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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 5: "I think I would rather do Math"

Setting Up Group Work
Had each class brainstorm on what they DON’T like to see or do when working in a group. Then we brainstormed what we DO want to see or have people do when working in a group. I made my first interactive notebook insert based on Jo Boalers skeptic framework on it: 
1. Convince yourself
2. Convince a friend
3. Convince a skeptic

Building Shapes
In this activity students build different shapes and have to justify their answer. Students have to struggle and work together and it’s a great way to set up the rest of the year.  I get to play the role of a skeptic, which was more fun than I thought it would be. Pretending I don’t know what a square is and having the kids come up with their explanation is priceless. My favorite one is when one group told me “it is a square because we have been told our whole life it is a square.” It’s amazing how the group will learn how to justify their reasoning. It’s also great opportunity to talk about that being a skeptic is a good thing, especially with all the FAKE NEWS! It’s all great for kids to have their own ideas challenged in a respectful way.

Being Patient
I have to say I am super excited that I am allowing more than one day or however long it takes to complete a task. When doing the four 4’s students where almost finished to 20 and we have spent 10 or 15 minutes of class time for the last 4 days on it. Also kids are seeing other ways to solve the same problem, their getting out of their seat, and I just love the feel of class with activities like this.

Best Moment
My last class right before lunch had to go down and help set up to serve food as part of their class fundraising. Some of the kids said “I think I would rather do math” SCORE!!!!!! YES!!!!! So excited!

I wanted to talk about what was going in Charlottesville. I saw some math teachers on twitter saying there were going to do an inequality problem and say love is greater than hate. I decided I just wanted to talk to them and let them process what was going on. I was impressed with a lot of the students responses. I think we need to have open discussions about this and not be afraid to even talk about it with our students. 


  1. I am enjoying following the progress you are making with your students. Your classes sound fun, engaging and student-centered. Wouldn't this world be wonderful if, as your student pointed out, we all possessed an "overall Christ-like attitude!"

    Would you be able to clarify what you mean in your third sentence, "I made my first interactive notebook insert and also put the skeptic frame work on it."?

  2. So the Skeptic frame work is that you have the students learn to 1. prove it to them selves 2. prove it to a friend 3. then proof it to a Skeptic. This allows them to make sure they know how to defend their answer and allows for deeper thinking. It also is good because it sets up a mentality that it is ok to question other peoples answers and play the role of the skeptic.