Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Engagement - Collaboration - Success (in Mathematics)

In Math we are working on 3D Geometry. We are learning about different 3D figures and their characteristics. 

An activity that the students recently completed involved writing riddles about 3D figures using the characteristics listed in the anchor chart above. They were provided with an example and then were left alone to create as many riddles as they could in the time they were given for this activity.

They were given the choice to work alone or with a partner. This activity was done using a Google Document where all the students would be working within the same document at the same time. They were using Chromebooks to access the document via our D2L site.

Here is a photo of what the document looked like at the beginning of the activity:

You will notice that some students jumped right in and started creating riddles, providing me with information about their confidence and understanding of the subject material and the task. In the top right hand corner of the photo you can see the coloured letters which provides information on who is working in the document, providing me with information about who may need assistance getting to the activity.

As the students started the task I was pleased to see three students immediately pick up their Chromebooks and head straight for the anchor chart. After capturing a photo (below) of them using the chart to create their riddles I asked what they were up to. They said they wanted to be sure about spelling and work on the success criteria identified for this unit. Our learning goal and success criteria is right above the anchor chart but I was "in the moment" and didn't think to capture a photo of that.

As I moved around the room I saw and heard the same thing over and over again. Students were talking about their thinking and feverishly typing out their riddles. Here is a photo of three students working on their own. I must admit, even though they are sitting by themselves, they would get up and move around to ask questions of their classmates and classmates would approach them as well. 

After talking to some of the students and capturing some photos, I sat down at the computer and started looking through their work. I provided feedback where I felt is was necessary and then got back up and circulated the room. The photo below shows some of the comments I made in the document. 

It is pretty cool to hear the students talk about the comments I leave for them. It is almost instantaneous. I leave the comment and then I hear something like this: 1) Mr. C left a comment for me, he said.....or...... 2) he wants me to..... There is nothing more satisfying than seeing/hearing students get excited about feedback and then try and make changes/revisions based on my feedback.

As time was winding down I took another photo of our document - here it is nearing the end:

Here is another shot moment before I told them to finish their last sentence and change the sharing settings from "edit" to "view only".

The students did a wonderful job of staying engaged for the 20 minutes they spent working on this task. They effectively collaborated to assist each other and provide feedback and support. It was so amazing to see them and hear them as they remained focused on the task at hand. I captured some video to try and show you what it looked like and sounded like. Unfortunately, the video doesn't fully relay the intense and dynamic experience this activity provided. Here is the video for you to check out:

We will be reviewing the document today or tomorrow so that the students get a chance to answer some of the riddles that their classmates created. Judging by what I saw and heard during this activity the students shouldn't have too much difficulty figuring the riddles out. After all, they have already done the "heavy lifting" but don't really know it yet :)

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