Topic (follow-up to Friday, 14th January 2011):
Should mathematics lessons be planned and designed for long-term or short-term effect?
As it happened on Monday, 17th January 2011, 20:30 - 22:00 GMT
8:34 pm
ColinTGraham:
Hello everyone, welcome to today's #mathchat
8:35 pm
ColinTGraham:
The topic is: Should mathematics lessons be planned and designed for long-term or short-term effect? #mathchat
8:37 pm
ColinTGraham:
What we never really pinned down the first time through, was what we see as being long-term and short-term #mathchat
8:39 pm
ColinTGraham:
We also might want to consider the difference between lesson design and lesson planning #mathchat
8:39 pm
dweksler:
Is it too simple to make it a digital choice, long OR short term? #mathchat
8:40 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler Maybe, David, but at some point, one or other will tend to take precedence. The question is how that choice is made. #mathchat
8:44 pm
chris_1974:
unfortunately ofsted seems to look only at short term gain in lessons, what can they do at end that they cannot do at start. #mathchat
8:45 pm
ColinTGraham:
Another way of asking the question is to say: How do you decide on the balance between short-term demands & long-term gain? #mathchat
8:45 pm
chris_1974:
there needs to be more focus on long term, problem solving skills (crops up week after week) and interprestation. #mathchat
8:46 pm
dweksler:
Does it make sense to think about learning skills==short term while seeing applications and connections are the long-term goals? #mathchat
8:46 pm
ColinTGraham:
@chris_1974 OfSTED (government inspectorate in the UK) is only one factor, though, albeit a fairly weighty one! #mathchat
8:47 pm
chris_1974:
@dweksler how to do trig = short term, how to use trig = long term, for example? #mathchat
8:47 pm
chris_1974:
@chris_1974 many internal audits use same criteria also. #mathchat
8:48 pm
chris_1974:
@ColinTGraham many internal audits use same criteria also. #mathchat (replied to self - D'Oh)
8:48 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler That's one way David. I also see building small-scale achievements and successes into lessons as part of confidence bldg #mathchat
8:48 pm
dweksler:
Understanding the trig in a right triangle - determing the height of a lampost from its shadow - an example? #mathchat
8:49 pm
ColinTGraham:
@chris_1974 Internal audits, by their nature, are intended to ensure 'the system' is being followed. #mathchat
8:50 pm
ColinTGraham:
@chris_1974 Although we'd like to change the system... what do you see as the long-term/short-term within its constraints? #mathchat
8:52 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler Accepting your short=learning skills, long=applications and connections, you still need to choose how to design lessons. #mathchat
8:54 pm
chris_1974:
within a lesson my plan is usually to try and work with the skill, and build up to applications and uses. #mathchat
8:56 pm
ColinTGraham:
@chris_1974 So are you taking the school year as the boundary for your scheme of work, or the next key stage exam or...? #mathchat
8:56 pm
dweksler:
Holding the two in your head at the same time describes my interest in problem/project-based learning - keep the big goal in mind #mathchat
8:57 pm
chris_1974:
@ColinTGraham Hmm. SoW? I have a personal tendency to go too far! Quaratics w/ Y10? Why not discuss imag. numbers? #mathchat
8:59 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler In a PBL approach, do you look at each project as a long-term or mid-term goal? #mathchat
9:00 pm
ColinTGraham:
@chris_1974 The question is, do you discuss imag. numbers with Y10 (14yo) if they can handle it? #mathchat
9:03 pm
chris_1974:
@ColinTGraham of course. Have also done shortest path analysis for 13 y.o. and networks.maths should be engaging. #mathchat
9:03 pm
chris_1974:
@ColinTGraham also with able students they need to know where it is going. Lots of statements like "When you do A level / degree". #mathchat
9:03 pm
dweksler:
@ColinTGraham IThere are short, mid and long term goals involved. Completing the project - building a bridge - is the goal #mathchat
9:05 pm
ColinTGraham:
@chris_1974 What about those not intending to do A-level/degree? Do you get questioned about how it fits with the GCSE curriculum? #mathchat
9:07 pm
chris_1974:
@ColinTGraham in terms of maths, I'm the boss, so no awkward questions. ALL need to see how it fits to world around them. #mathchat
9:07 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler How do the timing of projects and lesson length impact each other? What do you need to do in the short-term? #mathchat
9:09 pm
ColinTGraham:
@chris_1974 What advice would you give to teachers who are not the boss, in terms of trying to do what you do in your lessons? #mathchat
9:13 pm
ColinTGraham:
Let's open up the discussion a little and ask: What can successfully be done in the short-term and what needs more time? #mathchat
9:14 pm
chris_1974:
