Better Questioning with Gradual Release

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I believed myself set. My bookmarks linked up to plenty of 3 Act tasks. I worked them regularly into my classroom. But, how were those tasks getting launched? This question was not one that I thought about much. Students were engaged and exploring mathematics. Then, I watched Steve Leinwand roll out a task and I was sent back to the drawing board. Where? In the questions.

Take time getting to that big question that students are going to chew on. What do you notice? Get them involved! What do you wonder? Get students looking for questions and thinking about possibilities. Can you let us know why you are thinking …? Throughout this process students support their statements. “I notice that the objects are 3-dimensional.” what do you mean by that? These probing questions help students clarify their thinking while also allowing me to gain a better feel for background information. Looking back, I can think of numerous instances where the “word” that I was “searching” for was provided and I never questioned if the student had any idea what that term actually meant.

Gradually releasing a task requires a bit more of a set-up. I’m still trying to work out how much to provide at once as the task is unveiled. At the same time, it’s always possible that we will take a left turn at some point based upon what the students come up with and that’s ok. It takes more time to set students off on the task but an incredible amount of information can be collected and when students finally get going they are primed and seem to have a stronger understanding of the context and that big, meaty question.

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MSIS #2 – Day 1

a random assortment of items through the day…

What are people doing from last time that is working

  • I notice, I wonder…
  • Problem solving
  • Using models
  • Students talking
  • Slowly opening up problems

Big ideas of mathematics: language of quantity, change, shape, dimension, chance

Goal: build students depth of understanding and comfort in these areas through discourse

Through: multiple representations

The 10% perspective

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Pedagogical decision – when a student provides a response, how much do you want to push? How far will you continue to going along the path of their thoughts?

Book Title: The Problem with Math is English

Number Talks: 2 + 2 + 2 + 10 + 10 +10

  • How did you work with the 10s? Did you add or group? Then, what did you do with the 2s?

 

Domain: Operations & Algebraic Thinking

Cluster: Understanding addition and subtraction 

?How does this relate to number sense?

**Progression is by age, not grade.

What are the representations? How are we putting together and taking apart?

  • preK – exploring addition and subtraction with fingers and objects. Decomposing quantity (less than or equal to 5, then to 10) into pairs in more than one way (using objects / drawings)
  • Grade 1 – using objects, drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number
  • add to / take from / put together

Focus on word problems – explaining! Use the practices.

1.OA.6 First Grade!
Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as

  • counting on;
  • making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14);
  • decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9);
  • using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and
  • creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).

Progresses to 2.OA.2

Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies (what’s the picture that you see?). By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.

Where has the math been? fragmented, skill-driven, incoherent

Where are we going? fewer, deeper, examples & specificity (focus, rigor & clarity)

Why would I subtract when I can add-on?

Take home quote of the day – don’t stop pushing for student thought.

“If a student answers in the way that you were thinking, it should not keep you from asking did anyone do it differently?”

Fav -Class Start

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A favorite is when students walked into class and immediately began thinking and talking about mathematics. This year, I decided to kick-off the start of each class with a rotation touching on the mathematical practices. Tied to the current unit? Maybe, but not necessarily.

How much time? Well, it’s slowly been increasing as connections back to past or current topics become more apparent (funny how this increases the more it is practiced). Perfected? Nope, some days are magical and others not so much.

The Rotation

  • Monday – Graphing Stories
  • Tuesday – Visual Patterns
  • Wednesday – Estimation 180
  • Thursday – Math Talks
  • Friday – Reflection

The schedule at my school pretends to be a block (class length ranges from 60 to 80 minutes). So, I see students for math every other day and it takes two weeks to get through a rotation.

This post is a bit long as I attempt to lay out the flow of how these warm-ups take place. The first three days have a pretty good feel to them. Thursday Math Talks are the newest for me and need the most work. Friday Reflections seem a bit standard and good likely use an injection of inspiration. All of the days are a work in progress and have changed since the year began. With that in mind, any feedback on how to improve or suggestions to try is greatly appreciated.

Monday – Graphing Stories

A big thanks to Dan Meyer and others who put this project together. This awesome site has a collection of 15 second videos of an action. Students graph the action.

