I’ve been reading Marilyn Burns’ stuff for … oh, since a copy of _Math for Smarty Pants_ appeared under the Christmas tree when I was starting teaching (or maybe earlier). She blogged recently about mental math and number sense: http://marilynburnsmathblog.com/wordpress/a-mental-math-lesson/
When students messed with a problem by themselves & with a buddy, *then* saw strategies for approaching things, they engaged (yes, that buzz word that Kyle Pearce of www.tapintoteenminds.com makes a video and “unmasks“) and could think about and talk about and compare different strategies for solving 99 + 17.
When they were just shown a movie with strategies for solving it, things didn’t work out so well.
This stuff’s important. I’ve long known that one of the reason The New Community School has its strong successes is that our version of direct instruction did *not* simply ‘inform’ a student and have ’em rattle things back. We did similar things to figure out just where students were in their thinking and get *them* curious and sniffing about. The “rattling back” was a reminder and then rehearsal of something discovered, inviting that “every time I see this I find something new” experience, not a one-dimensional repetition.
Welp. So I’m making these Camtasia videos … how to keep that whole important thing from getting whisked away?