Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Charting in Math

The #1stchat group on Twitter has been reading Math Exchanges by Kassia Omonhundro Wedekind, (@kassiaowedekind). A recent discussion made me think about how we work to capture student thinking and use it to support learners in our classrooms. During our chat, I posted some charts from a recent geometry unit. Most of them were reference charts, used as a holding place for new information on plane and solid figures. Nice, but not really the daily working charts that move student thinking forward.

I took some new photos of our recent work. The Benchmark, MA.1.A.6.1 (Use mathematical reasoning and beginning understanding of tens and ones, including the use of invented strategies, to solve two-digit addition and subtraction problems) has lead to some great thinking from the students.

Chart with Benchmark
The challenge with charting is to record what the child says about how they solved the problem and represent it in a way that makes sense to the other students.

Math is taught in the workshop model of Launch (opening), Explore (work period) followed by the Summarize (closing). One can see from the various charts how we scaffold the closing, building from less mature to more efficient strategies. As time goes on the students are developing more mature strategies, relying less on counting on their fingers. Eventually they will have a bank of student-generated efficient strategies.

Chart with Student Generated Strategies

Decomposing Chart

Breaking Apart 8, 10, and 20

The student work, and the charts, grow and change over the unit. Charts are retired when they no longer reflects the new student learning. Our current work reflects the new strategies taught to the class by...the students! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

...and now we begin

Welcome to my new blog: Teaching with Design!

Design has always been important to me. Artists, architects, chefs and many other professions use design to create new products. Teaching, like these other professions, require practitioners to be the artists as they design new lessons, create new units, and build the foundations to structure new learning. I think it is the very purposeful manner, the design, a teacher uses that produce the difference in student learning. The planning and prep done beforehand all make the delivery of the lesson successful.

Design has been defined as follows:

(noun) a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints;
(verb, transitive) to create a design, in an environment (where the designer operates)[3]

Future posts will focus on specific aspects of design in the classroom, such as the environment and designing guided reading lessons. Hope you will come back and watch our classroom grow. Please don't hesitate to give suggestions and leave comments.