Small Teaching Chapters 5 and 6

Chapter 5 is about practice. Students should practice in the same way they will perform. Students should also practice to commit certain basic facts to memory, so that their working memories are not overwhelmed when doing more advanced practice. Students should also be mindful, or they may repeat errors instead of learning something new. Teachers should provide feedback on the practice as soon as possible and should do some practice in the classroom. Chapter 5 did not teach me much. I guess it reminded me to do more quiz-like activities to close class and it reminded me I should give some short writing prompts with instant, rather than delayed feedback.

Chapter 6 is about self-explaining. It opens with a result that I thought might just show correlation. Students who explained a task to themselves as they did it learned it better. Of course if you understood it better you are also more likely to be able to self-explain. There was a useful idea for math class, however. You can ask students to tell why they chose the process, or step that they chose. Then they will focus on the theorem, or big-picture idea in the class as they do any problem. I might add some of these questions to my worksheets in the winter.

Chapter 6 also said that backward fading, which I would call scaffolding, does seem to work in math. So, starting with steps defined and removing the reminders on later problems may help. I often already do this.

Finally, think-pair-share activities with Plickers (or other clickers) is useful. I do this from time to time and might want to start doing it more.

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