Monday, November 2, 2009

1st week

After emailing the Math Rules! volunteers, I've gotten a few responses on how the first few sessions/first week went. Most of the responses I've gotten were positive, things going as smoothly as first days go. Many of our volunteers will be starting this current week so I can put up more responses of 1st sessions next week.

One of our volunteers did have a question about keeping students focused in their session. Here are excerpts from my reply. Please keep in mind I'm not a professional tutor/educator and only offered advice based on my previous tutoring experiences.
"Keeping kids focused is definitely a big part of the volunteer experience. I have found that a little bit of competition is healthy to keep them focused. And if competition is not quite what you're looking for, you can ask them to help each other out. For example, "Mary could you help Joe put his shapes together?" You could also try refocusing the entire group together, "Let's all look at Annie's tetromino."

The great thing about the math curriculum now is that it focuses on group work and building off other students' ideas to help them with their work. Make sure you ask open ended questions that build off of the previous one. I've learned that these questions are called spiraling questions that start off with very basic questions that make sure everyone is on the same page. Sometimes these basic questions may frustrate more advanced students, but math terminology is important to understanding math concepts.

I think that it takes some time for [the tutor] to understand how best to motivate your kids. It also depends on their personalities quite a bit. It's hard to prepare everyone for real-world volunteering during [Math Rules!] training. If focusing becomes a bigger problem throughout the year, I would ask your teachers for ideas and suggestions."

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