Lesson

Clip 1/24: Proportions Planning Part A

Overview

In this clip, Linda Fisher, Carolyn Dobson, and Hillary Lewis-Wolfsen discuss the idea of "re-engagement" and what they hope the fifth grade students and observing teachers will get out of the Public Lesson on proportions and ratios.

To prepare, they picked out some interesting work on the task "Candies," a fifth grade assessment, to show teachers a variety of strategies and models used by students to make sense of the problem as well as to present common misconceptions.

Teacher Commentary

Linda, Carolyn and I were putting a lesson back together after not looking at it for a couple of months. We had given this lesson three times during the year, and each of the groups of kids was different. In April, for this lesson, the students had the most experience being 5th graders. We assumed they’d be more capable. So we were thinking about wanting to move the lesson along and get to those bonus questions at the end. There was some debate about manipulatives and what we should offer as strategies, versus how much we should let the kids come up with strategies on their own. During our planning sessions Linda would often take notes while Carolyn and I were working. When she interviewed us during this particular conversation, there were a number of times when she referred to conversations that we’d had but didn’t remember. She recognized the significance of our previous debates, but Carolyn and I must have just seen them as part of developing the lesson and didn’t remember them as clearly as Linda had.

LINDA FISHER: One of the critical things is that kids have a lot of mathematical ideas that teachers don’t see. My “hidden” agenda is to get teachers to be able to read student work and make sense of what the students are not understanding. Everyone with the wrong answer doesn’t need the same kind of help. Having teachers classify student errors helps them to think about the mathematics and learning differently. I want teachers to tease out what are the different kinds of help students need, and why are they different, because they’re based on different mathematical ideas.