Monday, September 24, 2012

Attempting the WSQ

My plan for the beginning of the year has been simple...lots of hand holding.  I plan on having my students complete WSQ's to go along with all of our math videos.  I anticipated that it would be difficult, which is why we are doing pretty much everything as a group.  Up until now, we have watched the videos together, written summaries together and asked our questions together.  What I have found so far is that writing summaries about math is HARD!

The kids want to show a problem, and then show the solution.  That's not a summary (at least not in my book).  I have given the students some guidelines about what should be included in a complete summary.  They are as follows:

  • 1 sentence that introduces the topic - This is definitely NOT difficult.  My videos always start out with our learning objectives, and all they have to do is restate it.
  • 1-3 sentences explaining the vocabulary - Again, this isn't very difficult.  The only challenging part is that the students are being asked to explain the vocabulary in their own words, no copying straight from their notes.
  • 5-10 sentences that explain the main points of the vides - This is VERY hard.  My advice to the kids is to try write it as if you're explaining it to a 4th grader (I have 5th graders).  They can use examples to help them explain themselves, but their explanation has to be more than just solving the problem.  I've recommended them using time order words to help them out.  First....Then..., etc.
  • The final part of their summary is the students coming up with an example problem of their own. I want them to use these when they make student made videos in the future, but we're not there yet.
After chatting on Twitter with the infamous Crystal Kirch, she recommended that I use some guiding questions for the kids to answer in their summary, rather than it be a straight up open summary.  I like the idea (add it my ever expanding list of things to do), and I do think it will help give the kids some focus.  So I sat down this weekend to develop some guiding questions for my next unit.  I've got a grid below that breaks down how I'm going to assign things next unit, as well as the guiding questions I have.  Hopefully it helps, because right now the kids are floundering :(

I'd love some feedback on what you've been trying, and whether you've had success incorporating more deep thinking into math.

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