Here's the big misconception.

  • "Kids are lazy."
  • "They just won't try."
  • "Student's don't care."

But what if we could teach in a way that reduces student apathy?

The 70/30 Rule

One of the best ideas for improving student confidence is the 70/30 rule. The big idea is to allow kids 70% of the time to feel confident so that you can push them forward and stretch their knowledge 30% of the time. This idea was from Allan Bellman during his presentation on Classroom Level Assessments that Determine and Meet Student Needs at the NCTM conference in Chicago.

This may be the biggest tool that will help us achieve the Common Core Curriculum within our classrooms. It is always so easy to shift one way or the other.

We don't want the content to come so easy that we will never meet the standards or so hard that students quit trying. (And we will never meet the standards.)

Same skill, different problems

The other big idea of Allan's is that it is OK to give kids different problems to meet their needs within a class period. I love this idea and have been coming up with some ideas to implement this in my classroom.

Layering your lessons

Students, especially in math, are often insecure. They need to feel that they can achieve. Don't we all? One of our biggest challenges as math teachers is creating a sense of confidence in our students.

This is something I take great pride in and always have a goal in my classroom. But the craziness can keep all of us from achieving this goal. We must stay focused because the cost is too high.

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