Thanks everyone for joining our book study on

__Minds on Mathematics Using Math Workshop to Develop Deep Understanding in Grades 4-8.__by Wendy Ward Hoffer. There is no formality to joining this study other than creating and linking any posts you write about the given chapter. Details on the book study can be found here. Please feel free to join the book study at any time. You are also welcome to share ideas in the comment section or on twitter using the hashtag #momathchat. As we progress in the book study we will choose a specific time to chat on twitter, but for now just use that hashtag for anything related to minds on math workshop. I look forward to reading all your posts. Please link them up at the bottom of this post and add the button code to your posts. Thanks again everyone!
Discussion Questions:

1)

**What were your biggest ah ha moments from this chapter?**- All students are capable of brilliance. I think sometimes we underestimate the ability of our own students to engage in rich challenging tasks. I know I have been guilty in the past of not allowing students to struggle so they can achieve their own understanding of a task rather than me holding their hand step by step.
- What makes workshop model instruction unique and distinct from typical classroom instruction is the focus on student thinking before, during, and after work time. I think in the past I focused on this mostly during work time or when students asked me individual questions. I need to really focus on student thinking at all times.

2)

**What components of math workshop are already present in your classroom?**- Challenging Tasks- Our district adopted Carnegie Learning Middle School Math Curriculum. We used the curriculum with all our classes this past year. The consumable text is filled with rich challenging tasks. Also there is an abundance of problems that scaffold nicely for differentiating.
- Community- I think the structure of our lessons this year really built a sense of community in the classroom.
- Collaboration and discourse- My students worked in collaborative groups last year. By semester my accelerated students were really fully immersed in working in their collaborative groups. I had a harder time trusting it would work in my other math classes, but by the last quarter my other classes were working in collaborative groups. The discourse was amazing to hear. I became a facilitator of their learning rather than a dispenser of mathematics knowledge.

3)

**What are your next steps for planning for math workshop in your classroom this coming year?**- Focusing on how to manage conferring in my classroom. I attempted conferencing with students and did from time to time, but nowhere to the level expected in the minds-on workshop.
- Looking at the structure of my class I need to be more purposeful in the opening. I will be working on creating minilessons to share with students prior to them collaborating in their groups. Getting the whole group back together every lesson for sharing and reflection is an important component I need to focus on. I was really good with formatively assessing my students via exit slips, but I need to improve on having students share solutions and challenges as a whole group so they can see the thought process of other students and be able to explain their own thinking.

I'm so excited to read the book now that you've posted. My book hasn't come in yet, but I'll get caught up as soon as it does.

ReplyDeleteCan't wait to read your thoughts!

DeleteI posted my link for chapter one, but I don't see it. I hope I posted it in the right place. http://www.mrshowardmath.com/2013/07/minds-on-mathematics-ch1-workshop-book.html

DeleteLooking forward to participating!

ReplyDeleteI'm hoping this book will offer me a little more about guided math and centers. I would like to figure out how to do that in my middle school classroom with the constraints of 42 minutes.

Michele

Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

I'm sure it will be a challenge in that time frame, but good teaching is good teaching for however many minutes you have them.

DeleteChapter 1:

ReplyDeleteLove the statements: Students are capable of brilliance, Understanding takes time, and there is more than one way (page 3). Exploring multiple ways to achieve the result is something to be celebrated. Also agree that we need to adjust our goal from "coverage" to "understanding". We get so caught up in doing all the problems and keeping pace with pacing charts that we miss the opportunity to really delve in. When students give incorrect answers, it's always a tricky situation. We want to encourage students to participate, but we hate to make them feel bad for a wrong answer. I'm going to really stress the concept of teachable moments and that confusion can be great fodder for learning p. 16. I may even have the students take a problem, make a common mistake, and then trade with another group. We can then share this as a class to discuss the discourse that can take place and also discover why the error may be tripping up another student. There is much to be learned uncovering the errors.

Love your ideas and so excited we get to plan and teach together next year. It will be epic! :)

DeleteHello Sherrie! I have really enjoyed reading your blog over the past few months. I teach 6th grade math in Oklahoma. I just got caught up on all my blog reading and I love this idea that you have created! I will be purchasing this book this evening and will be jumping in when it arrives!! I can't wait! Feel free to check out my blog at www.morris6411.blogspot.com (It's mainly just a personal blog, but I have been posting more activities I am trying at school!)

ReplyDelete-Jillian

Can't wait to hear your thoughts and look forward to you joining our discussion Jillian.

DeleteThanks Sherrie for organizing this book study! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the first chapter of this book! My biggest ah-ah moment is that I am a rescuer. I have completely turned into a teacher who spoon-feeds information instead of facilitating thinking. I knew it last year as I designed my classtime - me providing notes for their interactive math notebook and then independent or group work time on related problems. I was so unhappy with the progress of the class, but didn’t really know how to dig my way out of it.

ReplyDeleteI do have some elements of the math workshop that are already present in my classroom: challenging problems instead of just practice problems, collaboration, some reflection and student sharing thinking.

The final question is loaded! I have about 40 minutes devoted to my math classes and I teach a 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade section. It is overwhelming to think of doing this for all three classes, but I know it is right. My next steps are to look for challenging problems to guide thinking and set up routines. First, I’m going to dive into chapter 2!

See you for the next post!

Marcy

Wow Marcy you have quite the task teaching math for only 40 min a day. I have a regular and accelerated class so they do the same things, but accel gets through more content and works at a faster pace. The nice thing is that as you develop materials for the different grade levels you can use them to differentiate.

DeleteI tried to add my link above but for some reason it's not working...

ReplyDeleteHere's the text of my blog post...

