As you can see by the title of this post I am a bit conflicted on what I want to title my new math project...for now I'm going with Math Circles because the idea stemmed from Literature Circles.
So here was/is my dilemma. I spend the majority of my time during math class having discussions about the videos the students watched the previous night. I do think this is valuable, but I want my students to take more ownership in this part of their learning. That being said, if I just told my 5th graders to go off & start sharing, they would either:
A - look at me like I'm nuts
B - head off to discuss many things (very few being math related)
Since I want neither of those things, I needed to find a way to make their group work both meaningful and spelled out for them.
What I came up with was Math Circles. I have had success in the past using Literature Circles in my classroom. Each student had a job, and they held each other accountable. That is exactly what I want for my math kiddos as well, so why not take the idea of Lit. Circles and mold it into something that works for math. After talking to my co-teacher, we came up with the following "jobs" for our math groups:
Discussion Director - Leads the discussion and keeps everyone on track.
Calculator - Makes sure that the groups answers to the questions from the video are actually correct.
Spokesperson - Is the voice of the group. This person summarizes the groups guiding questions (HOT question at the end of the video) and shares them with the teacher.
I have a list of procedures spelled out for the groups.
I plan on beginning this after spring break with the students. I hope they get as excited as I am (although that's unlikely because I'm pretty dang excited about it).
I'm not one to pimp my own stuff, but if you'd like a copy of my Math Circles information, you can get it here.