A Shift in Thinking…

Have you ever flipped your mindset?!? Have you ever took a different stance on things…tried something outside the box? Well, surprisingly this past Friday during math I was dealt a curveball.

I printed off multiplication worksheets for the students to complete so I could work with a guided math group of students struggling visualizing multiplicative reasoning. Well explaining to students expectations during our instructional block and the tools / tricks of the trade they could utilize (Rekenreks, Number Lines, Hundreds Charts then the digital tools, Mathies apps and Snip) I then turned to remind for the billionth time this year to remember to place names on sheets when I noticed the worksheets had the answers completed for the students….

So ‘deer in the highlights’ I quickly regrouped; as we been discussing showing and explaining your reasoning on how you came to your answer…so the world works in mysterious ways I guess and forced my hand…

I asked students to think backwards / top down….here is the answer explain why / how they got the answer. So, with blank, lined paper and mathies / snip in hand students set to work! Inside my head I thought brilliant boy oh boy you are a fantastic BSer Mr. Archer…more so a fantastic spin doctor?!?! I don’t know either way problem adverted, lets get down to business with the group of students I needed to work with in a guided group.

So, within my guided group we got through and supported the thinking and visualizing I was hoping for; students received and adapted work in a shared manner, then working one question independently discussing a means of working through the question afters within the group (various methods used), then trying a different question and completing successfully as well…all in all go to go back and try on their own now.

While my guided math group worked diligently for 10-15 students at desks didn’t question, dispute or fear the task at hand; which upon reflecting on my assigned task (regrouped at that) I though yikes this could have been dismal. But, while walking around viewing, listening to snips and seeing the reasoning I was flabbergasted with the ‘new mindset’ my students have now adapted INTO.

Now, we have trialed and worked since September to become innovative and collaborate within, developing a mindset to successfully problem solve the worlds problems. Friday I seen it in action; students began networking into groups working on what method or tool ‘worked for them’ there were groups using Rekenreks, hundreds charts, some duals using pictures of circles and then we had a few using Snip and Mathies on BYOD’s and classroom computers.

A flipped mindset requires flexibility in pedagogy; a goal but also the somewhat difficult ability to release yourself from being the director and becoming the guide / coach / supporter in the journey. Tough for me at first but my goal in this blog is to share that the results are fantastic and amazing to see!

Peers became co-leaders / teachers in their own respects networking with each other, sharing their successes with others not using particular tools and or methods. The students then were trying each others ways or methods that they were not using before to solve the answer….the astonishing part…be ready for it…undirected to do so by myself the students jointly showed, then selected and worked through an answer (new student doing it, the other supporting along the way) just as I was doing with a guided group myself. Can you see it?!? What is transpiring?? A flipped mindset!

Why not use the power and abilities of all within a class; there is not ONE be all end all director in a collaborative mindset innovative classroom. My goal of becoming a new wave innovative teacher that instills this method of learning within students became a reality this Friday. Honestly I thought it was a long shot…this morning while having my coffee, getting my twins ready for dance the light blub lit and tears began to flow.

Success is in the mind of the beholder, reflect always! Always be flexible, listen to and give students the opportunity to soar and become a leader; Blooms says to thoroughly learn and grasp a concept you need to share and or teach it, which now my students are doing it!

A shift in thinking is soooooo worth it….give it a try and watch the magic set in!! Please share your experiences with me as I love hearing about the subtle yet miraculous miracles within classrooms!!


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