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Showing posts from October, 2016

Ideas for Differentiation in Math Class

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Differentiation. I probably don't need to say this, because you already know, but I want to acknowledge just how tricky differentiation can be. There are several reasons:
1. Different kids need different things 2. Different kids like different things 3. Not everyone has the same background knowledge 4. Everyone has different misconceptions or misunderstandings




With all of these factors, in each kid, there is actually no way that two kids can be alike! Each kid is unique in their way or learning and seeing the world! There are infinite combinations in how those above factors play out in kids brains. How amazing!





But also, how hard for teachers! No two kids are alike, but somehow we are supposed to differentiate?? Teachers ask me all the time, "Annie, I know you aren't a fan of tracking, but then how do we reach our top kids? Or struggling kids?" Here's the thing, even if we did have "tracking" and kids were perfectly placed (which we know they aren't…

Why I Don't Use Keywords (or CUBES)

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Teacher confession time:
I used to teach my students about keywords in math class.



I did not create this poster, but I could have. In fact I had one very similar hanging in my classroom from 2007-2012. I even wrote one of my National Board portfolio entries about a lesson designed around keywords!

This brings be to CUBES. A problem solving strategy I've seen quite a few times in classrooms. I never used it, but mostly because I didn't hear about it. I probably would have been all over that. If you aren't familiar, here is the strategy:
C- circle the numbers
U- underline the question
B- box the keywords, or math action words
E- evaluate the steps you should take
S- solve and check

You might be wondering why I stopped using keywords in math class in 2012. Honestly, I was pretty stubborn. I mean, kids got the right answers when I taught key words! I thought I was helping them. Students liked them. Parents understood them. There are actually several reasons I decided to stop us…