How Do You Make Student Thinking the Currency in Your Classroom?
By C&I Math TEAM
Maybe you remember when Graham Fletcher was in Jeffco last year? Or, perhaps you saw Dan Meyer when he was here in January of 2019. Graham Fletcher quoted James Hiebert in Making Sense: Teaching and Learning Mathematics with Understanding, saying “Student thinking is the currency in the classroom.” How do we make the learning in the classroom center around students’ ideas?
Jo Boaler says, “By putting problems first, we give students opportunities to make sense, rather than follow prescribed rules.”
When students are making sense of problems, they have valuable ideas to share with their peers. These ideas, and the conclusions thereof, provide the necessary depth and complexity for students to evaluate, synthesize, adjust, and adapt when problem solving. These shared ideas are gold we want to mine. They are the currency of the classroom!
Where do we find problems worthy of our students’ time and attention? Jo Boaler’s website youcubed.com has lots of math resources. The staff there has even collected some into “A Week of Inspirational Math.” These playlists are designed to help students begin to take ownership of their own meaning making.
Math 3-Act Tasks also provide opportunities for students’ thinking to become central to the classroom conversation. Graham Fletcher has many ready made tasks for the elementary grades. Check out Dan Meyer’s 3-Act Math for secondary.
Making student thinking the currency in the classroom isn’t specific to just the math classroom. The Wonder of Science is a great resource to find rich, inquiry-based problems that encourage students to share their ideas. EverFi offers engaging digital curriculum from Personal Financial Literacy to Social Emotional Learning and also STEM and Career Readiness. Actively Learn is a powerful tool for finding texts and videos that support multiple content areas. Jeffco has a premier membership for teachers and students 5th through 12th grade. Here is a recorded webinar from EdTech to get started!
Across the day, students need to share their ideas and make their own meaning. So, what problems are you going to give your students to grapple with?
Curriculum & Instruction