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Students come in and open their notebooks to the graphing story page. First, a quick What do you notice? What do you wonder? Then, what action do you think we will be graphing?  Time is always on the horizontal axis and we discuss what will be on the vertical axis and what units will be likely. Funny, how often this is prefaced with a reminder that most videos were created in the States. Yep, that means “feet”.

Begin watching. The videos are set up to run once (15 seconds) at normal speed and then again at half speed before providing a solution. We watch the normal and the half. Stop.

Students talk for 3-5 minutes in their table groups, come up with a “sketch” of the graph and determine areas of focus for the next viewing. They know that we will again watch the half speed section. At the end of this time, students share out. This has varied:

  • What do you notice? I’ve recently begun adding this in to the graphing stories. Students often struggle with the y-intercept. Where does the graph start? Before, this came out through groans as the solution was presented or by individual checks. Adding this step of each table sharing one “notice” brings it out from the students.
  • What do you wonder? This is the focus that students will have for their second viewing. I like shifting to this question versus “What will you look for?” as it feels as if the question opens the frame for students. Again, each table group shares out and if we get repeats, great.

Rewatch the half speed segment.

2 minutes – get a line on your graph. They are free to chat but after a quick burst, the class often gets quiet.

A few solutions – a couple of volunteers come up to the SmartBoard to put down their graphs. Three colors is the max for this. When we play the final moments of the video, the solution is drawn between the student lines.

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Solution – Students use a different color to draw in the solution to distinguish from their own.

That’s it. Unless, and this is when magic begins, the students don’t agree with the solution. We go down that lane. Talk it up. Convince us that your solution is a better description of the action.

Tuesday – Visual Patterns 

A big thanks to Fawn Nguyen and others for putting together this awesome site of patterns! There are many patterns and some great ideas to get going. For this, I like to print out a copy of the pattern for each student. They mark the sheet up!

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Students get the page into their notebook and begin working. Talk at the beginning is often minimal as students process the pattern on their own. The talk steadily builds as they make progress and start trying out ideas. I ask them to draw in the next figure as well as what could possibly be Figure 0.

One of the goals of this activity is for students to work in multiple representations to build connections between graphs, tables and equations while also reinforcing skills such as table set-up and graph design. Wait, the scale has to have an equal increment? 

The various ways that students approach patterns is fascinating. The check provided on the patterns page is Pattern #43. When two students reach a solution but have different equations it’s great hearing them talk when asked, do you have the same equation as G? They get down to it, break apart their solutions, talk about equations and then realize that yes, they have similar equations.

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For the 7th graders, the concept of variable is still developing for many and having this ongoing, yearly work with variable slowly builds familiarity. At the end of the first semester, most are now comfortable with having “n” placed into their table after the first few numbers (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, n).

This warm-up is a bit more time intensive. Students work at their own pace as some can quickly see patterns and others take more time to get started and make various representations. Some need hints though a nice thing about having this on a regular cycle is that students have other patterns to refer back to. They are also increasing their ability to recognize patterns.

Wednesday – Estimation 180

Another big thanks to those putting out amazing resources for the math community. This time, it’s to Andrew Stadel for the Estimation180 site. This began as a quick warm-up activity. Students came in to see the image on the screen and quickly start thinking about their estimates. As with the other “warm-ups,” the value of estimations as a doorway to lots of math creeped in more and more now it takes a solid block. The presentation is a bit different as well:

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  1. Bring in the What do you notice? What do you wonder? framework. We start slowly. Students see the image and we talk about the things we notice. Then, what do you wonder? This is starting to edge us closer to the estimation.
  2. The next question for the students – What do you think we will be estimating today? Most of the time, this question has already come up though a curve ball was recently thrown to them as I worked in negative numbers.
  3. Now, we get into the estimation framework – What’s an estimate that you think is too high?   What’s an estimate that you think is too low?   Students are off and thinking. Our focus on the too high / too low is to begin developing a range of their estimates. “What is reasonable for you? How is your confidence of the estimation related to the range of your too high/too low?”
  4. We share with lots of questions. This is a great opportunity to review. “Explain how you got to that point…What does that mean?” Now, as a class we have a range. Sometimes it’s quite wide and others fairly tight.
  5. A few more minutes for students to get their just right estimate.
  6. We share and talk some more with students giving explanations as to how they arrived at their estimate.
  7. Show the actual amount to (often) cheers and (sometimes) groans.

