute activity.  They are well into the thousands at this point.  They aren't into writing on a number scroll (numbers by 1) so much, but they are definitely into counting by 10s, and working to see how high they can count this way.  One friend set a goal of 10,000.  

These are all activities designed by Tiny Mathematicians who need extension.  None of these activities were on my choice board.  I met with this group yesterday.  We had a lesson on rounding.  It was great.  But the work they design for themselves is amazing.  In #1stchat on Sunday night on Twitter, Kathy Sather said it best.  The kids have "an affection for math."  Isn't that the best visual of math you've ever had?!?!  

The message here?  Try some choice.  Trust the students.  It's amazing what they will show you if you let them.  This is so new for me.  I always dictated the rotations and activities.  It was fine.  It was terrifying to jump in and let the kids choose.  But I would never go back at this point.  Is it loud?  Sometimes.  Is it messy?  Usually.  

(Also, I sense a blog mini-series coming up.  What about students who need readiness activities?  What about kids who need core instruction?  Does this really work?!?!)  

What is going well for you in math?

Stay tuned Friends.  Have a great week.  


1 comment:

  1. I think choice should drive so much of our instruction in the classroom. It is the difference between activities being "school" activities, and life lessons. Kids are invested when they have voice and choice. Thanks for sharing!