The one thing I always use to "center" myself is the Standards for Mathematical Practice--or "Math Behaviors", if you prefer. These "ways of being" in math class are the glue that holds my math class together...whether my students are above or below grade level--and no matter if we are doing addition or fractions or measurement.
One of these standards is often called the "perseverance" standard...and people do a GREAT job of teaching students that word and stressing that "I can" spirit in their classrooms. That being said--"perseverance" is only a small part of that standard and we cannot forget the rest. This standard talks about sticking with problems--but perhaps more importantly talks about MAKING SENSE of problems...using a thoughtful, logical, and organize process to dig in to the information presented and to tackle it. It's hard to persevere on a problem until you have "decoded" it!
|This is one of the posters in my "kid friendly" math standards posters resources.|
So off they went! I walked around and circulated...asked a few questions here and there--mostly things like, "What have you figured out so far?" and "Tell me what you notice." to try to get a sense for what they were gleaning from the problem.
After five minutes or so, I then partnered students up to compare notes. I started to see some great stuff...highlighters came out. Students were pointing out information and underlining it. I heard things like "OHHHH...now I get it!" and "I totally missed that part!". After a while longer, we came back as a class and talked about our findings--and also talked about the power of partners! It was pretty evident to students that two heads were definitely better than one in this case!
From beginning to end, my students worked for 45 minutes on this problem this day--and could have done another 15. We finished up the next day and had a ton of fun sharing our different solutions. I love hearing the students' logic about which solution made the most sense for them. I think I have some entrepreneurs in training in my class!
So today's food for thought? Think about how much work YOU are doing for your students by helping them get started...and consider how many opportunities you are giving them to try to learn how to make sense of tricky problems on their own. Want to try
the Marco Problem with YOUR class? It's one of the three challenges in Set 1 of my "Open Ended Challenges" resource.. Click the image below if you want to see more!
Also available in this bundled set of 9 challenges!
Thanks for stopping by!