Thursday – Math Talks

 

This is the “day” where I would love feedback. My goal is to get students talking. I want students to realize the difference in the ways each other think. I like that students are opened up to different ways of solving problems.

A few resources that I’m looking at:

I’m not quite sure what happens on Thursday and I’m afraid to say that we often hop into other activities without having a good number talk. Again, suggestions…

Friday – Reflection

Students need time to look back over their math and think about their progress. Reflections are used to also strengthen the connection to the mathematical practices. Questions may revolve around a problem of the week and asks students to write about a mathematical practice they used. This is also a bit in development and suggestions would be great!

 

One good thing – student thoughts

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“…you cannot give up and that if a prototype fails, you don’t just throw it away and try again, you need to analyze it, figure out what you did wrong, how you can fix it, and THEN do it again!”

“it was a lot harder than I expected because a little measurement mistake could mean a lot of chance.”

“from this real-life experience I learned that things won’t always go my way when planning something with specific requirements, so there’d be a lot of trial and error and it won’t be that easy.”

“modelling is an important skill in not only math but also in our lives to double check.”

“I thought it would be much easier than it actually was to find the correct measurements and final volume.”

“I learned to not think so easily of something and take everything as a learning opportunity.”

“My brain was telling me to stop but my heart wouldn’t let me.”

Reading the thoughts of students is always a good thing.

Day in the Life…(round 2)

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4:00 am – A vibration on my wrist surprises me awake. I just received a new watch (thanks to the awesome teacher who brought it back from the States for me!) and was wondering how the alarm would function. No more ding ding ding – just a little wrist vibration.

4:00:32 – Pooch is already nosing at me. She wants to head down and go outside. Alright, let’s get the day going.

4:05 – begin planning for my science class today. A new unit on the changing surface of the Earth is starting. Check out cool Google Timelapse imagery. How does the Earth’s surface change over time? What are quick, abrupt changes? What changes take a long time? What are constructive processes? Destructive process? What will the students already know when they walk in today?

4:23 – It’s cold. Down to the basement to see the ever present error on the boiler. Recharge the system so that the heat will turn back on.

5:00 Check school email – response from a parent. OK

5:05 – Hop onto twitter to check out the current NCTM Principle’s to Action slow chat. Add a tweet, check out a link. Anything else out there on #MTBOS / NGSS?

5:15 Get the coffee brewing, prepare snacks for the girls, get lunch packed for me & the wife

5:30 Wake up time for my sweetie and one of the best parts of the day. A half hour of just sitting and chatting with a cup of coffee.

– Is that a little girl upstairs?  “Doggie! Doggie!” she cries out. I run upstairs, and manage to get Thing 2 back down to sleep. Whew

6:00 Race up stairs and grab some clothes for the day. Get on running clothes and warm outwear.  Put school bag and lunch in the tuk tuk. Start running to school. Wow! It’s freezing this morning. I think my beard is collecting icicles and it’s a short run. Running in the dark in China is a bit crazy. Some scooters have lights. Others do not. Most are electric – silent death. The silhouette tuk tuk – no lights but is back light by traffic in the next lane over. I dodge a food cart vendor moving along without lights. What is he doing up so early?

tuk tuk

Our stylish tuk tuk – spray painted by a student

6:25 Changed and jumping in to the school pool. Yay! The water temperature is up! Thanks to the great teacher who puts up a workout for the bunch of crazies who show up in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays to swim.

7:00 Out of the pool. Shower. Wow! Someone should check out the boiler here. Is there an error message? The water is freezing.

7:10 Meet my sweetie – it’s awesome that she also works at my school – who just rolls in on the tuk tuk. Get school bag with breakfast and clothes. Change. Eat. Get ready for the day.

8:05 Quickly head over to the PreK-3 classroom to say good morning to the girls. It’s a calmer morning when they sleep in but I hate not seeing them before I leave home.

8:15 Mentoring kicks the day off (Homeroom). “Hey, Mr. Frank your beard looks extra furry,” says a student who missed the first day back. Locker clean-out: we’re trying to start the semester on a new note. Out with the smells!

8:30 Science class & seeking previous understanding. Individual sketch time. Table talk. Collaborative class sketch. Questions. Online exploration. Exit Note – making a strong commitment to do these each class. The window into student minds is revealing.

10:00 Break time

10:15 – 10:45 Observe another teacher’s math class.

