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Teaching Tip #12

December 16, 2011

Your tip this week is a reminder to circulate around your classroom often while students are working. We can easily get in the habitat of just responding to whatever hand comes up first. It is ok to tell a team, “I will be there in a minute” and often they will persevere and work out the problem while waiting for you to get back to their team in your circulation pattern. Make it a goal to visit each team at least twice per class and to physically join them and ask a few “pocket” questions about their work. While circulating notice your pattern. Is it always the same path? Do you cover all sides of a team or always pass by the same students? Keeping things varied can help keep students on task and give you a clearer assessment of how teams are functioning and how individuals in the team are developing. Keeping a list on a clipboard of which team you visit, which student(s) you talk to, what questions you ask, and which problems you have discussed… can keep you organized and give you feedback. Also, having a colleague come in and observe your class can also give you this feedback if they keep a clipboard with notes on these items. Try to focus on the math as you circulate and listen carefully to your students. It is both informative and revealing to hear all their ways of thinking!

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