Reflection: Shared Expectations Patterns in Subtraction (Day 2 of 2) - Section 2: Warm Up


When I came back my students said the sub had yelled at them when they tried to talk to each other and expected them to work quietly on their own. They also said the sub didn't give them enough time to figure it out on their own.

I should have explicitly written about these procedural norms in the sub plan. I remember these ideas as being huge shifts in my own practice when I started transitioning to Common Core. I remember feeling stressed as the noise level rose in the class while each group was talking at the same time. It was difficult at first to embrace what sounded like chaos, but the more I listened in on conversations over time, the more I realized they were on topic. I found that the real value was in the conversations they had about their ideas. It allowed them to confront misconceptions, clarify their ideas, co-create a deeper understanding.

I remember being stressed about 'covering' all the topics in the pacing guide when I realized that allowing my students to discuss and struggle and figure things out was going to take so much longer than I had anticipated. I remember making a decision to let my students' thinking and needs guide my pacing rather than the pacing guide. It seems like a no-brainer until you find yourself justifying this decision to peers and supervisors.

And as I found myself learning math along with my students I realized I didn't always need to be the single expert in the room and have all the answers. The real learning came from my students examining and reconciling the ideas that they and their peers had. What I needed to do was listen to and try to understand my students' mathematical ideas and use those ideas to push their thinking.

But these realizations and decisions were invisible to the sub. He still had those old beliefs that math was about right answers, classrooms should be quiet, struggling was a bad thing, and teachers should be leading the lesson. 

I wonder how differently it would have gone had I added something like the following to my plan:

"My students will need to talk to each other to figure it out. They should only be working in their small groups and it may get a little loud. Walk around and listen in to make sure they are talking about the math. If you feel it's is too loud, ring the chimes and ask some of them to share their ideas, then let them get back to discussion. They should be coming up with all the ideas and they should be trying to convince each other and you. If they ask you something you are not sure about put it back on them by asking "what could you do to verify that?" or "what makes you say that?" or ask the rest of the group what they think. This type of work often takes longer than I anticipate, so don't worry if it does, just let me know how far you got."

  Two reasons this lesson might fail with a sub
  Shared Expectations: Two reasons this lesson might fail with a sub
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Patterns in Subtraction (Day 2 of 2)

Unit 4: Operations with Integers
Lesson 13 of 24

Objective: SWBAT compare equivalent sum and difference expressions and explain why they are equivalent.

Big Idea: Students will begin to see that subtracting and adding the opposite are equivalent.

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Math, compare-and-contrast, Number Sense and Operations, Operations and Expressions, Sub Plan, integer subtraction, cultural norms
  54 minutes
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