10:45 – 11:30 Emails & Team Leader business – set up quarterly assembly and awards. Respond to student issue.

11:30 – 12:25 Math Lab – hmmm. First day of class and no students. Maybe this will change as the quarter progresses. Spent the time working on math rubrics.

12:15 – 12:45 Lunch duty

12:45 – 1:05 Lunch

1:10 – 2:00 Math team meeting

2 – 3:20 Science class #2 – Same lesson though the last class felt a bit lackluster and there was too much time with the web exploration. I added in a table group whiteboard session. Students made individual models and then the table group combined for a model. After a period of time, students got up and visited other whiteboards for take-aways and critiques.

3:20 – 3:30 School paperwork

3:30 – 4:30 Plan for tomorrow / Awesome interruption. A colleague wandered in to talk about collaborating on a stream-table activity.

4:30 Pile into the tuk tuk for the trip home. Sounds of joy reach me as we enter the house. The girls are splashing around in the bath having a great time. I cook as they finish and do art, jump around, fight, sing and tell us about the day. We eat. Great recipe for corn bread if you like it…

Sweet Corn Bread

Recipe from Thrive

Makes 1 – 9×13 pan

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 85g butter, melted
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine egg yolks, milk, vanilla, and melted butter and stir.
  3. Mix in cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt – stirring to incorporate, but do not over mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold them into the batter.
  5. Pour into a greased 9×13 inch pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure it is cooked through.

 

7:30 Off to bed for the girls. A book is attempted though melt down happens. Aah, getting back into the swing of school after vacation is so tiring.

8:00 Walk the pooch – still freezing!

8:15 Wind down the evening. It’s going to be an early one tonight.

~Note: In November of 2012, I participated in a MTBoS writing task of describe a Day in the Life. I did not read it prior to writing this post as I wanted to see how different life is today. The girls were just a year and under a year. It seemed crazy then as well. Maybe it will settle down one day…

Time (January trial)

Time. That elusive yet constant part of our lives that often slips on by. Teachers (and likely most others) constantly say that the one thing we want more of is time. Time to plan. Time for feedback. Time for this and time for that. It’s constant, so how can I better work with it.

The hope with this post is to trial becoming a better scheduler. Yep, I’ve read multiple times that those folks that are truly effective take the time to plan out their schedules. Why haven’t I? I start to and then the sneaky feeling of a schedule running my life sneaks in and I abandon. It’s my schedule! I’m running it. So, I’m giving it another shot and am writing it down here to push myself through the three weeks of January. Does planning out the week give me benefits?

Blocks

I see myself having three large blocks: before school, during and after. Some of this time is set (classes and meetings) while others can be managed.

Juggle the commitments (not a priority list…)

  1. Family – Priority time for my wonderful wife and two crazy munchkins. They’ve hit 4 and want to play!
  2. Exercise – Will I get myself back to pre-ACL #2 condition? Who knows but unless I start moving nothing is going to happen. It’s almost been 1 year since the second diagnosis.
  3. Students – they need feedback
  4. Teacher Practice – I’ve committed to the MTBOS January blogging challenge as a way to revive my writing. Plus, I need to spend more time reflecting and also observing others.
  5. Science Meeting Time
  6. Math Meeting Time
  7. Classroom, paperwork & the catch-up – Whether or not I like it, this sneaks up on me. So, I’ll try to bundle it all in one place.
  8. Week Plan & Parents – Time is needed to plan out the following week. Also, I like to send out weekly emails to parents to let them know what is happening in class.
  9. Planning time – Ready or not, here they come. I better be planned.

A glance – early morning

Wake-Up Time: 4:00 am

Plan for the day: 4:15 – 5:15

Coffee prep and enjoyment with my sweetie and any little munchkin that swings on down the stairs. 5:15 – 6

6 – 7 on

  • MWF: Get ready / help get the girls going / breakfasts
  • TH: Masters’ Swim @ school

@ School

7:15 – 8:00 Class time / planning

8 – 3:20 School Day. My school has a wacky schedule. It runs off a 6-day cycle (the part I like about this is that I see students at different times of the day) and has different schedules on different days of the 5-day week. Each day, I have a full block off and an “enrichment” block as well. This time can be juggled and I’m using the following categories for the full block time:

  • Students x 2 (2 blocks to account for feedback, comments, etc.)
  • Teacher Practice – I’m making the commitment to write about my practice and to observe other teachers.
  • Self – It’s a balance right and I’m fortunate that my school understands the need to balance work with wellness. Why is it that  one of the first things schools “throw out” when funding/time is cut is PE and one of the first things many people ditch when pressed is exercise? So, one block for exercise.
  • Room, Plan & Parents – plan for the coming week, write an email to parents and put my room into order

The “enrichment”/short blocks – In a 6 day cycle, two are reserved for Math Collaboration and two for Science Collaboration. The other two will be left open heading into my “plan” phase. For example, the one “empty” for the coming week has been taken for a parent meeting.

