Choice – Making it Happen with 33 Students in a Math Classroom
Last week while I scurried from my class to the hall, from the hall to the library and from the library back to my class, it happened. I realized that THIS was what I wanted my classroom to look like. I had 33 students spread out in three spaces by their own choosing all working on different things. Students choose where to sit, what to work on, how to practice and when to assess. This isn’t something that happens occasionally. It happens everyday. I often don’t take a step back to look at how awesome it looks but today I did. I was so proud of my 6th grade students and how far they have come this year. It takes weeks to get to this point and I personally always feel like I am sprinting around my room (my Fitbit would agree) but it is routine now. By letting students take ownership of their everyday environment, I ultimately have more control over my class. I have more freedom to walk around and engage with them. It is their learning, so why not let them choose how to learn. On this particular day, I had an assessment planned on the next day. Planned on this particular day was an independent study day where students would prepare for the test. Here is what my classroom liked like on this day.
Students here had already taken their assessment and were working independently on their second semester project. They have to pick any math concept they want to learn more about, learn it and make a presentation on it.
These two students were in the hall making their own problems on volume to study for the assessment.
This group of four students were working in the library (which is attached to my classroom). They worked through practice problems shared with them in Google Drive with provided answers. They picked the problems they wanted to work on and then worked collaboratively in solving them.
These students were ready to take the assessment…so they did.
These students were working on the whiteboard in my room, creating their own problems to help them study for the assessment.
This student was working on the next unit. She was done with the assessment and wanted to move onto new practice.
This student was working with a partner in next year’s content. They have already finished the entire 6th grade curriculum and wanted to move onto content for next year. Here they were working on absolute value functions.
These students chose to work individually studying for the assessment. The student on the right was doing practice problems while the student on the left was rewatching my lessons to make sure he understood the content thoroughly.
Three years ago I would never have dreamed my class could even look like this, however, by creating a classroom culture where learning is the focus through trust and choice this is how my class runs. I have allowed myself to change, give up control and redevelop how my classroom happens. Where will I be three years from now? Who knows but I am excited to keep growing with my students.