Friday, July 26, 2013

Minds on Math Chapter 8 - Work TIme

Ward Hoffer starts this chapter with planning.  One of the things that needs to be planned is differentiation and honestly, I need to work on this.  I'm good about differentiating content, and sometimes process, but I rarely differentiate product.  I think it's easy to differentiate product in just about every other subject, but I struggle with this in the math classroom.  Part of me struggles with it conceptually another part of me struggles with the management of it.  When we give a test in math, there's an answer key and we go about grading the test.  When students are allowed to show different forms of mastery, it makes evaluating the mastery much more difficult.    

When it comes to the students and what they are doing, Ward Hoffer is clear, we must be explicit in our expectations (do you see a pattern yet?).  In explaining the benefits of this, Ward Hoffer writes "you have so effectively established and conveyed purpose to them during your opening, explained the connection between purpose and the task during the transition to work time, that they remain continuously conscious of why they are doing what they have been asked to do."  

During work time, it's the teacher's job to promote thinking, gather data and troubleshoot.  I love the Ward Hoffer's use of the term "troubleshoot".  So much of what we do is troubleshooting!  I found Ward Hoffers list of questions to use when students are "stuck" especially helpful.  These can help students without rescuing them (something I think I do too often because I'm worried that they have to "get it" before the bell rings!).

The thing I love about workshop is that most of the time the students are "working".  I was reminded of how important this is this week when I was driving with my daughter (who just got her license yesterday!).  She said, "mom, it's so much easier to know how to get someplace after I've driven it myself instead of sitting in the passenger seat."  Yes, it is easier after you've done it yourself, whether that be driving the car or working a math problem!

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