After school

Our joke is that curfew is at 5:00 pm. One of the benefits of living abroad is that we can get great help. I’m not quite sure how we would have survived without this. As such, we need to be home at 5:00 and that gives me a bit over an hour free. This will be scheduled weekly.

5 – 7:30/8  Cook dinner, play with the kids, read to the kids, eat, get the kids ready and off to bed

8 – 8:45

  • MW – Run with the pooch. She needs the exercise too. It’s cold and dark right not in Beijing hoping I’ll push this one through.
  • TH – Projects (that family calendar is way over due) + Blogging
  • F – sit back, the week is done

Reflections – weekly check-ins to review and look forward

1/17: All goals were not met. There – get that out of the way. At the same time, I enjoyed having more of a blueprint for the week.

  • Scheduling in the “Teacher Practice” time. I dropped in on a fellow teacher for a half hour. Last semester, we often talked about beginning to observe but never started. This was a good beginning. I spent some more time in my practice block writing a blog and looking over articles. Time well spent. This week – I would like to find another teacher to sit in on. The act of being in another class was nice and several tangential ideas popped into my head as I observed. I also saw many students that I had last year. Bonus!
  • Exercise – definitely up! This is mixed though. I made both swim days but did not get in the runs / gym time that I wanted. The pooch was one reason. We got out on the Monday night and she started limping so we turned around early. My block time was bumped for good collaboration with another teacher so that was a positive reason. This week, I’m going for the swimming again and the night time runs without the pooch (she’s still hurting a bit). Unfortunately, this week there is a team meeting during the afternoon block off so I’ll get no “me” time during the day. Trying to bump an exercise block after school.
  • Plan & Parents – This is a good use of the last block on Friday when I don’t have students. I got out a parent letter and began looking forward to the schedule of next week. I’m working with stream tables for the first time and am trying to modify the tables for a better outfall. Coming week – maintain though try to get fully through the next week’s plan by the end of the day.
  • Students – Reports were due. New units started. This time was definitely snapped up. I have a few students in greater need. How can I better hone in on their levels of understanding and what they need in the classroom?
  • Math Collaboration time – Take the time before to have clear goals. Essential. There is a better feeling of the meeting if you have a structure.
  • Science Collaboration time – Wow, this new unit has lots of standards dangling from it. Too much?

This week…

  • Garden order a must! Mother nature is not waiting for me.
  • Vocabulary – put structures into place for students to work with vocabulary of this new unit.
  • Exercise – the knee isn’t waiting. Strengthen! Try to kick of a Thursday Masters’ Track Afternoon
  • Student friendly rubrics for units need to be polished off.
  • Calendar Project – finish it up!
  • Blogging Initiative – Week 2 (idea for post – beginning with the mathematical practices)
  • Home Blog – this blog has received no love for a long time. Start writing more.

Semester 1 Survey

A few fortunate weeks in Thailand with the family was simply a great holiday gift. With the calendar ticking away, it’s time to gear up for the second semester and this begins with a look back over student feedback at the end of the first. What information did they provide to me about themselves and the classes?

Note – This year was a bit of a change in that I returned to teaching math and science. I have two groups of students for these core classes and the subject alternates daily.

Not surprising is the mix – students are so varied! What some like, others detest. What some need more of, others think is too much. Where is that sweet spot? How do I weave in enough practices for each student without them feeling bogged down?

First – bed times. Am I surprised as to how late these students are going to bed? The majority are heading to bed at 9:30 or later.  

 

Next up was a look into classroom community. For me, this is an important aspect. My ideal is a class where all students feel super supported by each other and myself. It’s a constant work in progress. I would love to always see “rarely”. The other class was similar. In one class, there is still quite a bit of work cut-out to develop a strong community. A teaching partner and I have been spending more time on team-building games, conversations and supportive comments to build this community. More in store for 2016!

