Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Reflecting on Habit 7 Summarize, Determine Importance, Synthesize

The authors of Teaching Numeracy: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking begin the chapter on Habit 7 with this sentence, "Determining importance, summarizing, and synthesizing are related acts that together comprise one of the most crucial of the nine critical thinking habits."

In the chapter they talk about note-taking and journaling. This past year I encouraged students to use the Cornell Note System.  I created the structure for them; and for some students that worked well. Others struggled with notes.  They were good about class discussion, working out examples, but taking notes seemed to be a challenge.  I've been thinking about how to improve note-taking in the coming year.

I especially want to take more time with summarizing the lesson.  I know how important it is in my own learning to stop and reflect for a moment on what I've learned and how it connects to previous thoughts.  Stop and jot is a tool - helpful for summarizing learning as is One Minute Write.  Another tool is creating study cards.  I did not use this at all last year, but in the last few months I have seen examples of sketch noting that would make awesome study cards. And study cards would be good tools for interleaving practice.

My take-away from this habit is that I need to allow more time for reflection.  Summarizing can't happen well if we are frantically working right up until the bell rings.  My goal ... set my internal teaching clock to allow reflection in the last five minutes!

An aside about journaling ... it's a great tool as well.  My students blog but I don't require a particular topic.  So some students use their blog to synthesize learning.  Others use it to curate interesting ideas they are researching in math.  I want to continue student blogs in the coming year and I'm trying to decide what purpose is best.

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