Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday

This year our administration has been doing weekly walk throughs in our classrooms.  It was a bit stressful in the beginning simply because I was not accustomed to having an audience so often.  Now that it has become art of my normal, I appreciate having the feedback on a regular basis.

During one of my observations it was brought to my attention that I tend to save all my higher level questions for the end of my lesson.  We had a good long discussion about it afterward and I was reminded to not ever take the thinking away the students.  I'll admit this threw me for a loop with math.  Didn't I need to spoon feed them just a little bit in the beginning?

I began to really plan for higher level questioning throughout my lessons.  When it came time to teach distributive property, I started the lesson by having my students work in small groups to complete a Sort.  In this sort students were to match the two equivalent expressions that represented the distributive property.

(Click on the picture to find these on TPT)

At first the only directions I gave them were to find the matches.

They struggled.  Oh how they struggled.

After some time of letting them struggle and talk through it I gave them a little hint.

"Matches will include one card with parentheses and one card without parentheses."

They still struggled with it but they began to figure it out.  My teacher heart nearly exploded with happiness at the math conversations that were taking place in my classroom.

My students discovered the distributive property on their own.  They were able to share their discoveries with one another and lead the lesson.  They did all the work.

It was one off those beautiful moments that you wish happened every day.

I instantly fell in love with using Sorts as a way to introduce new concepts.  They are no longer used  just as a station activity.  Sorts put all the thinking on the students.