A couple of the written responses that lined up with “rarely” include:

  • Well, I don’t really enjoy math, it can be confusing to me and I don’t like calculating numbers.
  • I’m not that interested in math and someone of the questions are hard for me. I don’t understand a lot of the questions.

Take-away: I need to reach-out more to those students who are not interested and not enjoying things. It was also interesting tracking the comments to find that these students were the ones the least interested in math talks. They want more projects and less discourse.

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I find it interesting that some of the “rarely” answers fell off as the questions shifted a bit.

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How do you learn? I try to often vary types of learning experiences in my class and asked a series of questions on how they learn best. Again, results from the two classes were fairly similar.

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So, do I take it that my students just love learning and that most ways work for the majority? Reading a text book began trending more towards an unsuccessful way as well as at-home projects. Classroom conversations have a good group at the “3”  but I hope to continue working on that. Text-book reading and at-home projects took little time over the semester and the possible message is that work at home (in general) is not one that students appreciate. I’ve almost phased out most homework and will continue. It’s almost gone!

Here are the results that I feel the best about! I am so happy that students feel that they can ask questions and get support. Now, I need to keep reaching out to those students who feel that math/science is not for them.

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Progress in Science – in general students feel that they are making progress and are challenged. Up next is a step into geology. Typically students are split in their interest  and challenge of this topic though I love teaching it – one of my science favs!

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What would you like to see more of in science?

  • Group Conversations
  • Using concepts in real-life situations
  • -Labs and teacher explanations/classical teaching
    -More challenges
  • I would like to do more of experimenting because it can help you understand better and also it will not be boring.
  • More projects, because I learn best when I put my skills into real life problems.
  • We could do more labs, but also watch more videos. I usually learn better while watching a video or doing a lab, than just reading a textbook. When doing a lab, I’ll also collect evidence to help support or refute claims.
  • I think we should have more reading materials since this way makes it easier for me to understand.
  • I think we should do more labs in class to help us understand concepts and get that ‘ahah’ moment when we finally put things together and understand it rather than as a fact.
  • Putting the information we learned into one model (ex. the review for science test hexagons or food to fuel online model)
    Watching science videos
  • -I think having more lab experiments help me learn and it’s also fun!
    -Group discussions and class discussions both are really helpful to me in science.
    -When Mr. Frank introduces a new topic, I think he should add in more examples of the thing. For example, carbohydrates: we know that glucose is the simplest form of carbohydrate, but what others are carbohydrates? I think this will make me have a clearer image of the object.
  • Have time to work and research by ourselves. If there is a time where we have to understand a new science word or a new concept, then maybe there can be time for ourselves to look for the new information. Sometimes, the teacher can offer us a good website or can introduce a small video to keep us going.
  • I would like to watch more videos. No matter how disgusting they are, they really help me learn about what happens and I get a bigger idea of the subject. I really liked that video we watched about food traveling through a baby’s body because it helped me see and understand the digestive system more well.

In science, what would you like to see less  of?

  • Labs (funny the things that end up on both lists)
  • The things i want us to do less of is sitting in the chair and just talking.
  • Less reviewing by talking, and more activities.
  • I think we should do more activities and less class conversations because most of the time, I don’t really understand what the others are talking about and it gets kind of confusing.
  • I wish we could cut down on online simulations, since I think it kind of takes away from the hands-on experience.
  • TESTS! They make me really stressed and sometimes that affects how I learn.

How about math? From the comments, some of the students are not feeling fully challenged.

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Student math comments:

  • I would like us to do more of problems where we work as a group, because I think that in math, I work better in a group.
  • Similar to science, each class is varied and there a an array of activities to do each day, so I think there isn’t anything that we should do more of since it’s already a huge variety.
  • More activities to help us understand the concepts, and longer time to understand them before the test comes.
  • I would like to have more worksheets in class to work on independently.
  • I would like us to do more of teacher talking and explaining.
    -Math practices/worksheets.
  • Last year, my math teacher used to do this thing to teach us new concepts. He would use the smart board and without saying anything, would try to teach us the concept through his drawings. While he was drawing, we were allowed to think out loud about what he was doing. With him doing those drawings, I used to learn more quickly because I am a visual learner. It helped me improve a lot in math in 6th grade.