Thinking About Math Misconceptions

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My students have about one month of school left.  It’s hard to believe that the 2016-17 school year will soon be over.  This year I’ve been attempting to have my kids think more about their mathematical understanding.  Putting aside time to do this hasn’t been easy and there’s been a struggle, but I believe we’re making progress.  One of the most impactful pieces to this has been the inclusion of a more standards-based approach when it comes to student work.

One way in which I’ve had students think more about their thinking is to give students opportunities to redo assignments.  Students are given a second attempt to complete an assignment after they complete a reflection sheet.  The sheet is below.

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The goal is to improve and move from the NY – not yet to a M- Met.  Students are required to analyze their assignment and staple on the NY–>M sheet before turning it back in.  I’ve changed this sheet over the past few months as I started to notice that some students were a lot more successful at redoing their assignments and receiving full credit than others.

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I decided to have a a brief classroom discussion to talk about how analyzing our math work can help us identify where we should target improvement efforts.  I put two slides up on the whiteboard to frame the discussion.

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Indicates what the student wrote and how it impacted the second attempt.

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The class discussed the two slides and the student responses.  I emphasized the need to critically analyze their work before redoing it a second time.  Being specific with the comments also plays a role in how well a student performs again.  I also thought it might be a decent idea to start discussing key misconceptions before the class gets back their assignments.  This already happens, but spending more time discussing prevalent misconceptions beyond “simple errors” might be helpful moving forward.  I’m sure I’ll refine the reflection sheets over the summer, but I like the progress that students are making along their mathematical journey.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Thinking About Math Misconceptions

  1. That’s a great idea! I wonder if/how that can be adapted to my Spanish classroom. So often students do their work and move on, never really reflecting on it or making connections from one concept to another. It seems like this would help them process it more by doing a little meta-cognition.

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    1. I’m sure it could be adapted and used in other classes. I agree, so many times students will get their papers back and the assignments are never seen again. The process of thinking about their math understanding, setting goals and monitoring their own progress is fairly new to my students at the elementary level. I think it takes a shift in some of the students’ mindsets that a “one and done” quiz or assignment mentality isn’t always the best for their personal learning. When students see this, I think they’re more willing to put in effort and use meta-cognition strategies. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

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