Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Uplifting Units: Embedding Research into the Place Value Unit

When I read research, I like to think about how I'll embed that research sooner than later to uplift teaching and learning.

Inspired by the books, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood and the Rest of Y'all Too, Empowered Educators, and Thank You for Being Late, I'm thinking about how I might elevate the place value unit fifth grade teachers are expected to teach.

First, I want to think about those future-ready skills that teachers and students are expected to employ for modern-day schools and success. I also want to consider Emdin's and Empowered Educators research with regard to equity.

With this criteria in mind, I'll roll-out the unit in the following ways.
  • What do you know about place value?
  • Here's what we're expected to learn - the standards.
  • Explicit introduction to the base 10 place value with model making.
  • History of the base 10 place value system--providing context.
  • Practice with vocabulary and basic place value concepts/skills.
  • Focus on this challenging base 10 place value concept:
  • Tell students that this standard is challenging to teach and learn.
  • Show students many of the ways that I've introduced and taught the concept in the past, and explain that I'm still not satisfied so using the research that points to the fact that students learn most when they teach, and students learn well in teams. Then propose the floor-to-ceiling Team Teach project where teams of students are asked to teach that standard in a way that they believe students will learn it well. They can use any traditional or untraditional method such as video, rap, music, poems, drama, drawing and more. The lessons should last between 10-15 minutes. Provide a list of online/offline resources to assist their creativity, planning, and presentation.
  • I'll give students significant time to work on this Team Teach challenge. Then students will present each lesson. 
  • At the end, we'll assess the learning both formally and informally.
  • As Emdin suggests, throughout the process the students will teach me too as I watch the ways in which they team, teach, and react/respond to each lesson. I'll also pay attention to the charts on this page to make sure that equitable and future-ready practice is at play throughout the learning process.

I always like to begin the year with an exciting and new unit focus, a focus based on new research related to the world of teaching and learning as well as cognition. I know that this unit will excite students and build deep knowledge. I'm excited to think about where they will take the learning. I'll report back throughout the process. Onward.

Good advise to use as we lead our learners.