During the CPM summer and school year workshops the mentors model many study team and teaching strategies. However, once the school year begins, it is easy to overlook the various options. The editors of the Core Connections series made it easier for you to use them by making suggestions for using specific strategies in most lessons. By using the suggested strategies you will build confidence and expertise with them and become proficient in assimilating them into your daily practice. The strategies are useful to focus the responsibility for working as a team and for learning mathematics on the students.
This week consider using a Huddle. A Huddle (calling up a person from each team and talking with all of them) is effective as well as versatile because it can be used to get a problem started, pass out materials, tell the students something you forgot to talk about as you discussed the lesson, correct a common error you notice, or get feedback about what different teams are doing (what problem are they on, what strategy they used, what answer they got, etc.). For example, if you want students to carefully check their work, you can call a Huddle and have each team representative share his or team’s strategy and answer. A Huddlecan initiate a closure activity by asking questions and summarizing the lesson with each team representative, then having them go back and do the same thing with their team.
Be creative in deciding which member of a team to call to the Huddle. You may use Team Roles or Numbered Heads or have the person with the most siblings, the oldest or the tallest come up. If you have a specific student in mind (perhaps you want to use the Huddle to encourage a certain person’s participation) then simply call on the team role that person holds. You may want students to bring up their book and/or paper and pencil for a Huddle. Your challenge this week is to use a Huddle every day for different parts of the lessons. Have fun with it, save time with it, and see how responsible your students can be when you put them in charge of information for their team!