Kristen Monteiro, St. Peter CES, Grade 7/8
If I had to list an easy way to make your classroom more engaging and at the same time create an opportunity to develop rich dialogue amongst your students, my answer would be to make use of #thinkingclassroom and #VNPS using Wipebook Flipcharts.
Safe problem-solving environment
In teaching Intermediate, I am always looking for ways to bring my students into a learning journey which is both fun and engaging. When I started using Wipebook Flipcharts for #VNPS and #thinkingclassroom I was amazed at the change in atmosphere the latter combination created.
For example, it was amazing to see students literally run to grab a #VNPS then set it up in their own comfortable location. The latter provided an environment for them to work SAFELY through problems with greater resiliency and fun than I had ever previously experienced. They absolutely loved this approach to problem-solving.
And as result I quickly saw the benefit in expanding the USE of #thinkingclassroom and #VNPS methodology to other subject areas. So we started using them in history, geography, art, et cetera. The opportunities were endless.
The key is randomized interaction
I accordance with Peter Liljedahl's #thinkingclassroom we make use of #VNPS, and having students work in groups of three appears to work best for their own engagement and interaction. And yes, as per Peter's approach, the groups are always randomized.
My classroom suddenly was filled with students moving across the room to observe their classmate’s thinking, and coming back eagerly to share their findings with their peers.... (THIS isn't cheating BTW; it's learning)
Students are free to take risks
And I agree with other math teachers in particular in that by using #thinkingclassroom and #VNPS students were no longer afraid to ask questions and take risks because of the non-permanent large problem-solving space, students can display and make multiple attempts at the problem. (ALSO: And having the back of the Wipebook Flipcharts with grid lines provided even more opportunities for visual learning with richer problems.)
Math at one time was a subject that many of my students dreaded. A lot of them were silent at their desks; hoping to not be called upon at any point during the lecture. But that changed with the introduction of #VNPS and #thinkingclassroom.
Our math class is now filled with conversation, resilience and excitement. At times I do not know who is more excited, myself, or the students when they are showcasing their learning!
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