Whole-Group Instruction

Mystery Problem

This strategy is a biweekly problem solving investigation on recently learned content. Typically students will be given sample scanned answers that I have hand selected. These problems have been previously solved. Students meet on the carpet for the mystery problem reveal. We also cover what the goal of our session will be using a checklist/success rubric. They are then dismissed to investigate in teams. The students select manipulatives to discuss, develop an agreed upon idea, and critique which student(s) response they agree with/why. If a team finishes early they can work on they "Step ahead" which is harder differentiated task. Finally they use the checklist to self reflect if they were successful during the mystery problem session.

Strategy Resources (3)
Students In Action
 
 
Lesson Plan
 
 
The Checklist/Rubric is an assessment tool students use to convey where they are with their task for the lesson or team task. The checklist has indicators students select from: starting to [understand], not yet, and Yes! The rubric is checked off as the team progresses through the lesson and at the conclusion they evaluate how they did. Using this rubric with student friendly language allows students to determine what there next steps may be during a lesson, provide constructive feedback to one another, or consider what they need work on to be ready for the next lesson.
Student Work Sample
 
 
The sample slides show the progression of the mystery problem. We start by revealing and reviewing the self-assessment checklist, consider what we know about the topic and move on to the mystery. Within the mystery problem slide, students determine which student written solution from their math journals is correct by solving the problem in their teams. Students are free to select any manipulatives we have available during the mystery problem team time.
Students In Action
 
 
Lesson Plan
 
 
The Checklist/Rubric is an assessment tool students use to convey where they are with their task for the lesson or team task. The checklist has indicators students select from: starting to [understand], not yet, and Yes! The rubric is checked off as the team progresses through the lesson and at the conclusion they evaluate how they did. Using this rubric with student friendly language allows students to determine what there next steps may be during a lesson, provide constructive feedback to one another, or consider what they need work on to be ready for the next lesson.
Student Work Sample
 
 
The sample slides show the progression of the mystery problem. We start by revealing and reviewing the self-assessment checklist, consider what we know about the topic and move on to the mystery. Within the mystery problem slide, students determine which student written solution from their math journals is correct by solving the problem in their teams. Students are free to select any manipulatives we have available during the mystery problem team time.
Freddy Esparza
Aspire Titan Academy
Los Angeles, CA


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Moderate
Subject:
Math
Grade:
Third grade
Similar Strategies
Routines and Procedures
Music Pair Share

This strategy helps to lighten the mood and get everyone moving. Students in a blended learning class at the elementary level need time to take a break from blended learning at various moments and engage with each other.This strategy facilitates the opportunity to lower the affective filter and have students engage in academic and non-academic conversations. We review the expectations for the transition and what their next steps are when they find a partner. Students spontaneously select a partner, put their hands up together in the air, and keep them there once everyone has a partner. we then decide by height and shirt color who will share first. Any students remaining are paired up accordingly. The song playing serves as a signal about when to go and when to stop moving.  

 
Blended Learning Model Overviews
Rotation Enables Small Group Lessons

At Aspire Titan Academy, we use a rotational model where some students engage with interactive software, enabling small group lessons for others. Our students have 90 to 120 minutes of individual computer time daily. Our rotational model is currently evolving to use more programs and create more rotations. The goal is to increase the opportunities for small group instruction where we can better meet individual needs.

Number of Students: 26 students

Number of Adults: one teacher; various other adults support during specific times (e.g., Blended Learning Coordinator, Special Education Teachers, etc.)

Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 60 minutes--two 30  minute rotations (Math Block)

Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: DreamBox

Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: Lenovo ThinkPads (1:2 ratio); SMARTboard; Document Camera; iPad (for teacher)

Key Features: station rotation; student agency


 
Mindsets
Freddy's Mindsets

A blended teacher’s personal mindsets shape his decisions as an educator. These mindsets influence general pedagogies, instructional approaches, and short-term decision making, alike. Check out how Freddy’s mindsets have helped to shape his blended instruction.

 
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