What will change?

Ok, so I am not great at blogging. But I just attended my first Twitter Math Camp (#TMC17) and 1 take away is I will not be afraid as Carl Oliver said to #pushsend. I have been a “stalker” of the Math-Twitter-Blogoshpere  (#MTBoS) for quite some time. Now I realize I have ideas worth sharing and I am ready to be a participating member of this great group of teachers!

I can’t begin to list all the reasons why this experience was so terrific but I will try to share some here in my blog.

We spent two hours every morning in the same session which meant we had the opportunity to delve deeply into an area of interest. I know I need to work on how math is learned in my classroom. The Hinge Questions session led by Nik Doran described something desperately needed in my classroom. We spent time understanding Discussion vs. Diagnostic questions.

Discussion Questions                                 Diagnostic Questions

Kick start classroom discussion                            Data gathering
Require lots of class time                                        Little class time
Only those who respond are heard from         Contribution from every student

Hinge Questions are strategically placed in the lesson to determine a base-line understanding. One big difference between a diagnostic question and a hinge question is what you do with the information collected after the question. A hinge question is meant to be a stopping point in the lesson to check if your students are with you, if they are you do one thing and if they are not you do another. Unfortunately, my classroom often looks like a runway where we just keep going! This is what will change.

Hinge Questions

1.     Students shouldn’t spend more than a couple of minutes coming up with answers.

2.     Not meant to be a distraction to the lesson.

3.     Teacher should be able to eyeball the whole class room and make a decision about what the answers means in 30 seconds or less; NOT meant to slowdown the lesson.

a.     Do I need to go backwards?

b.     Do I need to go forwards?

c.     Do I get kids talking in pairs?

d.     Remediation for those who don’t get it?

I was concerned I would be able to “sell” hinge questions to my colleagues because they are multiple-choice questions. But what makes sense is the answers need to distinguish between the kids who get it and those who don’t. Two important points made by Dylan Wiliam:

  1. Students can’t get it right for the wrong reason.
  2. Questions must be designed so that kids are getting it right for the right reason.

I know I have more to learn about hinge questions but I feel like I’ve got enough to get started. I worked on creating hinge questions for exponent rules. But it occurred to me the hinge question was only the beginning because I must plan what to do for each incorrect answer so as to correct the misconception. hinge-questions



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