@ColinTGraham it's difficult to pin down. We need to get across the usefulness of maths, and our enthusiasm for the subject. #mathchat
9:18 pm
ColinTGraham:
Most countries have some kind of major test at 11/12, 15/16, 18/19yo. Can/should lessons ignore looming deadlines for long-term? #mathchat
9:19 pm
teachdig:
The biggest problem I find with short term is the long term retention of ideas does not come if not revisited. #mathchat
9:20 pm
teachdig:
I think the ideas of logic and number sense are long term goals. The question "Does this make sense?" should be a long term idea. #mathchat
9:21 pm
ColinTGraham:
@teachdig Do you see the short-term as a lesson, or a period of time within a lesson or something else, Dvora? #mathchat
9:24 pm
ColinTGraham:
Any other long-term ideas for mathematical thinking? RT @teachdig: ... "Does this make sense?" should be a long term idea. #mathchat
9:26 pm
ColinTGraham:
For example: "Where does this lead?" "What does this connect to?" could both be used in the short term for long-term effects #mathchat
9:26 pm
teachdig:
@ColinTGraham I see it as an idea being covered... oft 1 lesson but depends on type of schedule. #mathchat
9:27 pm
CarissaJuneK:
@teachdig I think too much of the time we teach steps for specifics problems, not enough logical thinking and general steps #mathchat
9:27 pm
teachdig:
"What does this connect to?" is a great way to bridge from short to long term. #mathchat
9:28 pm
dweksler:
How about "When will this be used?" as background music in math class? #mathchat
9:28 pm
ColinTGraham:
"Where else can this be used?" is also useful. RT @dweksler How about "When will this be used?" as background music in math class? #mathchat
9:29 pm
ColinTGraham:
@CarissaJuneK Maybe the shortest term is finding the answer to a specific problem. Perhaps too much weight is attached to that. #mathchat
9:30 pm
CarissaJuneK:
@ColinTGraham for example teaching slope intercept form as y=ax+k and discussing what a does as similar to vertex form y=a(x-h)+k #mathchat
9:30 pm
ColinTGraham:
RT @CarissaJuneK: at least in US we are tested so much, we teach gimmicks to learn concepts. Where as we should be relating topics #mathchat
9:31 pm
CarissaJuneK:
@ColinTGraham whole heartedly agree, we test every year from 7yo to 17 yo #mathchat
9:31 pm
teachdig:
@CarissaJuneK Very true. It can be hard to step back and let Ss explore. Time becomes a factor. #mathchat
9:32 pm
ColinTGraham:
Maybe all of the ideas or short-term steps have been grouped into so many separate groups that maths teaching has fractured #mathchat
9:32 pm
ColinTGraham:
RT @DCraig42 @CarissaJuneK gimmicks are sometimes the only way to get through mandated material is this test test world we live in #mathchat
9:33 pm
teachdig:
@ColinTGraham I think true. I do prefer integrated math for that reason though still too much content to allow time for thought. #mathchat
9:34 pm
ColinTGraham:
@teachdig Time is at the heart of most of what we need to think about in teaching! Not all Ss are comfortable exploring... #mathchat
9:35 pm
CarissaJuneK:
@colinTgraham, I am the queen of gimmicks, but as I teach more high level maths each year, it gets increasingly frustrating...#mathchat
9:35 pm
ColinTGraham:
Where there is "too much content", how do you counteract the type of short-term approach coverage often demands? #mathchat
9:36 pm
CarissaJuneK:
@colintgraham because my students do not have basic logical reasoning skills #mathchat
9:36 pm
ColinTGraham:
@CarissaJuneK It can sometimes be fruitful to explore why the gimmicks work, with higher-level Ss. #mathchat
9:37 pm
teachdig:
@ColinTGraham I think Ss not comfort exploring because not done enough. Guiding early expl helps later... connects to unschooling #mathchat
9:39 pm
CarissaJuneK:
@colintgraham, agreed, and I think I should take the time to do it! #mathchat
9:39 pm
ColinTGraham:
Most people who've discussed this topic here suggested that long-term=number skills for life, but systems don't allow this easily. #mathchat
9:41 pm
Cassyt:
@ColinTGraham How about teaching for foundation knowledge - long-term number skills for life, "tests/systems" be damned? #mathchat
9:41 pm
ColinTGraham:
@teachdig So long-term would be a shift towards exploration and short-term is introducing the techniques of exploration? #mathchat
9:43 pm
DCraig42:
@ColinTGraham @teachdig giving up control to the students is tough for some to accept and manage #mathchat
9:43 pm
ColinTGraham:
@Cassyt That is the ideal which we all aspire to Cassy! The challenge is who decides on foundations, and what they are building #mathchat
9:44 pm
frogphilp:
@DCraig42 Agree with that - yet most students 'feel' out of control in maths - they need to get the control back #mathchat
9:44 pm
ColinTGraham:
@DCraig42 There is also an element of support from outside the lesson too. Admin/colleagues/parents all 'have a say'... #mathchat
9:44 pm
teachdig:
@DCraig42 @ColinTGraham That is so true. I know it even in myself. External demands don't make it easier either. #mathchat
9:45 pm
teachdig:
@ColinTGraham I like the way you put it. Yes to me that would be the ideal. #mathchat
