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  • Alison Peternell

    December 10, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Right before COVID hit, I had taken a class on teaching math as a Math Workshop. Many of the practices that I learned in this current course were in alignment with the Math Workshop style. I had made a few lesson plans and was starting to get into changing my practice this way but then COVID hit and there were too many new things to learn to really dive into this method. Now that we are back to a more normal school year where students can work together and move more freely around the room, I really needed something to push me back to a more student centered classroom format. Making Math Moments that Matter has not only pushed me back to doing Math Workshop, it has helped me to internalize how to more naturally come up with lessons in this format and teach them.

    Instead of giving students notes, practicing a few problems together, then practicing more until we move on and start the process again with another concept, I now think how can I engage students from the beginning of a lesson without actually telling them how to do what we are learning.

    I have been doing a lot of noticing and wondering lessons and I find that once we reach the final answer, I have said all the vocabulary that are in the notes and students have worked through the entire concept rather than steps being piecemeal to them. I still do notes but I do them at the end. They go really fast and students understand the vocab and steps through the application they have just worked through with their peers rather than me just telling them. Students are up and moving, they are using the white boards, talking with each other and I am a facilitator to help them when they get stuck, make connections, dig deeper in the understanding and questions why things work the way they do. For the most part, I believe most of my students are engaged and enjoy math class this year. I also enjoy teaching this way so much more. I am talking less and listening more. I notice I have zero discipline problems this year. Maybe this set of students are better but I tend to believe that they are better because the format of the class is better for them to feel safe, heard and a sense of accomplishment because they are the ones teaching themselves.

    I look forward to finding new lessons and tweaking old ones to this better format. Thanks for getting me back on track and giving me more resources at my fingertips.