Today we did our first 105 the Hive radio show for math. We’ve been learning about solving equations in class, and as one of our final tasks, students hosted a radio show where they explained their thinking when solving four different math problems.
I really did a lot of thinking before today’s math activity, as I wanted to make this “big group” activity about a “small group.” Even though all of the students in the class participated in the Today’sMeet or Twitter backchannel, only four students ran the radio show. Through emails and discussions with the principal, Paul Clemens, and the vice principal, Tammy McLaughlin, I have really been pushed to think even more about small group instruction. I know that guided groups — whether in literacy or math — benefit students, and I have tried to spend even more time with these small groups.
What about today’s math activity though? All 27 of my students were involved, so how did this activity really target the small group? Today my guided group of students was the group of the four radio show hosts. I was basically sharing my guided program with others through this LIVE radio streaming. Students, parents, educators, and administrators could hear my questions to these four students, listen to our discussion/lesson, but also chime in with their own thoughts and questions through our backchannel.
A special thanks to Alley for recording our radio show today with this pencast.
The focus may have been on the small group, but I think that the large group benefited. When I followed up this radio show with a math problem on balanced equations, more students understood and articulated the strategies they could use to solve the problem. Yeah! This was what I wanted to happen!
I still have a problem though: while more students shared their learning later, the Today’sMeet and Twitter backchannels produced very little “communication” in math? Students shared the answer, but not the process.
I think I need to model more of this type of written communication when working with small and large groups. Maybe we need to look at the student responses, and as a class, even share ways to add more details. While I read the contributions as they appear, I think that I need to start responding with questions to the students as well. Maybe my questions would have produced deeper discussion in these backchannels. What do you think? I want to continue to guide the small group and the big group of students, but I want the same communication to happen in both groups. How would you make this a reality?