Teaching Mathematics with
the Problems of the Week
- Mary Taylor (Loring School, Sudbury, MA, grade 3)
Having always been the "parrot math" person who didn't think I was good at math, it's been empowering to stand back and think about the "why" of it all.
This will shape the way that I teach - setting the background knowledge and choosing problems that allow kids to discover the concepts and resulting strategies.
I have also become much more aware of the types of questions I ask. Since beginning this course (only 6 weeks ago?) I have pulled back so much from channeling their thinking. Using the Think-Pair-Share is very useful in letting them do the thinking AND in having them communicate (orally at this point) so that another person is clear about what they are thinking and doing.
- Mark Munger (Aspen Middle School, Aspen CO, 6th grade)
Working on the PoW's myself reminded me of what challenges I put in front of my students. I often will give out work and, in the daily rush to get things done, have not fully investigated a problem and all the angles that students may approach a problem from.
I was reminded to slow down--that these problems are rich with opportunities to explore math and that it is better to go "a mile wide, than an inch deep". The rubric reminded me that my evaluations could be done in a more exacting and thorough way.
I have seen that I can integrate the PoW into my curriculum at any point. I often chose a PoW, not by integrating with the current topics, but rather by interest or giving the students something entirely different. I plan to have one each week that ties in with our current study and to use the Math-Write more often.
- Erica Smith (Learning Community Charter School, Jersey City, NJ, 5th and 6th grade)
I think this course has shaped the way I teach math in a few ways. I have rediscovered through this course that learning math isn't just about memorizing facts and figures, but about gaining meaning and understanding about math concepts. My teaching of problem solving has been shaped because I now see how important it is for students to understand that problem solving is a process.
Each step taken is just as important as the final answer. My challenge is to help students to better communicate their thinking and to justify it. The rubric has also been a great resource for me because it has helped me to focus my teaching in a way that students can be successful.
Feel free to email if you have questions or comments.
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