Today in math we started to step up our problem solving and, especially, our EXPLAINING about our thinking...something I know I have not been modeling enough. I want to make sure we keep the climate open and honest, so today I introduced the self-assessment system we are going to use from this point forward.
It is an easy system...kids can "flash" the correct number of fingers if you want to do a quick check (scan the class and check for 1's and 2's!) or--like I did today--as an exit slip on post it notes or scraps of paper. Today I wanted to monitor students' comfort level on larger number multiplication (1 x 3 and 1 x 4 digits) before we tackle building arrays of 2 digit by 2 digits, and I wanted to see who wasn't feeling confident yet. With practice, students can become pretty adept at being honest! I have a group of 4 "2's" that I want to sit down and trouble shoot with tomorrow while I give a warm up word problem to my "3's" and "4's"...hopefully we will be able to move forward after I get a handle on how ready they are.
I know there are lots of ways to check for understanding...this is just one of the many I use. What I am really stressing is that to be a FOUR, you need to understand HOW to do it, WHY we do it, and be confident TEACHING others! Give it a try--and I'd love to hear other ideas you all have for how you "take the temperature" of YOUR class!