Spent today doing a reading guide on the Pythagorean Theorem. Reading guides are a structure at our school where students read together. In most classes, they learn and practice common reading strategies like visualizing, making predictions and inferences, etc. In math, they do these things as well though we often walk them through math problems as we go.
I’ve felt very up and down about reading guides this year. For me, they are usually linked to a participation quiz where I narrate (and give points) for the positive behaviors students do (today it was: work in the middle, point to what you’re talking about, connect the area of the square to the side of the square). Up until recently, I’ve felt that I wasn’t able to intervene if students needed help (an ongoing struggle on my part), though I’m beginning to get a better sense of when to stand back and when to quickly step in. (I think. Knock on wood.)
Photo One: The Reading Guide and TangramsThe part of me that signs all my emails “The Worst” (ie “Sorry I haven’t email back #ImTheWorst” or “Sorry I totally Second Year Teacher’ed you when I flaked out on Friday #ImTheWorst”) will also confess to not having read the Common Core progressions in-depth* (though make no mistake, I’m fond of them). So I’m excited that we actually talked a bit about how to show that the sum of the area of the squares of the legs is equal to the square of the hypotenuse (we did not at all describe it in those words). We had students cut out tangrams of the two small squares and try to put them together over the big square. Most students were able to accomplish this, with a hint or two. (In the end, a bit of struggling seemed important, though it also felt useful to show students the result if they hadn’t discovered it) Incidentally, the two constructed squares in this photo were made by two friends in different classes (One student built the pattern in the morning, which I showed to the student I have in the afternoon when they started to struggle. They seemed impressed).
Photo 2: Pythagorean PronunciationCurriculum partner and I occasionally talk about words that are hard to pronounce. Trigonometry (which we never even taught – we just left it at sine, cosine and tangent) would have been tough, parallelogram is tough, Pythagorean Theorem (let alone “theorem”) is tough. That being said, kiddos have been super down to try, including this student who took notes when I wasn’t looking.
Also, what has two thumbs and is rockin’ out in the kitchen to Billy Joel? Certainly not this guy…
*Just kidding, the ones for middle school geometry, where Pythagorean Theorem should be haven’t been written yet. Told you I hadn’t read them in depth yet.