Monday, September 10, 2007

Sequence or Chaos?

Last week in class, I rediscovered the power of turning class over to student -- at least in the math section. The article we read about the use of language in mathematics, specifically symbols, was really good [and I wish the one on language in science had had the strategy suggestions that were in the math article]. I had students select one strategy, apply it to some concept in math and present the idea to the class. Wow! How creative these pre-service teachers are; I was amazed at their energy in presenting their ideas. I wondered, for a moment, what it would be like to just wander through the topics in any old order -- sort of a chaotic meander through content area reading. We took an extra day with the presentations, but I really don't care. I'll make up the time somewhere, but I'm still wondering about abandoning the "lock-step" order I've outlined. I truly believe that assessment has to come first - and that they need a firm grounding in assessment topics they aren't likely to have experienced as students [getting to know you strategies, for one thing]. But at the moment it feels a little like trying to run through knee-deep water - sort of slogging through topics. Maybe it's just me, though. I didn't mind going down the "rabbit hole" of the strategies, and I'll do it again when we need to; but I guess I'll keep slogging through. For one thing, if I abandoned the schedule totally, the students would really feel like class was chaotic [which is, now that I think of it, a bit like a real classroom].

Oh well, for now, we will consider assessment - so I'd better get busy. Both science and math groups gave me a lead into criteria - a nice coincidence.

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