## Thursday, May 30, 2013

### The Two-Minute Probability Lesson

How do we share our lessons with other teachers?

You can share every document you make -- lessons, worksheets, activities, warm ups, exit tickets, etc. -- but this way lies ridiculousness. What percent of your work is new or interesting? Is anyone really just going to use all your worksheets? Sharing everything is sharing nothing.

Writing about lessons is a better way to share. You only put out the interesting stuff, and you get to make the case for the quality of your lesson. You can include snapshots and pictures of kiddies creating the things that you helped them create. This is good.

I wanted to try a new way of sharing a lesson, though. I took 43 minutes of classroom time, and I squished it into 2 minutes. I tried to faithfully convey what I thought the crucial bits of class were. Here's what (I think) I ended up with:
• A representation of a lesson that would've made more sense to me as a first-year teacher than a written post about the class. Actually seeing parts of this thing happen make it seem a bit more doable.
• A sense of what it looks and sounds like when kids talk in my classes. That's the thing that interests me most when I visit other classes, and something that's especially difficult for me to pick up on from a written explanation.
• An entirely contextualized lesson. This is what this version of this lesson looks like in this classroom. In writing up a lesson report we tend to abstract away lots of the concrete details of teaching, but these things matter in situating what someone else has created in relation to your own work.
• It's quick. That matters too.
In the end, I created the sort of thing that I'd like to see others make. I hope that you do.

Afterword:
• I'm submitting this video to mathagogy.com, because this is exactly the sort of thing they want to do.
• It hardly seems worth sharing my files, but pipe up in the comments if you want 'em.
• For the record, my impression is that my approach to teaching probability is pretty typical. I have a few nice curricular touches -- the Plinko board is a great scene-setter for the entire unit -- but this whole thing is more about the video than the content, imho.
We're wrapping up the year here, and I don't know if I've got another two-minute experiment up my sleeves. The next stage of this, for me, might be in the fall.

1. Dope.

This has me wondering how well my classroom would translate into this medium.

1. Hey everybody, guess what? One time I saw Justin's classroom, and it was awesome.

And I think that your class -- at least the class that I saw -- would translate well. The whole-group stuff is whole-group stuff, but a lot of stuff was going on. Some kids were drawing patterns, others were building 3D models with bricks, some were creating stuff for a 3D printer, others were taking quizzes...

It would be a thrilling 2 minutes, I think.

2. Yeah, I could see how that day would translate. I was thinking more about the (more common) days when there's less that's...visual? Like whole group discussions, or kids talking through problem sets together. Reflecting on this medium also makes me realize that often my classes don't feel (to me, at least) very punctuated, in terms of "here's what we are learning/accomplishing today" to "there, we did it!"

It's a good kind of wondering to do. And maybe the kind of wondering that will lead me to try out some filming. :)

2. I feel like I understand not only what your lesson looked like, but how I could apply it in my class. I always start probability off with an investigation, not exactly the same as yours, but similar in nature. The 2 minute video concept works, I think.

I agree on the files, you could construct those fairly quickly.

3. Great idea. You captured the spirit of the lesson and it didn't involve a one page plan. My only critique is that I wanted more. I wanted to look around and see the students, I wanted to hear more when the student said, 'let me change my response.' But seeing more doesn't necessarily improve the idea. Well done.

4. Really like this idea, Michael. Think you're on to something solid here. I did get the gist of the lesson and the engagement involved. I also appreciated this: "Sharing everything is sharing nothing." I feel the same way, similar to seeing someone highlighting everything on a page. Oy.