Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Observations from today

I've had two classes work through the problems I gave them. Again, for each set of 3 problems, they got to choose whether they wanted to do two easier problems or one harder.  It's been really interesting to see how they approach it!


  • The pairs are working well together. I let them choose who to sit by and at this point most kids have "someone".  In one class I had two individuals that I suggested move next to each other. They did, and although I didn't see them really working together, I did overhear one asking another for advice.  So that works.
  • To encourage the pairs, I moved my desks around. I normally have my room arranged in 6 tables of 4 or 5, but I wanted this to be a "pair" thing instead of a "group" thing.  Not only did I separate pairs out, but I have them facing a different side of the room. Oh the commotion that's caused today!  It's funny; some kids really like the pairs in a more row-like feel. Some hate it. But it's always nice to switch things up!
  • Most pairs are going straight to the 3-point question to decide if it's doable. And most are tackling it!  I thought that they would read it and go back to the 1- and 2-pointers. I'm happy to be wrong! 
  • Very few pairs have finished their problems, but I don't want them work outside of class individually or with other people (or.. not that they would do this... copy from someone else who had completed the problem).  So I collected the packets back and told them I'd give them time tomorrow to work. At this point in the year I'm used to everything in this class taking 2 - 3 times longer than I anticipate.
  • Students are really stepping up on these problems. Some of these kids I anticipated, but some I've been really impressed with. These students are thinking harder and better (if that makes sense) than I've seen all year.  I made a point to tell my classes that a lot of these problems came from an Honors Precalculus packet and that I was proud of how well they'd been doing with them.
  • I love the idea of giving them choice. Is it feasible for every day? Considering the time it took me to pick problems and sort them into categories and point values, no. But I need to make a point to do it more often.  I'll add that to my list of things I need to do... and maybe someday I'll accomplish them all.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kristen,

    I really enjoyed reading this post! As an aspiring teacher myself, I really envision my classroom to be a place where students feel like they have a choice. Too often, students don't have the option to really "choose" what they want to do and rather have to do something because they have to. I think what you are doing is a great half-way point and it really encourages students to complete the problems of their choice.

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