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I had an opportunity to teach on a 45-minute traditional class period schedule and a 90-minute block. Both models have their pros and cons. I think my own preference is block schedules because you have so much more time to dive into content. There are fewer transitions and it just seems calmer and more conducive to learning. However, one major challenge is finding purposeful ways to fill that block. If you notice that you are doing one activity for a long period of time, it might be important to think about chunking. What I mean by chunking is thinking of you period in 15-20 minute chunks of time and planning activities within those chunks. I find it's difficult to keep students attention if something lasts longer than 20 minutes, so that was my maximum for any activity (except an assessment). I developed the following sample block plans based on 85 minutes. So, if you have 60 minutes you can think about cutting out one of these pieces. If you teach 90 minutes, add 5 minute
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
I haven't written about a lesson idea in a while! While talking with an 8th grade teacher today, I was reminded of a lesson I've done in the past about combining like terms. I wanted to write a quick post to share and also so that I can have it saved to refer back to. The lesson begins by showing this clip: The kids always laugh and enjoy the silliness of it. When it keeps going, I hear a lot of "You gotta be kidding me!" and "ugh, how long is this going to go on?" Perfect. I feel like I'm creating the controversy (create the controversy, Dan Meyer suggests is a first step) After the video, I talk about a simpler version of this same idea. Me: What if I ordered 5 hamburgers, 3 orders of fries, 6 hamburgers, and 2 more orders of fries. Is there a better way to order that is less confusing? Students: Yes! (they are almost frustrated with me!) Put the hamburgers together and the fries together. Me: Oh, so if I wrote ((write on the board: