Day 166 (of 184) Rec Math update
I think I finally truly realized what my Recreation Mathematics class is all about. My initial thoughts and plans were to use my 2 days a week teaching in the classroom time to support “math thinking” and emphasize strategies over ‘task completion’.
For me it is still more about the thinking than the task (I still have not used checkmarks, numbers or letters on any assignments) with an emphasis on descriptive feedback. But today, while we are in the middle of a long-division project (thanks to “Teachers Pay Teachers) it finally dawned on me….that the Rec Math class is like so many of the ‘other’ class times….tangent time:
I have always complained that (in elementary especially) we have been very good at differentiating and project-based learning in many subjects (especially Language Arts) but not in Math. Math still seemed to be textbook/worksheet heavy. And a LOT of solo work. But literature circles, socials projects, etc etc emphasized ‘working at an independent level’ and ‘projects -both solo and/or group’. But not in math.
It has also bothered me that on traditional report cards (my school has evolved to being a pilot school to look at how eportfolios may better “communicate student learning” as opposed to the traditional ‘reporting student achievement’) that we had Language Arts broken down into Reading, Writing, and Oral Language, but Math was essentially: Numeracy.
Today I finally saw students working on a common project but working in groupings – they were talking (on task) asking for advice and suggestions, but not ‘just copying answers’. They wanted to understand “how to get to an answer”. When they brought their sheets to me to check over, they weren’t devastated when I pointed out an area they needed to “spend more time thinking about” – instead they did just that – reread, tried some different strategies – in a sense: they didn’t get stuck.
If nothing more than my students having the sense that if they are trying something in numeracy that isn’t working that they need to try a different approach/strategy/thinking is all they get out of this year, I can’t help but believe it’s been a successful year. Even though it’s just them doing what they do ‘in all the other subjects we work on’.
No longer is math the outlier in our classroom!