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Teaching Tip #18

March 21, 2012

SHOW YOUR WORK!!

This week make a conscious effort to see that everyone records their work. Sometimes teachers and/or students get the impression that by assigning the role of a recorder/reporter, there is only one person in each team who is responsible for recording the work that is done with the problems in the lesson. This is NOT the intention of the role–the recorder/reporter’s job is to make sure that everyone in their team records his or her own work.

It is important that all of the students record their work. A wealth of research about the writing process and the brain shows that the brain works one way when students explain their thinking out loud. It works in another way when students explain their thinking on paper (using math symbols and words). The benefit comes in the form of deeper understanding when students are able to explain their thinking both orally and on paper. If students work without speaking with their teammates or do not record their own work on their own paper, they are missing the full process of learning the mathematics deeply. Make sure that all students record their work. Find a way this week to increase the expectations you have for what they record on their paper. Consider collecting some of their work or initialing their completed work to show your commitment to looking at what they work on. You do not need to grade it, instead it should inform you of their level of understanding (or misunderstandings).

There are times when you want team ideas, solutions, and work shared with the whole class.  In these circumstances you can call on the recorder/reporter to share or summarize the work of the team.

Enjoy teaching today!

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