Inspiring Through STEM During Distance Learning
Last week’s Schechter Shavua focused on the inventive ways that our lower school math teachers have been connecting with their students during distance learning; they’re not alone in sharing their passion! Middle School math teachers Mrs. Teitelbaum and Ms.Glaser have been engaging their students through small groups and interactive technology. Sixth grade math students use an application called Jamboard to compliment Google Meet; first they participate in an interactive lesson on adding and subtracting integers using a number line and another strategy called a "tug line." Jamboard gives Mrs. Teitelbaum a communal “white board” that both she and the students can see and draw on while also talking to each other.
Always keeping things relevant, Mrs. Teitelbaum’s classes have also analyzed a graph about the Covid-19 trend in the last two months from the Georgia Department of Health website. The graph exemplifies the importance of carefully analyzing data before drawing any conclusions, even those from a good source. Students examined this graph, which had been removed from the Georgia Department of Health website due to criticism for its misleading format, and identified what made the graph problematic. The classes discussed various elements of the graph and then compared it to a corrected version.
Throughout the distance learning process, Schechter students have followed an approach similar to their learning process while in the school building: they work independently following small group meetings designed to teach new concepts, clarify material, and discuss questions. Following online class instruction, students frequently break out into separate, even smaller, meetings, offering the students an opportunity to work together and share much-needed interactive time with one another. On Fridays, students join together in a "circle" to hear each other's lessons, questions, and answers.
Our 8th grade geometry students are currently using the properties of quadrilaterals to identify and classify parallelograms, kites, and trapezoids, and are exploring similarity and similarity transformations… all through digital learning! They have transitioned from whole-group instruction to learning at their own pace. Ms. Glaser posts assignments along with guided notes and problem sets, with the goal of allowing students more control over their learning. With these guided notes, problem sets, and other resources, students practice identifying key concepts in math. Instruction for these small groups supplements and guides students' own explorations. Ms. Glaser checks in with students during class, giving feedback on the work they submit online.