I was in a training about a month ago where the presenter mentioned a survey he had given to the leaders of various companies. The survey asked about the top skills companies look for in new employees. Any guesses about the responses? The top answers given were... the ability to collaborate, and good communication skills. These are skills we need to model, develop, and encourage in our students across content areas.
At the beginning of the school year, all of the staff members at my school are asked to share a hope and dream for the school year. My hope centered around giving students opportunities to share their learning in meaningful ways (check out my video below to hear it first-hand).
When students share their learning with others, I find that they take ownership over what they know - and what they still don't know. They are reflective and thoughtful about what to share and how to communicate it. They collaborate on building a better understanding of the concept before, during, and after sharing.
Enter 6th grade math class. A 6th grade teacher, +Mary R Moran, and I began co-teaching math last year, and together decided to be very intentional about teaching the academic language associated with the math concepts we were teaching, as we had many English learners in our class (I was the ELL teacher), as well as other students who seemed to have gaps in their understanding of basic math concepts. We wanted to provide our students with an authentic audience for practicing the vocabulary they were learning, and we wanted to find a way to archive and share all that each student was doing. So, we had each student create a math blog. Students posted math reflections and work samples on their blogs, and then commented on one another's blog posts to ask questions, share information or make connections with what they read. It was a great experience. The students took pride in what they posted to their own blogs, and really enjoyed commenting on each others' blogs. In addition, they had meaningful, authentic opportunities to share and practice their developing math vocabulary and understanding of mathematical concepts, and we could see their confidence in themselves and their math abilities grow as the year went on.
When this year began, Mary and I knew we definitely wanted the students to create math blogs. But this year, we wanted to take connecting to the next level. We started searching for other classes that were doing math blogs in an effort to encourage students to connect beyond the walls of the classroom. On Twitter, I came across an awesome site called Mathleteblogs.com - a site by @MathletePearce where student math bloggers can connect and share their math learning.
|Image from Mathleteblogs.com|
How do students in your school connect and share their learning?
Leave a comment below!
Would you like to connect with our math bloggers?
Check them out here: http://d279.us/math6blogs