Tracking math learning in group settings and using white boards

Using VNPS (vertical non-permanent surfaces) in my classroom has greatly changed student learning. No longer is the teacher the only holder of knowledge, students have more opportunities to learn from each other and share their knowledge with their peers.

Students also enjoy the problem solving using VNPS. When I interviewed 6 students this week, they all agreed that it was a great opportunity and worked well with their learning style. Usually the work at the VNPS has been either re-inforcement of a skill or review for an upcoming assessment. Students like the large work space, the ability to erase, if needed, and the opportunity to see a variety of solutions to a problem.

However, in my teaching brain, I feel like there is something missing to this work. After chatting with students and colleagues this week, I realize that part of my problem is that I can't really vocalize what I think is missing. Some things that I feel need thought are

  • how do I keep a record of the work that is done on the boards? Some students take photos for their own learning but I don't have a running log of the work that is being done.
  • how do students track their progress in acquiring skills while working at the board? If a student gets stuck and asks a peer for help, they may get the correct answer on the board but if the same issue arises in their homework, how do they know what to do if the work has been erased from the board?
  • how do students (or do they need to) reflect on their work at the boards? I feel there should be some individual follow up on how student learning of a skill has changed as a result of the problem solving at the boards.
  • how does the teacher provide more formal feedback to students about their learning of the key skills? Currently, the teacher walks around the room and provides on the spot feedback but how could this feedback be provided in a format that is more permanent?

So that's where my journey of the year will begin. Hopefully the next F2F session will give me a bit more clarity as to how to "solve" or a plan to follow to address at least one of these wonderings.

One thought on “Tracking math learning in group settings and using white boards

  1. Hi @jgravel,

    Thanks for sharing these insights! This will be an excellent starting point for tomorrow, as we dive deep into Design Thinking. I wonder what your student's responses would be to some of your wonderings? What if you took some of these questions back to your students and co-constructed experiments to address these thoughts together? Who knows, your students might have some innovative ideas for keeping a record of their work or for tracking their progress. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow and watching your Action Plan begin to take shape.

    Cheers,
    Nicole

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