Here’s what some of our past professional development participants have said about our workshops:
Equity in the Classroom
This opened up the classroom to more in-depth math discussions as well as engaging more of the students – especially those that typically do not participate during a group discussion. [In my classroom,] I didn’t have the Leaders doing the work and the followers tagging along; it established a level classroom where all were active and equal participants. There were two students that participated voluntarily for the first time this year.
On Slowing Down to Support Students
The biggest change in my perspective was how notice wonder could change the speed in which students could ponder and answer a question. I never thought about the benefits of slowing down advanced students by giving directed think time … you are giving fast students the opportunity to understand the problem on a deeper level, while students who need more time are given the time they desire.
I noticed that “I notice, I wonder” doesn’t have to be reserved for word problems or performance-based tasks. It can also be applied to computational and abstract problems as well. I think that is exceptionally powerful because the strategy easily takes a computational problem from being rote to a problem that requires analysis, reflection, and discussion.
On Mathematical Collaboration
At first I felt nervous about what I was sharing and if it was “good enough”. I know many students feel the same way. The blind posts to the discussion boards were a little stressful. When I was able to read everyone else’s, I was worried if I was measuring up. This feeling diminished as I got used to the process. I was able to appreciate all of the different perspectives and experience, which enriched my own learning.
Additionally, noticing and wondering about other teacher’s work and student work felt less critical than other methods of feedback can be.
On Student-centered Instruction
Currently, when I have to help students with a problem that I don’t think they will be able to solve independently, I immediately start giving hints and explaining the first step, only asking students a question when I’m positive they’ll have the correct answer that will necessarily lead us to the most direct solution. But if I can use N&W more often, it will help students share the knowledge, observations, and logical skills they already have, and also mobilize students to start problems on their own instead of waiting for me to give them instruction.