Pulling the Plug on a Lesson (The Do-Over)

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 10.28.48 PMI returned to the class where I sucked more than Maggie Simpson.  I wrote about it here.

The highlights from yesterday’s do-over:

For the most part it went way better and the additional pieces I created to scaffold the lesson helped out.

Some students constructed the race route from Cuisenaire rods to conceptually see the street blocks (spatial temporal reasoning). This made the decomposition of 50 yards and 90 yards much easier.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 3.54.16 PM

Emma’s race route constructed from Cuisenaire rods.

the Race Route

Once students identified the dimensions of a single block, some figured out how many 30-yard and 25-yard segments made each girl’s race route.  They found that Emma and Audrey had an equal number of 25 and 30 yard segments meaning they ran the same distance.

Me: They did run the same distance but how far did the run?

I was great to see the multiple ways that students solved the total distance. What was even better was how they added up (a la Number Talks).  I assumed one student solved 10 x 30 by multiplying or “adding a zero” but I’m glad I asked.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 3.53.47 PM

Love that they included a key.

Student: Well… three 30s is 90 and I have three 90s (pointing and circling the three groups of 90 on their paper).  But I still have one 30 left over.  So I gave one 10 to each 90 and that made three 100s.

One little guy couldn’t add up all the numbers so he skip counted by fives the whole way.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 3.54.29 PM

We’re still working on writing our numbers the correct.  Gotta love 2nd graders!

He allowed each square to represent 5-yards.  Definitely not the most efficient strategy but I’ll take it.  If this happens again I’d like to ask how he could be more efficient (combining two 5s to make a 10 or 20 squares makes 100).

Some students immediately went to paper and pencil to figure it out.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 3.52.54 PM

My concluding thoughts:

  1. There were A LOT of  layers to this task which made it extremely problematic for me and the students. 2nd graders are just being introduced to 2-step word problems.
  2. The focus of this task shifted more towards perimeter which is a 3rd grade standard.  I’m thinking it should be moved up a grade but I’m still chewing on this.  
  3. My big take-away: I need to do a better job preparing to make the math accessible. This is especially the case when tackling more complex tasks.

Now don’t get me wrong, all was not fine and dandy during the sequel.  I had about 5 students that were still completely lost.

There was the group that just copied the answer from one of the other groups.

There was the group that just copied the answer from one of the other groups.

And then there was the student that couldn't be bothered to do anything today.

And the student that couldn’t be bothered to do anything.

About gfletchy

K-8 math consumer trying to listen and learn each day. Stay thirsty my friends!
This entry was posted in Making Math Accessible, Strategy Development, Teaching in a Context. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Pulling the Plug on a Lesson (The Do-Over)

  1. Turtle Gunn Toms says:

    Way to walk the walk. Lovely.

  2. Christy says:

    We just finished measurement. Send me your stuff and I’ll try it with my second graders! I’m interested to see how they would solve it. Glad you got a chance to go save a bombing lesson!

  3. jenisesexton says:

    One of the hardest things to do as a teacher is to admit that you bombed a lesson. And to go back to the kids and say, “I sucked, let me try again” is uber powerful. It’s a demonstration that mistakes are learning experience to help you reevaluate your strategy and develop a different one when you weren’t successful.

    The task seems really rich and I’m sure it stretched their thinking. And most likely showed the teacher how far their students could go!

    • gfletchy says:

      I have no problem saying I sucked. It just means that there’s more room to grow.
      The ability to re-evaluate and reflect is something you continue to model beautifully and share on your blog Jenise. Thanks for inspiring!

  4. Josh says:

    Graham, I love this post because—for all of the talk about how important mistakes are to student learning—there’s still a culture for so many teachers that makes them close their door and pretend everything is smooth sailing, everybody is on target. Can’t tell you how much I respect your last paragraph and those last two examples of student work. Just a solid example to other teachers…and why I imagine you’re a pretty phenomenal one. Thanks for sharing.

    • gfletchy says:

      Thanks for the kind words Josh and I couldn’t agree more…
      Admitting mistakes and learning from them are extremely difficult to recognize as teachable moments (at least initially). Looking back, it’s the times when I’ve shared my failures that I have grown the most professionally. That in itself is the reason I use this blog and twitter.
      As time has passed I’ve realized that I need to keep learning to share and sharing to learn.
      And for your “phenomenal” comment….I’m definitely not there but I love hanging around peeps who are #mtbos.

  5. Latasha says:

    This is awesome Graham! I

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