Yesterday I told you about how I use Head Problems in my class to begin the process of getting students to think and talk about math. Another thing I use, which I find VERY successful, are "Two Problems". The Two Problem approach was presented to me by my math coach about 6 years ago. It is not my creation, but boy, do I love it.
|Samples of Two Problems I used during Quarter 1|
The general guidelines of Two Problems are:
* Both problems are presented on the same page.
* The are ready for the kids to start immediately.
* This is a quick "lesson". It is not dragged out to infinitum. ;)
* Can be read aloud to give access to math vocab and content.
* Should be algined to the grade level standards.
* MUST be debriefed
I follow the 5-10-15 minute approach during my math period when using Two Problems.
5 minutes of independent work. Students must try and solve the problem alone, circling key words, figuring it all out, explaining the answers.
10 minutes of partner work. Students are then allowed to work with their table partner. This is also when I am walking around, listening to them discuss the math and ask guiding questions.
15 minutes of debrief. While I am walking around, I pick up two or three sample pages that I want to share on the board. There are NO NAMES on the papers, so when I put them up on the doc cam, the kids don't know who they came from. (we call this Anonymous Sharing) During this debrief, I am asking the kids to tell me what they see mathematically on the papers. How is the second paper different than the first? What strategies did the person use to solve the problem?
When choosing papers, I tend to find papers that are correct and use different strategies. The point of the anonymous sharing is not to see that the person got the final answer, but walk through the process of HOW that person did it. THIS is the most important and successful part of the Two Problems. When the students can discuss the process of math, it is much more internal than just doing rote memorization of rules. This is where math thinkers are made in my class. This is why I love Two Problems so much.
On a side note, I have been reading Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics: Grades 3-5 Volume 2(Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics Series) (Paperback) by John Van de Walle and am loving it. Seriously, it makes so much sense to me...and goes along with the ideas that I have been using in my classroom as far as teaching math. Great read.