Thursday, September 6, 2012

Variety with students grouped @ tables (Algebra)

One of the issues I am dealing with in my classes is the fact that I have grouped my students around tables.  This means that there are 5 students all within ear shot and eye shot of one another and each others' work.

I have a wide range of abilities in my classroom and sometimes it's hard to really see where some of my students truly are . . . especially my lower performing students.  I know it's natural to try and "look" like you know what you are doing, but as a teacher you know that's not what's best in the long run.

So, I came up with an activity that I used in my class the other day.  I create a set of practice problems for each student at the table and I placed the problems on the paper in the "spot" that the student is sitting in respect to the table.

Each student worked through the five problems in their "spot" - each set was different than the others.  The trick - I made each of the answers end up the same . . . but students couldn't copy right from their neighbor.

How'd it work?  Better questions from the students and some started to finally give in and say, "I'm not sure how to do this problem."  That's awesome.  These first three weeks have been so much about developing trust with the students so they will let me and Mrs. Harvey (co-teacher) give intervention and help.

Here's a pic of the problem set I created (I used photobooth which takes pictures mirror image style! #dealwithit):

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