It’s Mastery Week

So, this year I am trying something new — something new to me, and something new to my students. It’s inspired by an idea that I got from reading Passionate Learners by Pernille Ripp (@pernilleripp) and is the notion that students should have say over when and how they demonstrate mastery of a concept.

We have just come through our first concept in mathematics and literacy, and so this week, my students will be engaged in activities of their own choosing that they will submit to me to demonstrate their mastery of the learning intentions we have been working towards. In addition, each students will conference with me about their learning and will help make the decision about their marks at this point in time.

This is totally new to them. And they struggled a bit when I told them that I wanted them to design a task to show me what they have learned. There were a lot of blank stares, and confused looks, but then, as they saw the potential of what I was giving them time for, the ideas started flowing. They started seeing connections between the different learning intentions in different subjects. It was like watching them put the pieces of a puzzle together — realizing that it’s all connected!

I’m excited to see what they come up with. 🙂

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It’s Saturday morning, so you know what that means…

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I spend most of my Saturday morning much the same way: Coffee, something low carb to eat, and Twitter. It’s one of the few quiet moments I have to myself in my busy household, and I love it. (And today, it’s raining, so even better.). Each Saturday morning, I sit and go through my Twitter feed and read about all the great stuff other educators are trying in their classrooms. I used to do this and think, “Oh my gosh. I’m the worst teacher ever! I’m not doing any of this awesome stuff!), but now I think, “Okay, so last week was pretty good, but what can I do better? How can be I better educator?”. And so, here I am. I was doing my normal Saturday morning thing, and came across a couple awesome things I’m going to try.

  1. Stand and Talks. I try to get my students talking math (and literacy….) all the time. And usually I do the standard “think-pair-share”. I have noticed that this doesn’t work particularly well, but you know, I keep trying. (Isn’t that the definition of insanity?). Today, I came across a blogpost by one of my math heroes at her blog saravanderwerf.com about Stand and Talks. It incorporates some of my favourite things — math talks, student empowerment, and student engagement. Brilliant stuff.
  2. Number Talk Recording sheets. I love number talks. I love the wonder and beauty of mathematics that comes out during them, especially because I didn’t discover any of this beauty and wonder until a few years ago. Usually I do all the recording, but I love the idea of having students record other student’s thinking, and can see how this will be an amazing record for them  as they build their own thinking.

So, those are two of the things I’m going to try. There’s a little more time in my Saturday morning ritual, and so maybe there will be a few other things that I come across. So many great ideas out there — so much learning to happen! It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the things I want to try out, that I want to dive deeper into, and that’s what my bullet journal is for. And my students love Mondays — it’s the day that I try out all these things and see what they think.  I love that my students see that I’m always learning too.

Bring on Monday. Bring on a new week, a new day to be with my people, learning and growing.  I teach.