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Private Universe Project in Mathematics



 

Channel-Talk


From: Dennis McCowan (mccowan@massed.net)
Date: Mon Oct 30 2000 - 09:37:05 EST

  • Next message: Dennis McCowan: "[Channel-talkpupmath] Thoughts on the readings from session two"

    The weston participants met to watch session 2 on Wednesday Oct 25 and
    began by discussing the readings from session one. We identified the
    following "significant items" from our reading:
    1. Students build on past experiences to form concepts
    2. Past experiences can "get in the way" of acquiring new concepts.
    3. Teachers are often unaware of students' past experiences (or lack
    thereof)
    4. There are "teachable moments" for prompting by the teacher.
    5. Teachers can be a barrier to representation building.
    6. Some students are content to quit without closure
    7. Questions can be left unresolved and learning still takes place.
    8. Kids need time to create and absorb representations
    9. Kids need tangible objects to work with.
    10. Good teachers give students an opportunity to learn things for
    themselves- they create "self-teachable moments."
    11. Process can be more important than product
    12. Group influence can be powerful or powerless.

    Several of us tried the pants and shirts or towers problem with our
    students. The first grade teacher in our group translated the shirts
    and pants problem into a package wrapping task- "I have three different
    wrapping papers and two different ribbons..."- she brought in squares of
    wrapping paper and snips of ribbon which students pasted together to
    make various combinations! She reported that her students initially
    were only interested in finding "the best" combination but that most of
    them managed to shift the focus to making as many differnet combinations
    as possible. By fifth grade most students saw the problem as a simple
    multiplicative task.

    I was intrigued by the growth shown by students in the second tape-
    especially by the way Stephanie had changed in her interactions with her
    peers. In the earlier grades she would talk over any interruption- but
    now her effort to listen to her classmates is palpable!

    Dennis McCowan
    Weston High

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