Welcome back to school. As many of you are starting up your classrooms again, I know well could all use a little encouragement and some fresh thinking. Here is the first of our monthly teacher-submitted posts – a chance for teachers to share some of their best ideas with each other. This one comes to us from a teacher at a public high school in Massachusetts.
I'd like to add a way teachers can tell if students have questions. Buy three colors of cups: red, yellow and green. Stack them with the green cup visible. When a student has a question on a problem, that student must ask a classmate and at the same time change the color of the visible cup. If the student puts the red on top of the other two, it is a signal that the student has asked two classmates already and now is stuck, and cannot move on with their work due to a question. This technique gives the teacher instant feedback as to how students process what is said (new material) and allows them to direct their attention during independent work, without having the students keep their hands up in the air.
I started this blog to share my transformation from math nerd to math nerd who loves to share math with young people. I teach high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Your comments are always welcome.