I’m attending a Reading Apprenticeship training in our district that is just fantastic. I can’t say enough about it: the trainer is fabulous, the content is fabulous, the strategies are fabulous…nuff said.
So, I’m attempting to bring some of the strategies I’ve learned into my math classroom.
The last few days my 7th graders have been making posters of word problems and creating tape diagram and algebraic solutions. Instead of each group presenting their posters one at a time, I had them do a gallery walk instead. They had post-its–enough for one per poster, and prompts for comments to make. I gave them 10 minutes to travel with their groups and discuss the prompts, writing responses on their post-its to place on the posters.
This gallery walk really got them talking. Students were much more engaged in this activity than they would have been sitting and listening to 6 different presentations.
1) My first group of 7th graders was better at this than my second group–and they are typically lower achieving.
2) Although I gave focus prompts for accountability, some students tended to focus on the aesthetics rather than the math.
3) It was obvious they had done this activity before because they got right to it and understood the routine without much in-depth explanation.
4) This was a great opportunity for formative assessment.
My next goal is to bring in think aloud and talk-to-the-text activities. I’ve started some talking to the text with my 8th graders, but not enough to reflect upon yet. That’s for the next blog post!