Is it coincidental or by design that our school’s reading initiative is taking me one step closer to a math workshop model? If you’re a regular reader you already know I’m introducing a “reading strategy of the month” using think-alouds. October was monitoring. November is determining importance. Next month the math department will present to our staff how we implemented determining importance during the month of November.
I’m realizing that my determining importance think-aloud closely resembles a targeted mini-lesson–the centerpiece of math workshop. What solidified it for me was reading this graphic from Minds on Mathematics.
I have to admit I didn’t have the math practices in mind when I created the think aloud but they came through anyway.
Yesterday, I returned an ungraded pre-algebra assessment to the students. Their job was to analyze and discuss each problem at their table. After ten minutes I handed out the key and discussion continued.
I feel so small. I should have begun that practice long ago. Their discussions were incredibly valuable. The students were talking math and I wasn’t the center of attention or the knowledge keeper. Most of class loved the idea of discussing their work with each other. Plus they were able to control the pace. One student thought holding back the key for a period of time added a bit of suspense. On the other hand one student felt self-conscious–concerned that she would be wrong and her classmates would know.
On Friday I became a much better teacher, inching closer to a math workshop approach.