Lesson Day!

Lesson Day came and went…

  1. We started in my classroom at 8:00 for some prep. I had already modified the lesson to include a little more initial collaboration based students’ prior knowledge (this was spur of the moment). This also cut down on teacher talk time (which I personally love).
  2. During my lesson, we found the collaborative activity to take longer than expected. But this could also be due to the fact that the original lesson made part of it independent work – where we made it all partner work. Partner work always seems to take twice as long – but we feel is more powerful in this case.
  3. I also added a little closure discussion since we are on a block schedule and I couldn’t let them leave without this!
  4. At our first debrief, we decided to cut the collaborative tasks in half and make an exit card as formative assessment instead of closure. This was also easier to assess than the students’ collaborative work. During our debrief we went over our time and missed our break (ah, the life of a teacher!)
  5. During lesson two, the timing was diligently maintained by the teacher and all went smoothly.
  6. At our second debrief, we added a written reflection to the exit card – from my perspective this is a little peek into the student brain – but I am a SCWriP Fellow (South Coast Writing Project) so I am partial to writing across the curriculum.
  7. We actually took our lunch break.
  8. And lesson three (at the middle school across town) went well too.
  9. In our final debrief we came up with some great follow up lessons and activities to extend the math concepts and to focus on Math practice 3 as well as multiple methods to solve the same problem. We also talked about team building activities that would encourage student collaboration. My personal goal is to  spend about 10 minutes a week on this.
  10. Our objectives were met and we were all so impressed that the students were able to solve some complex equations with very little direct instruction – and they understood why. There was a lot more collaboration going on than anything else!
  11. I will use the exit card as my bellwork (warm up) tomorrow since I didn’t have that part during my lesson. That way I have a good formative assessment.

What was best of all?

  • We had a great productive and fun day.
  • We have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the other middle schools in our district.
  • We have built a team that works effectively together and ¬†will work well together in the future for the benefit of all our students. How many teachers can say that they collaborate effectively across schools in their district?
  • We are planning to have a lesson study in the spring again with Algebra – and possibly a Core 7 or Core 8 lesson study as well. With the guidance of our Seconday Math Coordinator, our next lesson study will focus on teaching the lesson twice (instead of three times) so that we can spend more time perfecting it in between (our first debrief was rushed).

Now that the ball is rolling, we hope to keep the momentum on our collaboration…

Video and pictures to follow if I can get them linked to this site?

In the meantime, if you’d like a great lesson on building and solving equations that really focuses on student collaboration and understanding of why and how we solve equations, feel free to email me! bransom@smmusd.org