School ends in 3 days and the students are antsy! To engage them in math, while their minds are on swimming and sleeping in, I tell them they are to become authors and publish a math workbook. The people solving their work will be all of the third graders in our school and another school in our district, where I have a friend that teaches.
On the board, I write all of the parameters of the workbook assignment. They are:
I also tell the students they will work in small groups of 3-4. They may decide to divide the work, or work on one problem at a time, together. I will put all the mini books together as a larger book and make copies for everyone.
As student groups begin to work, I roam the room and watch for situations that call for help, or opportunities to prompt deeper thinking. During this activity, I am watching, obviously, for students to recall all of their learning, organize it by backwards thinking in order to create questions, and demonstration of solid strategies for their solution pages.
This student was working on one problem in his section and had the solution written, but did not add any helpful strategy work. I spent some time working with him in order to add to his solution.
This team of girls was working on checking their solutions and realized that they had made a mistake in the way the question was asked. This is analytical thinking and hard to do. My role isn't to do the thinking for them, it is to listen and have them think out loud to me.
As a closing, I ask students to trade some of their work with nearby teams in order to share the different question types and solution strategies. Because I ask students to write problems for work that we did throughout the year, this was a helpful step because some students had "forgotten" a few details and needed review they were able to gain from peers.