So again in studio math professional development work, I realize how much I need to step back in the classroom. How has this been my goal for 4 years and yet I still struggle so much? I need to be doing planning, but I think reflecting on this may help me uncover some ideas in order for it to “stick”!
What I know:
- Stepping back (not group hopping to help scholar by scholar by scholar) will help scholars to learn independence to rely on their own and their groups’ mathematical ideas. When I intervene, oftentimes I am taking away from their ideas and thinking and pushing mine on them.
- Stepping back will not only teach them independence and let them explore their mathematical ideas, it will free me up to do what I really want to be doing
- that is, looking for different mathematical ideas to make public to the class for scholars to present rough draft thinking. If I can really listen and pay attention to thinking, I can scope and sequence before every group figures it out to help push their thinking forward.
- Also, with the new ideas around complex instruction and multiple abilities treatment, I can look for the differing abilities of the scholars in my class, particularly those with low status that I can bring forward to the whole group.
- Also, I can look (on perhaps different days than multiple abilities so as not to be overwhelmed) for productive group behaviors. I have done two skillbuilding lessons and in the most recent, scholars came up with a great and comprehensive list of group behaviors that helped them in their skillbuilder that can also help them in their math investigations. See the ideas from my 3 different classes below – sorry to be too lazy to type them up!
- Basically, all of these things that I’ve been working on for 3+ years will become more possible if I can just freaking step back and let scholars be scholars. It’s SO HARD! I like helping. I like being the center of attention. But none of it is actually helping them! If I want to make public all the ways that these brilliant scholars are already mathematicians, I need to stop making it about me and what I want to get across to them in math and more about their thinking!
- I don’t know why I’m still doing numbers. Just another last thought. Part of the difficulty is getting kids thinking and ready so that they can pass their competencies. I hate that I just said that and I hate that there is so much pressure to get to this and that this is how we judge whether scholars have learned, but right now it is! I wish I didn’t have to assign grades or give tests, but since I do, how do I keep scholars thinking about really big questions but also help them to be successful on competencies so that they don’t just give up because of frustration with grades.
- Sorry this ended on a bad note. But key point – I WILL STEP BACK!!!!!