Monday, April 30, 2018

Teach 180: Stand & Talk, Some Success (Day 150)

Today I tried the "Stand and Talk" strategy that Sara Van Der Werf shared at the NCTM annual conference.  I told my students that we were going to try something that I learned at the conference and that I was hoping that they would amuse me by trying it.  (Shoutout to my students for letting me try new teaching ideas with them.)  We did the "Stand and Talk" strategy in 3 of my 4 classes.  In my two AP Stat classes, it was "da bomb" in terms of student engagement.  We had just gotten done reviewing some multiple choice questions. The timing for this strategy was perfect, as I noticed that a few kids were starting to nod off.  I had the students do a "Stand and Talk" related to the AP Free response 2015 question.  This was a perfect question to discuss - no calculations involved and a pair of boxplots for the students to compare.  Not only did I get more out of every student in 2 minutes related to this question, I noticed that students were more willing to volunteer what they had discussed with their partner.  Students that would have not shared their ideas before were more willing to share!

That "Stand and Talk" in two of my classes.  What about the third class?  In PreCalculus, we had reviewed the graphs of all six trig functions before I went to NCTM.  I started that class with a handout of all 6 trig functions.  The handout showed the graphs, their domains, ranges, etc.  For the PreCalculus "Stand and Talk",  I told student to pick two of the six functions and describe how they were alike and how they were different.  This went o.k., but there was definitely not as much energy
as in my AP Stat classes.  Why?  Two reasons.  First, I did not have the questions written down somewhere for the students to reference.  (Wait?  What are we supposed to do again?) Second, we did this at the beginning of class after a three days of not having classes.  I was having the students go from 0 to 60 without any sort of warm up.  Had I done our "Stand and Talk" in the middle of class, it would have probably been more successful.

The two key takeaways for me? First, it's ok to try something new.  Second, if it doesn't work, don't abandon it, but try to figure out what went awry.  Tweak it.  Try again.  Stay tuned to tomorrow's blog to see how my tweaks turn out. 

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