Jan 8, 2012

i want a math classroom full of life.

In this 5th year, the classroom that excites me the most are the ones where genuine student interaction is commonplace. It's a classroom where students share their thinking with other students, so they can debate, teach, learn, and problem solve collaboratively. This is a stark contrast from how I felt in those opening years when a quiet classroom of note-taking, "I do's / we do's / you do's," and well-behaved kids is what brought me home with a smile. Nowadays, I want a classroom that's full of life. 

At the end of the day, math is math. The kids who enter my classroom on day one either love it and are great at it or are not and hate it. The former group typically maintains their abilities. The latter group may or may not change their perspective, despite all my efforts.

However, I know in 10 years, the vast majority of my students will care less about whether or not a triangle is obtuse, acute, or right given the lengths of three sides. I know it from experience. In fact, I myself only know this information because it's in my students' curriculum. So, at the very core, what valuable takeaways do students gain by being in my classroom for a school year? (It's a good question...)

These collaborative interactions in the classroom are skills that are applicable in the real world. The problem solving skills they apply, especially in an interactive setting, are skills they can use for life. When these types of interactions are structured well in my classroom, where students of all skill-levels are comfortable to participate and interact with math, my teacher self is smiling.

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