Interesting classroom ideas W16

Interesting Classroom Ideas

by GVSU Student Teachers

- Prepare students for the change - Tell them what you’ll be doing and why. “You’re in sixth grade now, so…” or “We do things differently in geometry…”

- Teach from the back - Moved desk in the hallway for small group work / conferencing and moved the desks forward. Moves the classroom forward, so the back row is physically closer to the front of the room. Can stand behind them, teach from the back and have the kids go to the front. It expands the vision of what is going on in the class.
- Plan your walking route - Desks against the side or back walls make it difficult to circulate. Having to turn around when you reach the end of a row is inefficient, and some students in difficult to reach locations never get visited.
- Small Groups - There is a logistics in getting the right groups dialed in. Some groups may work, or not work, even though you think it will work. But they work better now, they are on task, there is a natural social aspect.
- Pre-planned flexible groups: We assign several different grouping patterns early on. In trig, we call them our 0, π/2, π, and 3π/2 groups. This lets us quickly assign groups with a particular purpose in mind.

- Homework Flip-Flop - We do the homework check at the end of class. It takes some getting used to for students because it’s different, but it helps the lesson flow better because the warm-up leads right into the lesson.
- Online homework - We make online homework only 10% of students’ grades. Students sometimes wait until the day before the test to do the homework, but to be eligible for retakes, a student must have completed all of the online homework.
- Conferencing with small groups - Invite students who need help with topic/homework to come to conferencing table. (If students have iPads, have them submit their HW requests via Socrative). Call specific students who might be reluctant. Rest of students work on homework or other predetermined task. Better use of time than answering homework questions in whole group setting.

- Choice board - If you finish early, go to the choice board and identify something productive to do.
- Students responsible for helping others - Student led mini-activities / review sessions. “We’re all in this together.”
- Use flexible grouping for targeted teaching - After giving a quiz, sort students into groups based on the kind of help they need. Visit with each group to return quizzes and give feedback and targeted instruction. Have students revise their answers together or work on new problems that are similar.

- Coherence and Time for Reflection - Connecting back to the lesson starter / warm-up during the guided practice or activity phase. Always set aside time at the end to highlight important connections and to give time for reflection or a quick formative assessment.
- Activity based learning - Use the investigations activities from our textbook as warm-ups. The investigations allow the kids to ‘dip their toes in’ and prepares them for the lesson. Gets them talking about the math before I teach it.
- Note-taking - Notes are important, but we still use math workshop (activity-centered) and limit notes to the mini-lesson and reflection phases.
- Being Efficient with Guided Notes: We are considering more efficient ways to have students “fill in” the guided notes other than a lockstep whole-group setting. Some students work ahead so quickly. One idea is to provide pre-filled in notes for the students who need them most so we can go through them more quickly and get to the activity or guided practice sooner.

- Geogebra - Use of Geogebra for investigations. Class is 1-1 tech so they are tech savvy. Student response is mixed. Some benefit and some don’t like it. They have a hard time creating specific shapes (...like make a trapezoid).
- Desmos - Use of Desmos - to introduce asymptotes. Students do an activity with Desmos and then summarizes what they observe. It was good for the big ideas, but we noticed students did not do as well on the exam on hand-drawing asymptotes. Need to make sure students have experience.
- Question posing - Using technology to have kids explore the mathematical ideas and pose questions. This is new, so kids may be resistant to it at first. Modeling can help.