teaching “at different levels”

Posted on September 22, 2020

So, I have this setup working pretty well, though it SUCKS POWER MADLY so yesterday I was back to writing on whiteboard and holding it up to the camera b/c it drains faster than it charges so even plugged in… it ran out. (

I need to figure out how to “zoom” so that I can use it to show the times tables chart close up, tho’ I may just snag the other camera.

I was working w/ 2 students in the same class, doing the same problems from ALEKS. The *task* was changing improper fractions to mixed numbers, and finding them on number lines.

I *want* to figure out a way to do the ‘visual’ stuff to add meaning to this. (I don’t have any idea how much they get in zoom class.) My one student was getting some of that from the number line activity, and since I could show my hands on the whiteboard, the whole “special visual kinesthetic action” of multipling by the wholes and adding the rest of the pieces … they got it.

I could work on the same task with completely different focus in the other breakout room. 11/3? “Find the 3’s on the times tables chart.” *This week* there is success in finding the biggest number on the chart that wasn’t bigger than 11: Nine. I can say pretty precisely “and 3 times what is nine” because that’s a known procedure. Then… we’re learning to count up to get to the eleven; this isn’t fluent yet, but sometimes the light has gone on, especially if I have a ruler out to be a number line.

Yes, I wish I had more pictures, more *things* and more time to work with, but numerical thinking is happening, which is more important than getting the right answers quickly (and since calculators aren’t allowed on exams, the shortcuts wouldn’t improve exam scores either…)

I also appreciate ALEKS and its sequence of skills. We got in some good practice with place value with “adding 10, 100 or 1000 to a number.” We could have used about three times as much…

I also wish I figure out a way to get to “that times tables on a number chart” instead of on the big chart with all of them, to convey more meaning. If I were a “share screen” master I could have them up in different windows but that takes time… but maybe.