Students enter silently according to the Daily Entrance Routine. As we prepare for our Unit test tomorrow, I make sure to plan for students to talk, explain, and engage in a dialogue as a class about the answers to the problems they’ll encounter today. I aim to push them to use MP3 as a way to fully comprehend the algebraic concepts we continue to explore. The goal is to raise the student to teacher-talk ratio so that students are doing more of the explanation and justification for correct answers.
All students will be given 5 – 6 minutes to work independently on the do now. Then we will take the rest of time to explain answers. Each problem lists the major understandings needed from one or several different students along with some questions I ask to push this thinking:
Problem #1 – Solve Equations px + q = y
Problem #2 – MP1: Persevere to solve
Problem #3 – Geometry applications
This is the essential work I am asking students to complete for each problem on the SmartBoard or chalkboard. They are responsible for explaining the work or selecting someone they trust to explain it for them.
Once we are done reviewing each problem, I assign students into groups of 3 or 4. I created these groups the day before based on the skills students have been able to master in class or their ability to communicate in class about the material. Groups are heterogeneous in ability and knowledge. I distribute materials to each group once tables have been moved to form pods of 4. These materials include:
During this time students must elect a Showdown Captain to begin the round. Explain to students that there will be a new showdown captain for each round. Explain how Showdown is played:
What I’m doing: During the independent work periods I am walking around to ensure students are trying something on their papers. I give hints about concepts to consider, or steps to take when solving a problem (for example, “use a verbal model to translate”, “check your division again”). As a general rule in class, I remind students that without work they will fail to get their team points. I also hold a clipboard with a roster of all student names, keeping track of group points using the name of the first Showdown Captain to distinguish each group. I am also keeping a timer close by to let students know when it is time to begin and end rounds and when it is independent work time vs. coaching time.
What students are doing: Students are NOT to re-shuffle their cards when they receive them. They must remain in the same order given to them. To ensure the right order of questioning, I write numbers on the back of each card. During independent work times, students need to be working silently and independently. Points may be deducted for not following these directions. During the coaching periods, all students must show engagement in the conversations. Points may be deducted or students may be removed from groups to work on the graded assignment independently.
In the last few minutes of class we spend time rearranging the room to its original configuration. Students are given the “Task + HW” which is an assignment that includes all 6 problems visited during the game along with room to show work on lined paper. This assignment will be used as a classwork grade. Students are to work independently on this assignment or raise their hands to ask specific questions they still have about any question. This allows time for students to begin their homework or get a few extra minutes of my attention to help them grasp difficult concepts.