Friday, December 19, 2014

WHAT?!! Give them the answer? What am I thinking? I am supposed to teach students how to solve problems, not give them the answer.

Well, let me just say that the best activities I have given my students lately have been the ones where they already have the answers.

Let me explain:

1st
Students had to solve 10 problems that matched a letter in a riddle.
As students were solving, if they came up with a number that was not on the riddle space, they knew they had made a mistake. They were working in small groups, and listening to them was truly awesome. They talked it out, they tried everything. There was one problem that was tough because they didn't use their subtraction integer rules, but once explained, they were like, "oh yea!"

2nd:
We used 4mula Fun's Solve n' Snip Christmas Story.
It was great for reviewing decimal operations.
But, really what I LOVED LOVED LOVED, was the math talk I kept hearing. They were using reasoning. They would say things like, "well, it's a money problem, so it has to work." When I looked at their work, they were actually underlining important information.
HALLELUJAH!

3rd
Another one I have used is several looping activities from Live. Love. Math
Students solve one problem, and find the answer on a different problem. If they don't find it, they know they have made a mistake.

4th
Like above, I have completed several scavenger hunt activities that loop around. This is where the question is on the bottom and an answer to another question on top. Students solve the bottom and then find the answer on another card, then begin working the problem on the bottom.
When they loop around, they know they have completed the activity and gotten them right.

This is awesome for so many reasons.
First, seriously, middle school kids reasoning? and talking about math? SOLD!!!
But, the other thing is grading is DONE for me! I do love that.

When I was grading the solve and snips, I could see easily that they had the correct answers, I was looking at their work. I am that mean teacher who takes points off for NOT showing their work.
But, even with that, students are not bombing the activity.

The idea behind all of the above activities is that my students get math practice. I want them to be successful. I don't want to grade them, mark everything they got wrong just to have then redo it and try and "bring up their grade".