My biggest ah-has!

To be clear, some of these weren't necessarily "ah-has" as much of a reminder of things we tend to forget as we battle all of the forces pulling at us as we do our jobs.

The importance of sharing and reflection - I've talked about this with co-workers, and I know in my own practice that when I take the time to do this, I benefit both myself and my students. Yet, despite "knowing", and even "believing" this, I find it easy to skip due to lack of time. I am one of those guilty of allowing "learners to work right up to the bell"! This was a good reminder that this is an important part of the learning process.

Work time - "The bulk of a minds-on math workshop is devoted to work time." Even though I know that this is the way it should be, I often find it easier to "manage" my class if I have "control" over it and am the one doing the work and the students are "captivated" by watching me. Yes, I'm hanging my head in shame right now, but I think we probably all have those classes that just have a difficult time staying on task when left to their own devices.

What I'm already doing...

Community - I think my teaching partner and I do a really good job of building community in our classrooms. One thing I hear frequently from parents is that their child (who may or may not have struggled in math) now finds math interesting and fun. (Always a good thing to hear!) For the most part, our grade-level as a whole does a good job with this and I think it really helps the students understand the benefits of belonging to a community of learners.

Next steps...

Creating more purposeful openings - Obviously these need to be planned....which is something easy for me to overlook, and why they aren't always as useful as they could be. I find them difficult to plan because there are times during a class period when I think "I want to review this in tomorrow's opening". Or, where I do want to spiral a skill previously taught and incorporate a more current topic. Other times, the dynamics of classes vary and what works with one class doesn't work with another, or what one class needs isn't what another class needs. (It's all so much more complicated than those outside education realize!)

Work time - I'm so guilty of "rescuing" students who I feel are struggling. Instead of letting them struggle with the math, I'm too quick to jump in and help (or even worse, lead them to an answer). I need to work on questions that will help without giving answers. Once last year, I asked a question that I knew would be a little difficult but at the same time was not out of reach. My students just wanted an answer. They left class without one and were not happy when they left the room. For my part, I felt a little guilty that we ended on that note, but I secretly smiled inside when one of those students came to me before class the next day with the answer!

Can't wait to see what goodies the rest of the book contains!

For the love of good teaching,

Melanie

I left you comments on your blog. Thanks for your thoughts!

DeleteI really identify with a lot of the posts already. I'm a rescuer. I struggle to help a student feel smart. I hate sitting there in silence as I can see the defeated look on their face. I think working on a better community from the start of the year will help me to not be such a rescuer since there will be more collaboration.

ReplyDeleteMy ah-ha moment was to talk less and listen more.

I already have the challenging tasks. I actually get them from my textbook and they are really good! I used collaborative groups, but need to work on them.

I need to implement better community from the start next year. Any ideas? I've only taught for 3 years in 6th grade and next year will be my first year in a middle school with 7th/8th graders

I also need to implement the 'better warm up' to get them thinking. I love the idea of how they need to explain. No more one word answers!

Hi Kristina

DeleteMaybe some team building activities with your groups at the beginning of the year to establish that sense of community. Also creating norms together would help.

It is so in our nature as teachers to rescue students. Hopefully this book and workshop model will teach us that by giving them the tools to rescue themselves we are giving them a lifelong gift as learners.

Hi Sherrie... My link up isn't working. Should I post here instead?

ReplyDeleteJody try again. You have to copy and paste your entire URL from the blog post on chapter 1. It should work. Let me know if it doesn't.

DeleteThanks Sherri. I did try again and got a message that it already exists? Maybe I'm just not seeing it?

ReplyDeletehttp://mission-math.blogspot.com/2013/06/minds-on-mathematics-book-study.html

I'm so new at this, so don't know if I'm doing something wrong. Thanks for the help!

Jody

I figured out how to fix it Jody. It's now working.

DeleteJust got my book! My link is also "already in collection" but not appearing:

ReplyDeletehttp://dorkyteach.blogspot.com/2013/07/minds-on-mathmatics-chapter-1.html

It's working now Mike. Thanks for linking up!

DeleteThis comment has been removed by the author.

ReplyDeleteI really feel like most of the comments written were very similar to my reaction. I tend to rescue my students too quickly and not let them struggle. I think in today's society when a student "struggles" they give up very easily because they are used to things being handed to them. So I think you must start this the first day so they get used to struggling a bit, but also having the confidence to continue until they have a logical answer. I also think that students are so in the habit of using a formula and solving that when you ask if their answer is logical, they really might not know. I think that modeling plays an important key to success with the workshop model and that will help deciding if something is logical.

ReplyDeleteMy question is, she refers to having other mathematical responsibilities for the students who finish early. What does she mean exactly by this? Is it problems that relate to what they are currently learning? Or is it maybe a review of what they previously learned? Are they word problems/everyday life problems or are they just practical problems? I like to have these types of things available, but I'm never really sure what works best.

I'm sorry Sherrie, I'm not really sure how to "link up" can you explain to me how to do this.

-Jillian

Hi Jillian

DeleteYou only need to link up if you write a specific post about the chapter on your blog. When you do that you copy the URL of your post (not your blog URL) and then add your link following the directions given.

I had the same questions you did about other mathematical responsibilities. I would think you could have a combo of enrichment, intervention, and extra skill practice depending on what your students need.

Thanks for sharing!

I have been teaching middle school science the past 7 years ( 5th 6th 7th 8th). My school is closing do I am moving and will be teaching 6 th science and math. I read this blog, ordered the book, and am catching up. I have never taught math but in the past taught reading / writing workshop. So his is giving me a lot if confidence and great ideas. Still nervous though. Thanks

ReplyDelete