#SlowMath First Day Message

What do you make sure your students take away from the first day of your class?

Our learning intention for the day: I can apply mathematical flexibility to show what I know using more than one method.

We used Jill’s learning progression so that students could self-assess where they were throughout the lesson.

Flexibility #LL2LU Gough

We started with Which One Doesn’t Belong.

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Students moved to the designated side of the room for their answer. Can you find more than one reason yours doesn’t belong? Can you find a reason top left doesn’t belong? Why can you say bottom left doesn’t belong?

We continued with a sequence for which there is more than one way to think about your response.

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I asked several students to discuss their responses with the class. After one student explained her rule, I asked other students to give the next number in the sequence using the first student’s rule. When I asked NA what the next number in a particular sequence was, she hesitated for just a moment. She looked at her calculator and then she looked back at me. I could tell she didn’t want to use the calculator, but I could also tell she wanted a second to think about her response. I stopped the whole class, looked at NA, and said, “We are not in a hurry. Take as long as you need to think before you answer.”

Every time I teach I have to Ease the Hurry Syndrome. Of course we could “do more” if we could go faster. But doing more and going faster isn’t what my students need. My students need me to carefully select which learning episodes (tasks, questions, interactions) will maximize learning. My students need me to give them time to think and time to learn and time to share.

Our students responded to two prompts after class.

During the first day of class, I learned …

  • I learned that I can solve problems in many different ways. I also learned that I need to have an open mind this year during math.
  • I learned the importance of thinking outside the box and how their could be multiple ways to answer a question. For example with the question that asked which shaped didn’t belong. All of the answer choices had reasons as to why they didn’t necessary belong.
  • I learned that math is a much bigger subject than I thought, and that anyone could be good at math.

This year in geometry I will …

  • do my best to not be discouraged when it’s hard but instead work hard with an open mind set to learn the material.
  • I will do my very best to succeed in Geometry and form a better explanation for my answers.
  • Learn how to make my math skills better and see things that I wouldn’t usually discover.

Our message seems to have been heard: We want to show what we know using more than one method, and we can often add to what we know by listening to and learning from each other.

I look forward to a good year enjoying lots of #SlowMath lessons.

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