In advanced precalculus today, I had a former student come in to talk about how he worked in groups last year, and how he thought about it. The whole class is groupwork based, and he really emphasized how important it is to really dig into places that are uncomfortable (like speaking up when confused, or not rushing through things) because those are the exact times when good stuff is going to happen. It was great to hear him.
And he ended on this note: “BE OKAY BEING WRONG. It’s FINE to be wrong. You shouldn’t worry about always being right. Be wrong. Because that’s where the good stuff happens.”
And then… a few slides later in the lesson, when he had left and we were going over some preliminary problems, I saw I had built in this slide:
I had asked a question in the previous class — one that I made up on the fly and liked — and approved students’s wrong answers. Because I hadn’t thought the question fully through. So I wanted to correct the mistake. (If you’re curious, here is the comment on the blogpost describing the activity and the incorrect statement.) It just felt good that my former student’s talk dovetailed perfectly into this slide.
I had a student tell me in her start of year survey that she’s terrified of fractions. So I emailed her letting her know we could meet and go over them, to give her a bit more confidence. I love that she took me up on that offer, and today we had 30 minutes to discuss why we add fractions the way we do, why we “flip and multiply,” and what is really going on. If it will stick, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I have a student who recognized and admitted a weakness, and when I offered her an opportunity to work on it, she said yes. I’m so down with that.
After school today, I called one of my teacherfriendsatmyschool (a chemistry teacher) to see if she wanted to get dinner. She needed help thinking through a lesson. We used to meet up and brainstorm together a lot a couple of years ago, but for some reason we haven’t done it recently. And so I went to her office and we had an awesome brainstorming session, and I think I was useful. And then we got to grab dinner together, outdoors at a lovely Italian place, where the weather was perfect and the conversation engrossing.