Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Posing Math Questions

One of the best things about flipping our math classroom, I have found this year, is the level of questioning the students are doing on a daily basis. For homework, students are watching our created videos and taking notes on their notecatcher (see our Franklin Math Google Site link to the right). One part of the notecatcher that every student has to do is ask a question. (We are grading the notecatchers on effort so the students have to exert effort when posing a question, or they will receive a 2 on effort and have to redo it until it is a 3 in effort). The questions they are asking are so much deeper than they ever use to ask teaching math the traditional way! Today, a student in my 5th grade math class asked "Are half protractors used more than full b/c half protractors are built off a straight angle (180 degrees)?"-we are learning about the relationship between angle measures. Another student inquired how our essay writing unit connected to naming an angle with three variables with the vertex in the middle. He said "Isn't naming angles kind of like writing an essay? You have to start with the introduction (first point), then support your thesis (vertex) and end with a conclusion (last point)?"
We spend 5-10 minutes at the beginning of every math period discussing the questions that students wrote in their notecatchers (we read notecatchers and grade for effort and prepare answers to questions before math every day). That discussion is an exciting way to start math b/c instead of just naming our learning goal and giving instruction, we are inquiring authentic, meaningful questions(usually trying to connect our goal to real life) which motivates the students to then do their independent work. It is truly fun.
This has also enriched our whole day b/c they are learning to ask deeper, more meaningful questions all day. In my reading conferences, I am finding that I link their questions from math to reading when we discuss how reading is going for them. So, this work we are doing in math is helping and integrating itself into our whole day. It is truly awesome and so fun, not words I always used to use when teaching questioning strategies and/or measuring angles!

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