Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Year

It's been a while since I last updated and I apologize for the hiatus. Happy New Year! Here's to hoping that 2010 will be a great year for everyone out there.

I missed out on volunteering last week and didn't get a chance to catch up with my teachers. Unfortunately, my schedule will be changing in the near future and I need to figure out some logistics. I hope this means I'll have more time to blog about different experiences.

I met with one of my groups this week and we went over a fraction and decimal packet. The students had a hard time focusing this week because the lesson was set up differently than usual. All students in the class were rotating between the teacher, and two volunteers. My kids stuck with me in the group and we managed to get through the entire packet with some time to check over answers.

I've been trying to help my small group with multiple choice questions and figuring out the best way to get to the right answer. It's tough because most of the students I'm working with don't want to check their answers, they'd rather get the work done and go on to do other things. It might just be a kid thing, but I'm trying to get them to check their answers against each other when we're all done with problems.

There was one question in particular where the kids were adamant that their answer was right. I said I agreed with the student who got the question correct and then asked him to explain to the others why. As soon as he finished explaining his reasoning the others quickly said "oh yeah, that's what I thought too." Having their peers explain is INCREDIBLY helpful for the other students to understand and it reinforces the concepts or problems they're explaining.

I've been introducing the elimination method for taking multiple choice questions. I ask them to X out any answers that don't make sense. I'm not too sure they're catching on though. We worked on a problem that asked for the number higher than the population of NH and less than Maine. So we went through and eliminated any choices/numbers that were more than both populations. However, when we went through the questions again to eliminate any choices/numbers that were less than both populations, some of the kids got confused and then frustrated. I think we'll go through this again as the year progresses.


  1. That's interesting. I've also encouraged my kids to check answers with each other to get them to slow down. But I have one girl who always looks at her friend's answer and then immidiatly changes her own if it's different. I don't know exactly what to do about this, especially because her friend is almost always right, and I don't want to draw attention to this in front of everyone.


  2. I actually have a very similar problem with one of my groups. One student is very good at her math, but lacks confidence in her work and herself. The other students often say "She's already good at math, she doesn't even need to be here!" To which I say, "But she's here to help you guys!"

    I would suggest you ask her why she's copying. It's not really to make her feel bad, but I think acknowledging that you see her doing this is also important so she doesn't continue copying in the future.

    I think you can approach it in a way that isn't too intrusive, but questions her actions.
    "Are you sure that's the right answer? What if she's got the wrong answer and you copy her?"

    Then asking the student with the right answers, "Can you explain to everyone else how you got there/that answer?"