Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't Be So Helpful!

I had the joy of spending a day learning from Dr. Yeap Ban Har, from Singapore, again last week.  I've seen him many times and always learn something new.  This time he talked about the importance of social learning for our students--how they can learn from each other with less help from us.

I use these strips for lots of activities, including vocabulary, divisibility rules, rounding and estimating, ordering, etc.  But this was a task for teachers.
Students have built the number 3,246. 

 You've asked them to find the number that is 300 less than this number, but they're struggling.  What questions can you ask the group to help move them?  And can you sequence your questions from the least helpful to the most helpful?  We tend to jump in and tell students what to do and rescue them.  As we work to build more perseverance, we need to be a lot less helpful.

These are the questions a group in TX came up with.  How would you sequence them from least helpful to most helpful?  What other questions would you add?  It's interesting to take the time to think through our questions.  To help our students more, we need to be a lot less helpful!

I've been working with place value strips for a long time. ( I'm very excited about Crystal Spring Book's new student-sized strips.  They come in sets of 10 or 30. .)

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