Ten Questions

On this blog – under the Strategy Showcase heading – I want to write about the lesson ideas and instructional strategies I’m using in my classes. I want to write about the failures and successes and the drawbacks and benefits. But when I started to write, I realized this was way too broad. I could write 10 pages about a single lesson if my goal was that expansive.

So I had to stop and think: When I hear about a lesson idea or a useful strategy, what do I want to know? I settled on ten questions I would ask, and when I analyze a lesson or a strategy (which is soon), I will be asking myself these ten questions. These questions are in bold below, with some unbolded follow-up questions to clarify what I mean.

  • How does this strategy work? When I implement this strategy, what exactly will we be doing?
  • What preparation does this strategy require? Do I need to stay up late to prepare? Or is it easy enough to become a class routine?
  • Will my students want to do it? Will they be engaged, energized, and on the edge of their seat?
  • How will my students be thinking mathematically? Will they be thinking like a mathematician and embodying the spirit of the Standard for Mathematical Practice?
  • What content is this strategy trying to teach? In what unit could I use this strategy? For which standards and objectives?
  • How deep of an understanding do my students need or demonstrate in this activity? How rigorous of an understanding? Where would the strategy fit in Webb’s Depth of Knowledge?
  • Does this strategy make math accessible to everyone by allowing for a low-floor, high-ceiling, english language support, and accommodations/modifications? Are there opportunities built-in for differentiation and the success of all students?
  • How does this strategy provide a need for this content? Is it a need to please the teacher, or a form of intellectual need?
  • Can I pull this off? What are my students saying about it? How does this strategy impact my classroom culture?
  • Where did I hear about this strategy? What’s my source? Whose idea was this?

This list is not comprehensive and its not perfect, but it’s a starting point. I hope these ten questions will help me reflect on lessons and activities from a variety of perspectives.

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