Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I had to stop myself!!

There have been SO MANY great days this year (25 so far) but I think today HAD to be my favorite. Many of us love being in the act of teaching, so trying to NOT teach, and instead letting "the magic" happen without being the center of it....or the lead magician is difficult.  Students in Calc were working on some challenge problems that I gave them.  These are the same problems that I know students skipped on the (traditional) homework last year.  Now they could not avoid them!  The talk and explaining was FABULOUS!!  They worked so hard for all 54 minutes!!  Some were even there after the bell explaining their whiteboard to me!

But as AWESOME as all of that was, the best part what what I learned.  At the start of class, I read off the answers to derivative problems they had done for homework.  Then I asked for questions and a few students selected a couple problems they needed to see.  I was en route to a whiteboard to do my usual explanation, when "ding", the sound of an idea going off in my head, I decided to select a group to put up that problem on their whiteboard. About 4 problems were asked so I had 4 groups each responsible for a problem.  And they simply got up and put the solution up.  Then the students who needed that solution did a quick "gather round" for an explanation.  My "tiny brain" said: "isn't this what you were planning this year? LESS OF YOU and MORE OF THEM!"  It was truly magical!  But wait, there's more, they are doing it on a regular basis now.  Even though I REALLY WANT TO go to the board and explain, I am stopping myself and getting them to do it (while I supervise, of course).  It just ROCKS!

The best part is how excited the students are about this!  Smiling, high-fiving, raised fists in the air, claims of victory.  It is one big Calculus work out interspersed with celebrations and encouragements! We even decided that we should have our own twitter channel today: #calculete  and it is a big hit already!  I posted all these photos on it right away...and it has gone crazy all day with RT's and favorites.  Student didn't have this much enthusiasm last year!  I don't wonder why I want to be at work so much!  This enthusiasm is contagious!!

Stats was equally as "fun".  Students were reviewing for a test today and after talking about their review homework, we did some white-boarding practice with the Empirical rule.  Mini white boards are equally as awesome.  But after they finished, we went online to the following website to review more for their test tomorrow.  This website is maintained by Rice University and 2 others and is excellent for interactive feedback. If you teach AP Statistics, you should look at it.  I think I might use some of those questions on their test tomorrow!!

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