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Monday, December 14, 2009

Jo's Math Class

On December 10,  Beth and I visited Jo's math class.  Jo decided to use the Cornell Note Taking method as a guide for reading the beginning of a unit.  On the previous day, Jo made a presentation to the class regarding the procedure and purpose of this method.  The guide she used is on the left.  Students had begun work on the assignment the previous day and finished it for homework.  Jo required the students to limit their cues to questions.

Jo guided the sharing of individual student responses.  She built collaboration and problem solving strategies when she asked, "Does anyone else have anything to add?", "Does everyone agree?", and "What is your rationale?".  Together students shared their thinking and clarified their understanding.  Jo acted as the experts and pointed out several areas of confusion, giving the class a heads up to possible difficulties - including textbook structure. 

She brought the session to a close by asking students to evaluate this method of learning for them and inviting them to think about what worked best for them.

Beth commented on
1.  the use of effective student language during the pair/share format
2.  the students' high level of engagement
3.  the students' ability to reflect on their thinking when using the Cornell Notes
4.  Jo's analogy of the game of jeoporady to guide students' understanding to formulate questions
5.  Jo's reflection on the use of these strategies in her classroom
6.  Jo's goal to prepare her students for college
7.  Jo's focus on comprehending, understanding the many math symbols and terms

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