Teaching math: A question that worked well
Algebra 2 and Trig this year are a little tricky in NY State. How do you teach a rich course, but also prepare kids for a state test? If you’ve never seen the state test? If you suspect the test will cover way too many topics, and do so poorly? And did I say, also teach a rich course?
So, this teacher squeezes in extras. Go off topic, and onto other topics of value. Challenge questions that preview what they’ll see in a few weeks. And better, challenge questions that help their analytical skills, without practicing current topics (math class is for thinking and doing and performing!). A little extra graphing to tie topics together (more on that, later. Who’s going to teach me to take screen shots from the TI?)
And some days, I just squeeze so I have time for something else. And yesterday’s lesson, how to handle , not a killer for squeezing. I threw what could have been a quickie worksheet on the board:
Multiply and simplify:
So they’re buzzing. I’m checking homework and walking around a bit. And I decide to use a question I’ve played with a little:
“What’s a question that someone else might get wrong?” followed by “Explain.” And then I got another kid to comment, or to answer the question, or to explain how to avoid the error. And back for another “question that someone else might get wrong?”
I ran, back to back, two of the best five minute discussions I have had all year.