May 12th:

1. We feel we have all become better at facilitating group work in our class. It is good to hear from other teachers to view how others have worked collaboration into their classes and have seen results. We still have a lot of work to do, so we can see the benefits in our own classes. It is something we want to work on and continue to improve. Collaborative student work is something we see as important to our students' learning.

As teachers, collaboration has also benefitted us. Ames High has a great community of teachers. Erin mentioned how helpful it is to get support and help from other teachers within the department.

2. The focus of the meetings have been very clear and thus more helpful. The organization of hearing an account, having various resources highlighted, and then being able to talk about the focus, such as literacy, has really allowed "focus." We would like to see this type of organization maintained.

In terms of something we want to keep and maintain, we will continue to improve the group work in the class.

3. Hearing what works in other classes is something that really gives clear vision for something to set as a goal. We would like to see more teachers speaking about their success stories of conquering focus topics like group work. Topics we would like to see touched on would be "differentiating".

4. Thanks for your work QUILT team!!! How do you find the time to do all of it?

April 21st:

We discussed the article on socratic questioning and tried to bring that to the math classroom. In the texts we are working with, every new concept can be turned into an open-ended problem where students formulate solutions and concepts with guided, but not dictated fashion.

We discussed how we do have motives as math teachers going into these lessons. We have an end result in mind.


April 7th:

We discussed some obstacles when it comes to group work and collaborative discussions in our math classes. With the new textbook, which emphasizes investigative approaches and development of math concepts and ideas, collaboration and discussion is key and should thrive. This process of implementing collaboration and discussion into the classroom as a purpose to motivate, involve, and make student-centered classrooms, has been showing itself to be very difficult. Frankly, math has been taught rigidly for a long time. It is tough as teachers to back down from rigidly instructing, and it is tough as the student to accept nonrigid instruction. This adaptation difficulty on both ends causes for some chaos.

Even if the teacher is open to a student-based classroom and has the skill, time, and favorable success ratio of creating/finding the lessons with the perfect balance of guidance, students need to be receptive, responsible, motivated, and self- propelled enough to not let the unknown stop them. For students who are all of these things and have the potential to be innovative and creative, we as teachers need to provide.

We discussed how the willing teacher and the willing student do not come hand-in-hand as easily as one might hope.

We discussed some specific problems we face and what might be done to minimize the problem. We started simple. If we can focus on a problem and figure out how to step by step work through it, hopefully by the time I retire, I will have this down.

Problem: Students are not able to work responsibly in groups. We give time to work on the investigations, and the students are talking about everything but math it feels. There is a mistrust of students working on the task at hand if the groups are spread around the class and our teacher eyes cannot be in control.

Solutions:
- Have investigation completion be the ticket out the door or counting for points
- Work through the investigations and see if there are spots to highlight, parts where we can provide enhancement, or provide more instruction to bridge gaps.
- Share the story of the Russian genius who solved the unsolvable
- Have groups of 3- seems to work best with group work
- Talk about college and how forming study groups is ideal there