Deep Learning, Digitally

The Power of Yet

“On the path to discovering your shortcomings, don’t forget the YET.”

-author unknown

When I think about where my teaching falls in terms of  Deep Learning, Digitally, I think I am on my way there. I am definitely not there yet. When I read the other posts from the COETAILers in this cohort, sometimes I feel like I could be doing so much more. But then I remind myself that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to someone else because we all have our own learning journeys and experiences that have led us to where we are.

Just because I am not where I want to be yet, doesn’t mean I won’t get there. I teach the concept of the “Power of Yet” to my students at the beginning of the year. I want them to know that it is okay not to be able to do things yet. We all have room to grow. We all have things we cannot do yet. This isn’t only true for students; it is true for all of us.

So when I was feeling like I am not yet where I want to be with Deep Learning, Digitally, I had to remind myself that this is okay. Then I took some more time to see where other people were in their learning journey and got some great ideas!

Inspiration from others

After reading Cindy’s post for Week 3, I got the idea to redesign an upcoming Math unit using some of her ideas. I am new to grade 4 this year as well as my teaching partner. We use the Everyday Math series. This year I feel like we are both just trying to figure out the curriculum and stay afloat. So far we haven’t done much to make the Math units tech-rich. We pretty much follow the textbook and use the resources that come with the series. I want to do more though! I know I have students who need to be challenged more than the textbook offers.

In an effort to work towards teaching with Deep Learning in mind, I created this Math Unit with lots of inspiration from Cindy’s week 3 blog post while keeping Michael Fullan’s description of Deep Learning Tasks in mind.

Deep learning tasks are energised by the notion of ‘learning leadership’, in which students are expected to become leaders of their own learning, able to define and pursue their own learning goals using the resources, tools, and connections that digital access enables.

-Michael Fullan (A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning )

Redesigning a math unit for Deep Learning, Digitally

I decided to re-think an upcoming Math unit on Multdigit Multiplication for this task. As I said before, Math is pretty much taught from the Everyday Math series. Students have Math Journals where they complete math worksheets, participate in Math games (that come with the series), and practice skills on IXl and Khan Academy. There really isn’t much deep learning happening yet.

Most of my students go to after-school math tutors or academies. Students perform very well on the MAP test from Math. Fifteen out of twenty-one of my students perform above average (blue) on the MAP Test. This means these students need to be challenged.

I’ve found a few ways to do this. I’ve added their individual scores to Khan Academy so they get more individualized plans and found some real-world math application problems on Yummy Math. However, I know I could be more effective in my approach to differentiating instruction for the students. For example, not all of my students need to be doing all of the Everyday Math Journal Worksheets; especially if they can show they know how to do those skills already. I’d rather give them more authentic choices in their learning experience.

Overview of Redesigned Math Unit

Math Unit 4 Multidigit Multiplication

I designed my unit using a slide deck from Slidesgo that fit perfectly for Math. I used slides so that my students could access all of the standards, resources, and activities in one place. Then I started by looking at what standards were addressed in Unit 4 and the end of unit Math Assessment we use that fits with the Math series. After that, I thought about how I would go about teaching this unit.

I really like how Cindy explained that she front-loads the unit with mini-lessons that teach students the concepts and does an example with them. We use Math Notebooks so I will use those to build a resource with students that they can use throughout the unit. In the notebook, they will keep examples for each standard as a reference tool that will be provided to them in the first week of instruction.

Students will self-assess after each mini-lesson to determine if they are green: I can do this on my own and explain how to do this, yellow: I can do this on my own, or red: I can do this if I get help or look at an example. If time allows after the lessons, students can work on the optional activities that align with each standard (slides 16-18).

After the week of mini-lessons, students will work more independently to master the skills and demonstrate an understanding of the content standards or to challenge themselves using more inquiry-based type questions from Freckle. This will be done through a Multidigit Multiplication Placemat.

Multidigit Multiplication-Independent Practice Placemat

As students work through different problems, they will check in with me to see if they have shown their understanding or not. If not, they will continue to practice that standard through the day to day activities.

In addition to the Multidigit Multiplication Placemat problems, students will choose a mini-workshop to attend with me. I will offer these throughout the second week of the unit. The focus will be to support students who need help (based on their math homework) and to introduce the Math Challenge problems from Freckle for more advanced learners.

During week 2 of the unit, students will either be working to prove their understanding of the standards using the daily learning activities, placemat or challenging themselves using one of the Freckle real-world application problems.

When the unit ends, students will take a post-assessment. For now, I have the Everyday Math Assessment. However, I would also like to re-vamp this into something more authentic and meaningful. I haven’t gotten that far yet!

Final Thoughts

Although I realize this unit plan has room to grow, I think it is a good start in the right direction of getting students to learn deeply using technology. Many of the resources I provide for students wouldn’t be possible without technology.   And although it is only one unit out of the 8 we teach in Math, it is a start. We all start somewhere and this is my beginning to transforming learning in my classroom. And that’s the power of yet!

 

Author: Andrea Goodrich

I am an international educator working in Hanoi, Vietnam. I have been working overseas for the past 13 years. I started my career in a bilingual school in Guayama, Puerto Rico as a fifth and sixth-grade reading teacher. Then I moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and taught fourth grade for two years. While living in Ecuador, I met my husband and we moved to Seoul, South Korea together. In Seoul, I taught fifth grade for two years and then moved into a literacy specialist role. We are now teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam with our two Korean rescue dogs.

2 thoughts on “Deep Learning, Digitally”

  1. Hi Andrea!
    I am so sorry I did not get back to you in a timely manner on my own blog. I am so happy you found inspiration with my math unit! I, in return, am finding further inspiration in yours, since we are doing multiplication and division next! I really love your slides. Our lessons are all separate, but I love how you put yours together and then linked lessons and resources in. I really think this would help my students and will pass this idea on to my team for sure!

    How did you add their “individual scores” (MAP?) into Khan Academy? I would be very interested in this as well.

    How did you find the placemat? I have actually made one for every math unit this year and my students seem to like progressing through it and proving what they know before taking the post-assessment. I think it really helps them solidify whether they understand the concept or not.

    Jo Boaler also has some great resources, including a video mini-course for students. Ours completed this at the beginning of the year, as it is about math mindset. https://www.edx.org/course/how-to-learn-math-for-students-2 (the videos can all also be found on Youtube. We compiled them in a slide deck for students to work through with some reflection questions).

    1. Hi Cindy! I am glad you could use some of what I created. That’s great! I am wondering if you could share the slides you made for your multiplication unit. I’d like to see how you organized them.

      I was able to add MAP scores into Khan Academy by entering the scores here: https://www.khanacademy.org/math/mappers

      I made the placemat on my own using your example. I found the questions from different resources. Do you happen to have one on Fractions & Mixed Numbers. This is my next unit of study.

      Thanks for the link as well. I will check this out!

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