After yesterday’s closing “next steps” planning activity, the students should know exactly what they need to do! (The entry document for the activity is attached as a resource.) Due to the fact that most optional workshops have ended, it is a great time for you as the teacher to rotate around and visit targeted groups. Looking at the next steps that the students submitted yesterday can be really telling. At this time, students have typically finished up most of the requirements on the rubric and are working on polishing up how they are going to communicate the concepts to the 6th graders. Since the environment will be buzzing with activity, I project a stopwatch on my projector to keep myself accountable to 20 minutes. For those groups who are beginning to finish up, I discuss (without using exact terminology) the math practice standards.
All of these go a LONG way in illustrating the shift in emphasis with the common core! Exposing the 6th graders to mathematics that emphasizes problem solving, collaboration, and critical thinking is far more important than any other element or task in the project! It is a great way to network and show youngsters the true beauty and applications of mathematics.
This next portion of planning will vary based on your teaching situation. Perhaps you are collaborating with a middle school teacher, but the periods in which you have the students do not align. Or maybe your schedules match up perfectly and you are able to hold group-group Skype sessions with the kids. No matter what the situation, letting the students know the plan is important! Even if things don’t align as nicely as they will for me with my cooperating middle school teacher, be creative and find a way to allow the students to communicate their knowledge to the 6th graders. This can be through Skype, recorded videos, email’s, or even ol’ fashioned letters.
Even if this activity us not possible in your district, hopefully it inspired you to make connections with another classroom and try something different. It is extremely rewarding to be a part of!
My Tentative Agenda:
1) 10 minutes for the students to get situated while I connect the Skype session and speak briefly with the 6th graders. I will thank them for their work and for allowing our class to analyze their data. I will also emphasize that what they are doing is really cool, and I am excited for them to get to the high school! (In a high school as big and overwhelming as ours, this can go a long way towards making the kids feel comfortable when they do enter the building in a few short years!)
2) Whole class to whole class Skype session (lead by the teachers and a few pre-determined students)
a) Select students that are willing to share in the excitement of the problem!
3) Information sharing with the middle school students