This past Thursday a student sat beside me working on a quiz as I led the rest of the class through adding notes to our interactive notebook (INB). This was all done through the ELMO (which for those of you who don't know what that is - don't worry I didn't either until I got back into education - it's a fancy technologically advanced overhead projector :) ), so the kids were following me step-by-step as we created our notes.
Well my good friend taking his test noticed that I was following someone else step-by-step on my computer and asked "Mrs. Snell, are you cheating?"
Below is a picture of Math = Love's blog post on exponents that I was working from!
My response was "Nope, I'm using my resources wisely!" and he seemed content with that. You see I have on my white board a place called "Resource Bank" and underneath of the heading are a list of resources that I encourage the kids to use when they encounter a problem that they don't know how to solve. One of the things that I want my kids to do is struggle a little (don't take that in a mean, sadistic way) and learn ways to find the answer to their problems other than the obvious answer of the teacher. Some of our resources include their notes, their bellwork problems, their homework, their partners, our website, their parents, Google, Khan Academy, etc. Of course they can not use these resources at every problem, like on a test, but some of them they can use on a test like their brain dumps.
Brain dumps are the tips, formulas, ets. that we try to review before a test, or even homework, and what I encourage them to write down at the top of their papers once they've received the test. This is a skill I'm encouraging them to use now and later on ACT, Compass, etc. to be successful!
There is a trend referenced in Psychology Today, read about it here, that colleges are seeing a decline in student resilience. Absolutely they are, I see it every day in the classroom. You'd think I am a four-eyed fire-breathing mean monster when I won't answer a kids question right away but instead ask them to see what their notes say or maybe the bellower problems we just went over. It's become some much like a broken record in my class, I believe it's actually starting to sink in. "Mrs. Snell, how do I.....?" "What do your notes say?" "ahhhhhhhh, uggghhh, grrhhhhhhh!" but they grudgingly get them out or ask a partner.
Most of these kids don't know how to struggle, seek and find answers. This leads to less resilience and a fear of failure because they don't know how to use their resources. As a new teacher I could have quickly let this overcome me. I didn't have years worth of knowledge and resources to pull from but instead of wallowing in that struggle and throwing up my hands in defeat, I have learned to use my resources to seek and find answers. I've found some amazing online resources such as Khan Academy,
TenMarks, ThatQuiz, blogs such as Sarah Hagan's Math = Love, Pinterest boards, and many, many more.
And I'm learning and perfecting as I go. So I will continue to use my resources wisely and teach my kids the skills to do the same!