This is the primary question for my time during the next eight weeks as a virtual math teacher. Essentially, via thirteen 45-minute small group lessons a week, I'll have the chance to work closely with math students to help them learn math with confidence and depth. How will I do that?
Present the problem
At the start of each lesson, I'll present the problem.
Grapple with the problem; productive struggle
Together we'll grapple with what that problem means. I'll foster this productive struggle with the following questions:
- What do we have to do now? Why?
- How might you rephrase this problem in your own words?
- Does this problem remind you of any problems you've solved in math class or during your daily life?
Since we know that visual models are far quicker teachers than words and numbers alone, we'll turn the problems into visual models. We'll play with the models and discuss the many ways we may make models to represent the problem. We'll color our models since we also know that color helps us to distinguish math concepts, patterns, and meaning.
Looking at problems and problem solutions from many perspectives
Students will have the chance to describe and solve the problems from many perspectives. They'll notice the many ways we can approach and solve a math problem.
Expressing the solution in efficient ways
Students will explore ways that we can express problem solutions in efficient ways including algebraic statements, simple sentences, images/diagrams, and concise explanations.
As the teacher, I hope that these lessons will help students to develop their depth and understanding of many fifth grade math concepts, skills, and knowledge. Also, as the instructor, I hope that these lessons will deepen my ability to teach math well. Students will also have the opportunity to practice these skills via multiple online venues as well as math projects.
This is a meaningful way to explore and develop math teaching for teachers and students during this learn-at-home time.