Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Math update

So I started our math circles with my class yesterday and I was really excited about how it went.  If you missed that post, click here.  The kids were engaged when we were talking about the different jobs, and they liked that they all got to pick their jobs.  We also got an opportunity to begin the night's homework, so everyone had a head start.  I was nervously anticipating the next day when we would be able to put our math circles into action.

Today was that day.  We did a very guided type of math circle, where the students all did their responsibilities in their group, but I led them through the discussion steps.

I wanted to share a few really cool things that happened during this time:

1) All students (even the ones who quizzed out of this learning goal) participated in the discussions.
2) Almost all students did their homework.
3) Many of the students had to step up and become a leader, or their group went down the drain...and they did (become leaders, I mean).
4) After the discussions were done, the students got a chance to work on their practice problems.

Here's where things got really interesting.  I had a large amount of students who didn't need to do the practice problems because they already quizzed out of the next unit.  I know students do best when you give them choices, so they had a whole bunch of choices.
  • Do the back side of the practice problems (review problems)...surprisingly, I did have a few that wanted to do this.
  • Make a short example video of how to solve problems that are the same as our learning goal

  • Work out of the 6th grade book (similar topic, slightly harder).

  • Help other students if they were stuck.

I was pleasantly surprised by how many different students chose different things.  I will continue to keep you updated on all this as I learn...

On a final note, I also had a student who was absent today.  Her group attempted to record their entire discussion because they didn't want her to miss out...unfortunately, they hit stop, not record, and the lesson didn't work :(  However, I love the idea, and I'll work with the next group with an absent kid so that we don't have that problem again.

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