Make Math Moments Academy › Forums › MiniCourse Reflections › 4 Strategies To Help Students Start Problems & Stick With Them › Strategy #4: Be The Guide, Not The Hero – Discussion

Strategy #4: Be The Guide, Not The Hero – Discussion
Posted by Jon on December 7, 2019 at 6:45 amWhat was your big take away from this particular lesson?
What is something you are still wondering?
Share your thinking below.
Kyle Pearce replied 3 months, 2 weeks ago 22 Members · 26 Replies 
26 Replies

I am definitely guilty of coming in and saving the day. It is hard to watch students struggle because this way of thinking is very different than what they are used to. I am already viewed as a “tough” teacher. It is hard for me to find a balance I think.

1. That i’m doing some things right – concrete/pictorial/abstract and not being the hero. I definitely need to work on more curiosity.

I like the curiosity path and would like to work on including that more in my lessons.

I don’t do enough visual activities in my high school math class. I’ve gotten some great ideas to visually express certain concepts like prime vs composite numbers or x^0 = 1.

I feel like I do a good job with providing low floor, high ceiling tasks. I’m able to capture studnet’s attention and provide tasks that are accessible to all students. However, I need to do a better job of being more like Prince and being the guide. I do not provide enough concrete manipulatives for my 6th graders. I also will often try to push students past the productive sturggle quickly becuase it makes ME uncomforatable to see them struggle. This was such an important reminder to push through the discomfort – just guide them. And be sure to provide those tangible manipulatives.
 This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Louise Tessier.

I love the comparison of the hero’s journey! That is such a brilliant argument for why we should allow students to learn within our classrooms and not rob them of the struggle that naturally comes with the learning process.
What is the the most used tool in your tool box when it comes to resisting the urge to “rescue” a student?

How timely to be exposed to the learning path that our students should be going through with the crisis creating productive struggle. I was blown away by the realization that I am currently on the same path that I want my students to be on in my classroom. The crisis that I feel as I attempt to use technology to provide instruction is providing me with plenty of bumps and bruises along my current path. I am hoping that I reach the climax soon but I do want to continue my learning just as I want my students to do the same!

I realized that one of the things I always struggle with is transitions students fronm the model of limited transition to the “hero’s journey”. I always have students who resist this mightly and become angry when I won’t just give the answer or the formula. Thanks to this video, I have some better words to use with parents.

My biggest take away is to focus on the curiosity path of the students and to use tools for representation. This session on the 4 strategies to help students start math problems is awesome. It is so informative.
Thank you KYle and JOn.

Good call on the Hero’s Journey. I’ve used that in English for years, but it makes good sense applying to math!

It has helped me to better understand how similar learning math is to other subject areas, too!


Definitely have to change student and parent expectations of what it means to teach. They think the teacher’s job is to explain and if you don’t…complaints. But then, the comment by (I think) you or Dan Meyer about Bill Gates throwing gold bricks at Sal Khan means that can be outsourced and the entire profession needs to change…along with public expectations and willingness to invest. But this is perhaps way beyond the scope and beyond my pay grade. 😂

Excellent series here! I’m definitely still working on trying not to jump in too quick when I see one of the kiddos struggling. It’s always a struggle finding that balance of letting them struggle but catching it before it turns unproductive and they give up. Thanks again Jon and Kyle.

I am in the role of the hero, and in doing so I the guidance is not happening when it should, by allowing the students to be the hero, and as I am in my role as a guide, I am then able to teach through tasks. I can see that I need to include time for the process to work in my lesson plan.

Great take away! The amount of assessment opportunities you’ll open up by making this shift is unbelievable. Keep up the great work!


Be more Prince. I like this reminder that symbols take time to work and be meaningful. It took me a few times listening to really get the reference (put in the work prior to make the symbol mean something). Concrete and visual first and most. Use manipulatives and keep them out!

Takeaway: Meet kids where they are. First, find out where they are. My job to figure out what questions to ask to weave together their ideas with the learning objective.

Flipping the classroom in your sense, makes so much sense. It is hard to break old habits and not rush to “help” the students see the algorithm to hurry them along. But watching and listening to their ideas gives me so much more insight into what they know, and how they use numbers.

Hi,
I have just joined. The 4 strategies were very indepth. Wondering and giving the learning over to the students is vital. I have taught maths from primary to secondary. I am in New Zealand by the way. Moving from the concrete to the abstract makes sense to me. As the move onto the different stages, they see through the visuals the difference and it makes sense to the. Being the guide and not the hero is again, giving the learning over to the students.
Thanks!

Be the guide resonates with what I was told once that the person who did the most talking did the most learning. It is very hard not to tell tell, it is a good reminder that the students don’t need to see how good I am at maths.

So true right? They know we’ve “got this”, let’s put the power in the hands of the students!


The most interesting thought I had with this section is the idea that a book or movie that is super easily predictable is boring, whereas a book or movie that you have to work to figure out, or that the hero has to overcome unexpected obstacles or hard obstacles is always more interesting.
For math class, the struggle is what can draw the kids in…and the ability to figure out how to solve that struggle and bring other students along…this keeps the students engaged. In particularly, the students who are high ceiling. I’ve experienced it so far with some of the lessons I’ve taught with this idea in the past week. My highest end student was literally bouncing in her seat, bursting with the answers as the other students were contemplating. But she was excited and involved, rather than bored and distracted.
On the other hand, my students who struggle in class to pay attention and learn the material, were engaged and working. Some were finding answers while others were anxious for a pattern or algorithm to solve the problems. When they received more information, they were excited and could see why that particular pattern would be used to solve the problem.
I love this! Thank you!!

Great to hear that you’re having early successes! Sometimes, it can take a bit of time to build that culture – but it seems like your group is roaring to go out of the gate!


I feel that I improved over the years with being more of a guide and not the hero because I learned and understood more the math content year after the year. That helped me ask better questions thinking about what was the learning goal I had for the students. I need to learn how to spark the curiosity better.

Time, reflection and practice help you to get more consistent. Stick with the curiosity path and let us know how you’re doing!
