Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Made it: Worksheets into REAL learning!

I didn't even mind that today was a Monday for a couple reasons. 1--we don't have that many Mondays left this year. 2--It's teacher appreciation week, and 3- Monday Made it!! I sometimes find an idea I like and think to myself, "Hey! That's perfect for Monday Made it! Yes!" You might be a teacher/blogger if...

So, for this Monday I'm going to share with you how we turned a boring ol' textbook worksheet into engaging student learning. We MADE it fun and meaningful! Let me first preface this by saying that I am not a huge fan of textbooks. I like to use them to supplement instruction and will use them for the independent practice part of my math rotations if they align how I need them to. I am not, however, a person who likes to follow the textbook like a bible, following from one lesson to the next. I'm more of a "messy planner." You know, a person who uses their standards in their lap as a guide,  with every resource ever known to (wo)man spread out in arm's reach. That's what makes sense to me. I'm responsible to teach all the standards, and I just don't trust a textbook to do all that for me. That seems too good to be true. Moving on...

We used this worksheet today in small groups while my other students were rotating through stations, everyone eventually coming to small group. We were looking at how the area of a rectangle changes when the length stays the same but the width is either doubled or divided in half. We worked through it together, noticing patterns. My students high-lighted the "rule" on the front, and wrote in their own rule on the back. I supposed I should have called these "observations" instead.

One group of students asked on their own what would happen if it wasn't the length that stayed the same. What if the length doubled or divided and the width stayed the same? My other group needed a little nudging with this, so I said, "Let's take a look at what we've discovered today. If you could ask me one question after reading both of these observations, what would it be?" This encouraged them to look deeper, and then they got it. So, we broke out the graph paper, discussed our objective, and decided we should keep a table to track our learning. And off they went!

It didn't take them long to figure out these patterns worked both ways. They were proud of their learning and the fact that they thought of it themselves. I'm sure this is something that will stick with them, since it's their own learning. Sometimes textbook pages can be meaningful, when used correctly. A textbook has its place, just not as your only tool.

I hope you're enjoying your teacher appreciate week! My school is definitely spoiling us! Wednesday massage day? Yes, please! Be sure to stock up your TpT carts to ready yourselves for the BIG sale tomorrow and Wednesday!

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  1. Sounds like fun! I spy a Go Math! series...I can't help but get excited when I see that. Our district has adopted that for next year. Yay!
    Short and Sassy Teacher

  2. Hi, I thought that this new teacher-seller website might interest you. They are based in Canada and offer features that are not found on similar sites. They also have a lot of new features coming. Here is a link: Created by Teachers, Exclusively for Teachers