As we plan for our third full week of instruction, I’ve started implementing two Do Now’s a week, Tuesday and Thursday at the start of math class. Heading into week three, I’m ready to begin Jamboards…finally!
I started by going back through lots of the past Jamboards, trying to think about which style and which content would be the best introduction to the practice. Of course, that made me think about what I wanted to emphasize as we began the Jamboards. When I first posed that question to myself, I answered, “Working successfully in groups.” But what does that actually look like? Breaking this down, I came up with the following:
- all students engaged in meaningful work, possibly in the math computation and/or the word problem side of things (i.e., writing an explanation or a word problem)
- all students speaking/writing/communication respectfully throughout the time
- when there is a breakdown in the experience, students seeking adult support appropriately
- students engaged in polite but meaningful and detailed reflection on the experience
When a math experience leads to these things, I think it has been successful.
With these criteria set, I returned to the question of content and style. I decided on a Jamboard with images, where students could choose one of two images for each group of students. My co-teacher had chosen to spend the first three weeks of school reviewing, so we were doing decimal work; I decided that the only stipulation I would make would be that the students write a decimal word problem, but that the operation would be of their choice.
The biggest change I decided to make was on the roll-out side of things. Last year, we had a few rough experiences with Jamboards – students confused, students writing on and/or erasing each other’s work, me not giving the link with the correct rights for editing, etc. I asked my co-teacher if he would consider a different approach to starting this year. At first, I thought we would do Day One with kids in groups, starting their Jamboard and returning on Day Two, but then I remembered how much time it takes to write down the groups and then how much more time it takes to get them back in their groups, none of which is actually instruction time!
Instead, I thought we could try this year to split up the first two days as Day One – five minutes to look at the Jamboard without editing rights, just a time to click, explore, ask questions, etc., rather like when we used to give students give minutes to play with manipulatives like toys rather than tools. Then, on Day Two, I would release the same Do Now, but this time with editing rights and the expectation that students would actually answer it completely. I also asked if we could split the 20 minutes differently, rather than 10 and 10, but as 5 minutes on Day One and 15 on Day Two. So….we’ll see how it goes!