Although I retired from speaking at events back in 2019, I thought I might try something a bit different this November and put up a series of videos in which I makeover lessons, questions, and objectives that folks sent me. I'm hoping to show how I would try to make those lessons more interesting, especially for our highest ability students.
It's the keynote. And it's under five minutes! HUZZAH! Get to know the Three Big Ideas that we'll be using throughout the breakout sessions:
As a new teacher, I thought that the phrase "explain why…" was an example of high-level thinking. Now I realize that it's often near the bottom of Bloom's. Here's how to move past just explaining strengths and weaknesses to get students really thinking.
Here's how I'd build out steps with lower-level thinking in order to support these higher-level tasks in math.
How adding an authentically interesting classic can completely change an otherwise dull lesson about context clues.
Once students can identify the problem and solution in a story, let's not stop there! We'll find other stories with the same problem, pick which one has the most unique solution, give out a couple of other awards, and then, heck, maybe even write our own.
Once students can pick a strategy for comparing fractions, what can they do next? What if we picked the worst strategy? What if we tweaked the fractions to fit a particular strategy?
If we're going to study famous structures, let's not just focus on a single one. We'll gather as many famous structures we can, group them up however we want, pick the most interesting, and then create an even better structure.
Just because a question includes a prompt of Depth and Complexity doesn't mean that we're actually going deep. So, rather than just identifying patterns within quadrilaterals, let's put each one to a unique use.
Rolling a dice to pick a vocabulary task might add "engagement," but it doesn't get students thinking any deeper. Let's build a sequence of tasks rather than six low-level tasks.
When we start with a cute product, it can seriously restrict the thinking we're offering to our students. Rather than starting with "let's put on a wax museum," we'll plan a sequence of increasingly high-level tasks to investigate a person from history. Then, we'll see what products emerge that will do justice to our students' thinking.