I’m working on editing a video for mathagogy.com, which is a new site dedicated to highlighting teaching strategies from around the globe in 2 minutes or less…although very few are meeting the 2 minute rule!
My video is about how I use stories to help students think about linear equations and their world. I begin by talking about my “job” as a painter, web designer, lawn mower, baby sitter…etc. I honestly have no idea which word will come out…It just does.
I always give a starting value, a beginning total that I earn. I then continue with what I’m earning by the hour, week, month, day…again…whatever comes out with the story…does. The lesson continues through discussion about meanings…what each value means & why. We explore multiple representations as we connect meanings in various forms. We look at other relationships and decide if the same patterns apply. Students find relationships either online, in town or created themselves…to demonstrate their understanding while verbally connecting ideas. It’s our most critical moment of learning because it is one of many foundational topics in algebra 1.
The thing about a story is that the audience is important. When I teach, I love to look inside the souls of my students. Yes…their souls…their eyes are the windows to that. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to talk to them about math and understand whether they connect or not through the looks in their eyes.
The eyes tell all. I posted a link to a video about flipping the classroom the other day. Frank Noschese, whom I respect greatly responded…
@RafranzDavis We’re just going to have to agree to disagree on this one.
— Frank Noschese (@fnoschese) July 3, 2013
I do agree that flipping the class may work in some cases, depending on more factors than I can post right now. However as I am configuring my own idea, I have to go back to the reason that I loved teaching math period…the human component of understanding.
I take pride in this skill that I have of understanding how to connect with my students and challenge them further. It’s a process that we do together. It’s a mathematical learning journey. In 5 minutes, I lead learning through connecting and we build and develop concepts together. We can’t do that if I am asking them to “watch a skill video” prior. Experiences lead to understanding and knowing what they are thinking is critical to my job as a teacher in helping my students to connect.
I need to see their eyes.