9:45 pm
ColinTGraham:
@frogphilp How do you handle time-scales in your situation, Steve, where the students are bringing their own problems to work on? #mathchat
9:45 pm
DCraig42:
@frogphilp teacher needs to maintain control and yet allow exploration when possible. Small group instruction the only way #mathchat
9:46 pm
Cassyt:
@ColinTGraham Easy for me to say-and do, too, seeing as I focus on k-6. #mathchat
9:46 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham I do 7 weeks of student-led maths to focus on problems, then 7 weeks of teacher-led maths to focus on skills #mathchat
9:47 pm
ColinTGraham:
@Cassyt Early years teaching also tends to have less 'labelled' topic areas, so the mathematics can be more integrated than later. #mathchat
9:48 pm
ColinTGraham:
@frogphilp Within the 7-week period, is it one problem per week or do some problems take longer/not get solved in student-led time #mathchat
9:51 pm
teachdig:
@frogphilp Interesting idea. What type of guidance do you give the students on their led time? Can they choose any topic? #mathchat
9:51 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham Depends on the problem. Some not solved, some in less than 1/2 hour - there's always an interesting tangent to take #mathchat
9:53 pm
ColinTGraham:
Any further thoughts, in the final 10 minutes, about achieving a short-term/long-term balance in lesson planning? #mathchat
9:53 pm
DCraig42:
@teachdig @frogphilp students receive choices how to explore but topic areas often picked for them esp the lower level learners #mathchat
9:54 pm
colport:
@ColinTGraham Just spotted #mathchat topic. About planning maths lessons?
9:55 pm
ColinTGraham:
@colport Basically planning for short-term vs planning for long-term effect, Colin. #mathchat
9:55 pm
DCraig42:
The more motivation a child has to learn, the easier it is to give them more freedom in guided math formats #mathchat
9:55 pm
frogphilp:
@teachdig Depends on students. I've been working with high achievers recently... About start working with SEN - could be harder... #mathchat
9:56 pm
colport:
@ColinTGraham Ok, thanks for clarification #mathchat Weekly maths planning is one of my professional hates :-( #mybad
9:56 pm
carneysandoe:
Students use math to solve mock crimes: http://bit.ly/etpOpL Is your school trying anything like this? #mathchat #edchat
9:56 pm
frogphilp:
@DCraig42 Agree with that - Lower level students often taught to get to a point, rather than starting from where they're at. #mathchat
9:57 pm
ColinTGraham:
@colport We can/should have a #mathchat about planning lessons, especially for those who don't like/enjoy it!
9:58 pm
colport:
@ColinTGraham I'd be there for that #mathchat I love teaching the subject HATE planning it. Takes AAAGGGGEEESSSSS (yawn)
9:59 pm
ColinTGraham:
@colport Maybe #ukedchat and #elemchat would be interested in planning maths lessons for primary? We all meet on Thursdays... #mathchat
9:59 pm
DCraig42:
@colport @ColinTGraham yes these topics we discuss make math planning tough, you can't predict in advance always where you head #mathchat
10:00 pm
ColinTGraham:
I think, as usual, we have opened up a range of things to consider! Thanks for your contributions everyone. #mathchat
10:01 pm
ColinTGraham:
Don't forget to vote for the next topic: http://mathschat.wikispaces.com/Current+Poll #mathchat
10:01 pm
teachdig:
@ColinTGraham @colport That would be a great topic. #mathchat
10:01 pm
ColinTGraham:
Also, add some more ideas for future topics: http://bit.ly/gqjSiX #mathchat
10:03 pm
teachdig:
@frogphilp Would you offer choices if students do not come up with ideas on own? #mathchat
10:03 pm
colport:
@teachdig @ColinTGraham Hate it, hate it, hate it! Ideas 2 make maths planning a joy for primary teachers would be good #mathchat @DCraig42
10:04 pm
ColinTGraham:
Feel free to keep chatting, the archive from today's discussion will be online in about 20 minutes #mathchat
10:04 pm
colport:
@ColinTGraham Sorry to sabotage #mathchat with my issue of weekly planning for maths lessons #mybad
10:06 pm
ColinTGraham:
@colport Not sabotage, it was an element of the topic today, anyway. Also, introduces topics for future discussions too... ;-) #mathchat
10:07 pm
dweksler:
@colport One hopes sabotage may lead to creative problem-solving even using math skills #mathchat
10:07 pm
teachdig:
@colport @ColinTGraham @DCraig42 I think this is where collaboration is key. I would love a job working with elem to plan math. #mathchat
10:07 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler Especially if you have to calculate the ideal trajectory of the sabot before you throw it in the machinery! #mathchat
10:08 pm
dweksler:
@ColinTGraham Or even what size sabots you wear ;-) #mathchat
10:10 pm
colport:
@teachdig That would be amazing...but we're all stuck in our little bubbles. Collaboration would be good #mathchat
10:13 pm
dweksler:
@colport This and other online math communities are intended, IMHO, to make connections between those bubbles http://bit.ly/uswFJ #mathchat