Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Teaching paradox

I am using the smart board and recorder for a small project in my Accelerated Geometry class. I am having them work out word problems which I know they can do and they know they can do. However I am having them present it and digitally record it with the smartboard. Due to my lack of planning early enough, I have pairs of students doing each presentation, one to talk into the laptop mic and one to show the work on the smartboard. I have rubric that details what is expected in the areas of accuracy, presentation written and presentation narration. The students are comfortable with the math and the smart board and I am having them all score their peers and reflect on it each presentation. After complaining about working together, I thought this will also end up being a great lesson in working together.
They are a disaster. I am watching them totally miss the mark that I expected and outlined for them. And I saw it coming when they goofed-off during the "planning" day despite numerous prompts. We are droning through the presentations and each is getting flustered as they realized how hard it is once they are up there.
It's exciting. I realized, this is where I would have jerked the technology away and lectured them on taking this more serious, doing what I asked, etc.... But it is so clear that they get it now. We will agonize through each presentation so that the person who thinks they can do better gets flustered too. The most powerful fact is that they are producing something for a different audience than the teacher. They are also recording it so they can see/hear their work and realize how they can do it better next time. They are grading themselves and each other and they are identifying ways to get better. It is a slow process, but amazing. The students who are so smart that don't do well on tests because they go too fast and miss the details are now recording this and evaluating it.
This all directly links to the technology/design cycle piece of IB that we were conveniently just talking about. I am letting each group go through this, as painful as it is for a teacher to sit and watch awful work. It is interested to think if this cycle of iterations that has to come full circle for them to evaluate and revise. It doesn't all have to occur during one lesson or activity. I can use the same idea as their work in progress and have them continue to evaluate, revise, plan, etc. I will let them revise the rubric. I will get them more exemplars. I will keep encourage them to think bigger and more transparent. I hope to do this at least 5 more times this year and next year and then play back these first recording for them to show how much they will have improved.

1 comment:

Joseph Miller said...

I walked by this class today and watched for about a minute as the students worked on the problem. In one minute I could only take a snapshot, but I saw what Regina described. Students that were struggling, but only a little.

I also saw a really great idea coming to fruition. An opportunity for students to practice math and becoming presenters. One of the first posts on this blog talked about students needing to be presenters to be successful in the 21st century.

Yesterday when our hit map was working I noticed hits from Australia, Qatar, Indiana, Georgia, Texas, Kansas, China, Canada and many other places. If you post those videos to and then to this blog your students are suddenly sharing with the world and a lot of it.

Congratulations on being innovative and challenging your students to perform. Your students will work up to your expectations and the more you do lessons like this I am convinced they will become experts themselves.