It’s been a long time since I started this blog b/c of the MTBoS. I appreciate all of these people who are just so SMART and thoughtful about what they do to improve the lives of kids.

I am finding it hard to figure out what I could have to offer in starting a new blog…I understand and respect the reflective process as an educator, so I can see the benefits for myself. But, I want to contribute as well…

I thought for this post I would ramble on about my observations of kids and their ability (or “inability”) to make meaning from print themselves. In my role as an Instructional Resource Teacher I have the unique opportunity to see a great variety of students from grades 6 through 8–below grade level to honors. I have found that a great many of these students have difficulty even making sense of directions independently.

When I was still in the classroom, teaching ** on grade level 8** students, it would take just a simple verbal prompt from me (basically reciting what the question was asking)…and students would say “ooh that’s all it (the question) wants me to do?” There could be some learned helplessness in there…but I think that we (math teachers) could do more to help students become better math “comprehend-ers”!!

What does this look like??? When I began to hear the discussion among ELA teachers at my school re: annotating text (according to Common Core), I thought…WOW! That could be a useful tool in the math classroom…put the ** thinking aloud** that I usually do with them as I’m teaching–on paper…link it to the print in a concrete way.

I had a Twitter conversation with @JustinAion and @cheesemonkeysf re: just this topic…

The ELA teachers in your building should have a process that the kids are used to. If you ask them (the kids)…they will tell you that they are annotating in their ELA class (if you are a Common Core state).

There is still a lot to discuss here…but I want to add one more great share by @lsquared76:

https://twitter.com/lsquared76/status/394982935872294912

I retyped it up for a 6th grade class using a task from @IllustrateMath:

I was able to use this in a 6th grade accelerated class (the teacher and I co-teach…he lets me try things). On this very first go around…I felt like the kids did well with the summarize questions on the left (remember these are the high kids though). However, articulating a plan (the part on the right) gave them some trouble. It did allow us to see the divergent thinking about how to solve the problem (which students recognized division of fractions vs repeated subtraction)…and then move into a discussion of efficient strategies. We will use this model again and collect more data.

So…this is my first “real” post…I have more I want to offer on this topic. But, I just felt like I needed to get this first one under my belt!

Thanks to the twitter folk that I mentioned here! *and @algebrainiac for helping with my embed issues!! 😉

welcome to blogging! eager to learn more about what your experience has taught you– this post reminds me of some unformed (and i think related) thoughts i had about annotation as a skill for helping students make sense of “word problems” or standardized test problems, which might interest you. the images in this post reflect the way i taught my students to annotate, which was derived in partnership with an ELA teacher in my building: http://educating-grace.blogspot.com/2011/12/problem-solving.html 🙂

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