Tuesday, May 29, 2007


This past Saturday we had our last full-day National Board Cohort meeting before the summer. Again I learned things about learning and teaching since I was in the student mode. For one activity we were to learn about 3 of the 4 portfolio entries we were to submit. There are 3 HS math teachers going through the program, so we each learned one and then "jigsaw" taught each other. There was a sheet of paper we were to fill out with prompts for information we needed to focus on. I liked this scaffolding and want to adapt it next year to help the students get used to reading math textbooks. I did a bit of it last year, but I think with our new textbook adoption, the new books will be more readable.

I learned that I hesitate to ask questions when the others seemed to be working so efficiently. There was one prompt I couldn't find an answer to, and instead of "looking dumb" and asking the others, I floundered around for a while. Sheesh, it gives me empathy for students not wanting to ask questions and such.

I also learned that I didn't like the jigsawing too much. Maybe I'm too much of a control freak, but in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, "well, I can go over this more carefully myself later". Or maybe I'm missing the point. Maybe each person concentrates really well on one topic and learns it to teach it to the others and then when the others are teaching their topic, you're to go along and skim the pages while they're teaching and ask good questions and learn that way.

We also did this brainstorming activity where we were to write down all our teaching duties and accomplishments and how we contribute to the profession. The leader gave us sticky note pads, put us in a group of 2 or 3, and we were to write one accomplishment per note. Then we were to share with each other and combine the notes and organize them into categories. At the beginning of the activity (come to find out afterwards) we were all thinking that we didn't do much and how could we think of anything. Then through the discussion with our group mates, things one person noted prompted us to remember more than we could if we were by ourselves. And then the organizing of it all made it all stick in my mind more effectively. So, I don't know how I can use this as a teacher, but I know there has to be some learning task which lends itself to this in math. Not just remembering of facts or processes, but something.


  1. Anonymous8:35 PM

    I'd love to see what you come up with for scaffolding on reading the textbook. That is a consistent struggle for my kids and I would like to see them be better as I send them on....

  2. Anonymous12:05 PM

    I will gladly post anything I try. I think my first step is to maybe read some challenging, nonmath text myself and see what helps me process through the information, and then work that process into a "scaffold" for my students. I also want to think about how I can hold them accountable for reading homework effectively, instead of the possibility that they just copied the work from someone else. Maybe a discussion on why it's important and how it can benefit them.

    Ms. Cookie