Reflection: Student Ownership Checkerboard Poster Planning day 3 of 6 - Section 2: Differentiated work day


I feel like the long list of requirements for the poster were too prescriptive. Many of my students got lost in following the direction when what I really want them to do is start thinking for themselves. A strategy that worked really well the second time I used the checkerboard problem was to toggle back and forth between small group and whole group questioning.

Instead of giving my students a long list of directions and requirements I circulated and asked them what they were thinking and trying and where they were struggling. Then I either shared it with the class immediately or asked the student to share their idea. Allowing the whole group to explore each others different ideas gave my students a greater sense of ownership, autonomy, and engagement. They also were much more creative in their strategies and used rich descriptive language when explaining them. 

When a student was struggling I shared that with the class too by saying something like:

  • "Brianna has found something really tricky here. I'm wondering if anyone else is having trouble finding the overlapping squares."
  • "Can someone show us what Brianna means by 'overlapping' squares?"
  • "I wonder if we could find a way of figuring out how many there are without having to find and count each one?"
  • "Jason has an interesting way to keep track of his work that you might find helpful."
  • "Yessica is wondering if the pattern she has noticed will work on a rectangular board."

Not only did the my last question sound less prescriptive and guiding, but it also opened up the expectation that wondering was encouraged.

I like the idea of having my students present their ideas to the class, but I don't want all the posters to be the same. I want my students to have control over the strategies they come up with and I was surprised at the ideas they thought of.

  Creativity vs. compliance
  Student Ownership: Creativity vs. compliance
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Checkerboard Poster Planning day 3 of 6

Unit 2: Writing expressions
Lesson 3 of 7

Objective: SWBAT model the checkerboard problem in a visual format including a diagram, a table, as well as demonstrating properties of addition.

Big Idea: Students will communicate their solutions using a visual model.

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