October 2011 Archives

I've been in many classrooms where students were sitting in groups but weren't functioning as groups. And I've seen many teachers address this by asking students who've successfully completed a task to help those who are stuck. Recently, for example, I heard a teacher praise a student for solving a difficult problem, and then say, "Make sure your whole group understands." He also said to a student in another group, "Great, now show everyone else how to do that." One of these students ignored the teacher and kept working on his own. And though the other student helped her classmates, ...


Presenting solutions to homework or class work in front of the class can be a real confidence booster for students. But it can also be a real confidence buster for them if they come to the board thinking they're experts and their answers turn out to be wrong. And if that's not deflating enough for kids, imagine how they feel standing there as teachers try to rescue them with what amounts to private tutoring in front of their peers. I've seen this scene play out in many classrooms, including mine until I noticed students slinking to their seats just minutes ...


A lot of teachers think that if you assign homework, you must review it with students the following day. This makes sense in that it's important for students to correct and learn from their mistakes. But what if they didn't make any mistakes? I realize it's unlikely every student will have the correct answer for any given question. Yet even if only half the class got it right, what should those students do while you review something they already know how to do? Well, I can tell you what they did in my classroom before I changed my approach: they ...


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