Monday, September 10, 2012

Small change with a big payoff

Alright, so I'm a little slow, but something I've realized this year is that kids don't remember what we did in class last time.  At least not without a little reminder.  I've been getting much better about building  that into the beginning of my lessons, and it is so paying off!

What I've realized is that I spend a lot of time planning and thinking about the flow of my lessons, both in each class, and from class to class.  I'm also the one teaching and the one who is already good at math.  As a result, I am hyper-aware of what happened last class period when I go into today's class period.  I've been assuming my kids are also aware of what happened.

But, they aren't.  They don't hang on my every word, they don't look forward to what new math knowledge they can get today, they don't take a moment to reflect on where we are and what we are learning before class starts.  So I have to make them pause and reflect at the beginning of class.

I've been noticing that kids seem to understand more.  I feel as though I'm able to move forward instead of spend the class time reviewing things that "they should know by now."  All because of 1-2 minutes that I take at the beginning to refresh their memories.

It can be as simple as saying and asking, "Remember last time, we were talking about parallels and transversals?  Can you look back in your notes and remind yourself what a transversal is?" "List the 5 relationships between angles we talked about."  I've mainly been calling on a few kids (randomly...I don't pick volunteers for this one!) to answer my questions, but I also have the idea of having them write it down at the beginning of today's notes.

I really like this small change, even though it makes me feel a little dense that I didn't figure it out sooner.


  1. Sometimes it's the simple things we overlook. You make a great point. I'd like to be more intentional about this. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for sharing such a clever insight! The time you have your students is just a small sliver of their entire day. Why should it surprise anyone that they need a little memory jogging when they see you again the next day? Excellent. Thanks for sharing!