Friday, September 20, 2013

Phronesis? (Using Tools Strategically)

I was preparing a lesson on representing data with dot plots and box plots. The goal was to help students recognize the pros & cons of each type of visual display, among other things (like simply making sure everyone knew how to construct one).

But it turned into something more powerful, at least for a moment, and I thought I would share that moment with you via this post.

The lesson also built off the previous session where we had used "MAD Minute" type tasks to generate data. You know, like these:

Lots of kids are good at those. I was good at them. Many of my preservice elementary teacher students said they loved them too. "Oh man, I loved doing these!" But you didn't love them if you weren't good at them. And we had that discussion: For some kids, these high-stakes timed worksheets were sources of extreme anxiety.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I'm not grading this

I asked my students to turn in a draft of the Cheesecake Task last week. But when I sat down this weekend to prepare to write feedback on their tasks, I hit a snag. Simply put, the work was not good, but their self-evaluations were off the charts high. How could this be?

 Before I started inking comments, I decided to sort the stack into two piles:

Pile one: Almost got it, needs minimal feedback. 
Pile two: Needs a lot of work (and lots of feedback).

Pile one had 5 papers in it. Pile two had 19.


Monday, September 2, 2013

A Planning Post

I have had many conversations with preservice teachers about what it looks like when an experienced teacher plans a lesson. I suspect we all approach it differently, but I had a really nice lesson the other day that I wanted to understand better. So I decided to kill two birds with one post: in writing up my planning efforts, hopefully I can help some of my newest colleagues understand something about lesson planning while also coming to a better understanding of why that particular lesson "worked". So, here's what lesson planning sometimes looks like for me: