2013 Jun 26. See every edition of Makeover Monday.
Here is a “high-leverage teaching practice,” according to Deborah Ball:
Teachers appraise and modify curriculum materials to determine their appropriateness for helping particular students work towards specific learning goals. This involves considering students’ needs and assessing what questions and ideas particular materials will raise and the ways in which they are likely to challenge students. Teachers choose and modify materials accordingly, sometimes deciding to use parts of a text or activity and not others, for example, or to combine material from more than one source.
So every Monday this summer, I’ll post a problem from a textbook and start a conversation about how we could modify it. The details of that makeover may take the form of a loose sketch or something more formal. In either case, I’m going to be explicit about the goal of the makeover.
Fawn Nguyen, who’s been on an absolute tear lately, illustrated this process recently. She took this task:
And then she showed how she implemented it with her students. Her goal wasn’t something formless along the lines of, “Well this sucks and I want to make it more engaging.” In the title of her post, she says explicitly she wanted students to have some personal, creative input on the constraints of the problem. So she had her students start by drawing their own golf course. She set a high bar for the rest of us.
You should play along. You can feel free to e-mail me a textbook task you’d like us to consider. Include the name of the textbook it came from. Or, if you have a blog, post your own makeover and send me a link. I’ll feature it in my own weekly installment. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org.