I am sooooo behind in this book study...not with my reading, just with my posting! I have been reading the book every moment that I can get and am still love love loving it but haven't been able to find the time to post. Now that summer is here...watch out! I'll be posting so much y'all will be sick of me. :)
Chapter 4- Click here to head on over to Once Upon a Teaching Blog and Sweet Seconds the co-hosts for this chapter of the book study.
So teaching the whole class, eh? Yep, that's kind of been my style. This is the first-ish year that I have taught math. I taught it for 4 months only last year before I went on mat leave so this was my first full year of being a math teacher. To my surprise, I really enjoyed. I worked hard to use problem based learning as much as possible and to work with small groups when I could. I was learning as I went to I can honestly say that I didn't work with small groups as much as I should have and I probably used worksheets far too often. But that's the whole point of reading and participating in this book study right? To get better at teaching!
I recognize that there are some benefits to whole-class instruction and was very happy to see that the author agreed! Yeah, me. Doing something right. Whenever I did use whole-class instruction I broke it up with small group talk and think-pair-share as much as possible. I also tried to employ gallery walks and give/get to keep kids up, moving and talking about math.
On page 108, Sammons writes "Even experienced teachers using whole-class instruction often find that the lesson goes over the heads of some students, leading to passivity and lack of attention, while failing to challenge others, leading to boredom." YEP.
Some standout moments-
* Mini-lessons: good for setting the tone and introducing concepts, can be used to summarize the learning that took place, no more than 10 minutes, identify the teaching point, demonstrates/models strategy, students try out strategy in a brief guided practice, teachers need to provide activities for those students who quickly finish so they are actively involved in further learning, end off by reminding students to remember the strategy and link to future work when possible
* Word Splashes: I have often used this to start off a math topic and I think it is because of my literacy background, you always go to where you are most comfortable! I have always had my students create the word splash with me, however, I have not presented it to them all at once. That will be something new to try.
* Math Related Children's Literature: This is a huge goal for me. I really want to focus on this next year and tie in math related literature as often as possible.
* Math Huddle: This has been a focus for my school in the past few years as we have worked towards a problem based teaching model. Our province has been promoting a teaching method known as bansho, which comes from Japan. I like the name Math Huddle much better! This is also a goal for me. I want to be more comfortable discussing my student's math understandings on the fly and in class as their problem solving takes place. I like the idea that students are "held accountable for expressing their ideas and listening thoughtfully to each other and justifying their mathematical thinking".
I am glad to know that there is a place for whole-class instruction in math as I think it will take awhile until I am totally comfortable with a full on guided math approach...but I'll get there.