This is MY reflection and summary of my three day Twitter Math Camp (TMC) session with @cheesemonkeySF, aka, Dr. Elizabeth Statmore. This is my interpretation. I apologize if I misconstrued anything Dr. Statmore put before me. My intent is to honor her and to document my learning at the same time.
Differentiating CCSS Algebra 1 — from drab to fab using Exeter Math 1 & Exploratory Talk
A goal to be met in the first three weeks of school is to build a culture where students exhaust all they know and have available to them before asking for help when problem solving.
In order to get students to own the problem for themselves, make it personal to them. Change the names and places to be relatable to the earners. Put a story behind the problem.
Teach students how to approach a problem. This is the Know—>Notice—>Wonder sequence.
Use readers’ theater as a way to establish procedures and protocol for classroom routines such as Talking Points, Vertical Non-permanent Surfaces, and Number Talks. Elizabeth has done this through a script she has created called deleted scenes.
We actually got to practice this as a class and this helped me understand the purpose as well as the procedure. I had read Elizabeth’s blog on this, but never truly got my head around it. I am now ready to give this a shot. There are at least a couple people in the class that are going to give writing a script a shot. I hope these get posted and shared widely. Each member of a table group (4 students or so) has a copy of the script. (reuse for all classes.) Characters are assigned and the script is read, with each group simultaneously working through the script. Doing this as whole class leaves too many inactive learners. Up engagement and participation at every turn.
Use Talking Points to illicit emotions and access prior knowledge when moving into a new topic. Choose statements that are debatable and students have opinions about. The number 1 rule to adhere to and teach and monitor is: No comment, no emotion, no body language as the talking points are going around the table. As teachers we must model this. By doing so, we honor learner space and inner thinking. I repeat: NO snarky comments. Listen. Be silent and listen. In a circle, Talking Point 1 is read. The only person in the group speaking is the person holding the Talking Stick (or whatever article you choose). The talker states their reaction to the Talking Point and gives justification for their opinion. They then pass the talking stick to the next person who then gives their comment and justification. This continues all the way around the table group. Round two is the same procedure with the same Talking Point only this time the talker keeps or changes their opinion and gives justification. When all have completed the second round, opinions are tallied and the next Talking Point is run through the process. Some groups may get several Talking Points from the list completed and others may only get a couple. That’s ok. Front load the Talking Points so the important points are covered first. Shut it down and channel the emotion into learning the math at this point. I see this as peak interest and passion and then shift to content.
The learning cycle—Wash, rinse, repeat
Day 2: The theme of today was Radical Differentiation and this was addressed through problem organization and people organization.
- Challenge for all
- Practice & support—more problems and challenges for speed demons
- Make sure the beefy problems are up front so all students get these
- Challenging learners does not mean stumping them
- Every learner deserves a win.
- Group speed demons together so they do not rob the other learners
- Group the “katamari” together. These are the thoughtful, careful, deliberate learners, not strugglers, but rather the learners who know speed is not the end game.
- Group free-loaders together.
- If writing as a group, the talkers do not write and the writers do not talk. Trade devices when necessary.
Day 3: The final day, we were all in awe of Elizabeth and just wanted to learn everything we could from her. We asked what a day looked like in her class and she delivered.
She uses a broadcast clock to plan her class period, regardless of the length of the period. (I know I read about this someplace else, but I forget where, but it is genius.) Her clock looks something like this. broadcast clock Details below. Please note, unlike a real broadcast clock, the sectors in my clock are not proportional to the total time. (I simply do not know how to do that in Word.)
- Open class with a PowerPoint slide that has students self-managing. Do now, check “Home Enjoyment”, aka, homework, with table mates, identify burning questions with tablemates, and get any handouts or supplies needed for the day. This all takes about 4 minutes. Each class has a theme song that plays for the first minute of the opening slide. This helps learners shift into math class mode.
- Burning questions that students have about Home Enjoyment are addressed. Reserve the right to deem a posed question as NOT burning if learners can get there themselves and merely didn’t do so. This segment is as long as it needs to be, and no longer.
- Slide changes to a fanfare of sorts to reveal the EQ. Learners rely on the EQ for focus and grounding. Initial notes and direct instruction happen here. This is only 6 minutes. Tighten up. You get another chance at the end.
- Productive struggle/guided practice/guided sequential flailing happen at this sector. Have plenty of chosen problems, but front load them so all students get rich materials, not just those who get there first, aka, speed demons. Never give problems you have not done. Intentionally choose the sequence. Stumping learners is not challenging them and vice versa.
- If the situation warrants, have a close. Elizabeth does not see this as a nonnegotiable the way some instructors do. I appreciate that, but will try to get my head around when closure is helpful and when it is just a closer for the sake of that checkmark.
- Set a timer so you know when you have 7 minutes (or whatever your experience tells you that you need) for final notes and marching orders and a calm ending.
The productive struggle sector could be handled in a variety of ways. One way is to use Speed Dating—one side moves, each student is an expert in one problem, see Kate Nowak blog for details. This could also be Vertical Nonpermanent Surfaces, aka white boards. Alex Overwijk is the expert in this area. This could be the time for Exeter problems thoughtfully and purposefully sequenced for maximum learning.
Phrases—these just stood out to me as brilliant insights made by Elizabeth and paraphrased by me and others in our session.
- You can’t develop patience quickly. (teachers or learners) Practice and honor the process.
- Your learning should never be a threat to others. When you share your learning you gain and kids need to experience this. A rising tide floats all boats. Everyone benefits when students share their learning and insights with one another.
- Speed demons commit cognitive theft. Honor all learners and protect the Katamari from robbery of their learning.
- We don’t “fix” struggling learners, but rather, we help heal the disconnection from their inner mathematical selves.
- Guided sequential flailing leads to learning. Problems are sequenced to support learner success.
- Kids have to be able to get a win. Challenged ≠ Stumped
- If kids have been robbed of their confidence, lend them yours. (Believe in them and let them know.) Take that burden from them so they may focus on learning.
- Seat for discourse and production (separate the speed demons, katamari and freeloaders) when appropriate.
- Honor learning and respect the process for self and others. Talking points procedure can reinforce this culture.
- Music may be used for unity; transitions; class identification; sharing about yourself.
- Students can self-start and you need to set the stage for that. Have this structure in place from the start so students own it and can rely on it, even if you are absent.
- The Tibetan Singing Bowl is a peaceful way to focus students in a calming way. Help students be fully present and you be fully present for them.
- Listen at every turn. Sequence. Listen. Learn. Breathe.
(Note, this is not intended as my TMC17 archive reflection. This is yet to come.)