Thursday, July 29, 2010

I recently received a copy of Engaging Mathematics Students Using Cooperative Learning from Eye on Education publishing. Even though it is summer, and many other things were calling to me, somehow, this book kept making it back to the top of my To-Do pile. Upon reading it, I was not disappointed. As a matter of fact, I had difficulty putting it down.

Strebe does a great job of engaging the reader with his writing style that moves quickly from item to item leaving you with just enough information to understand the topic, without bogging you down with too many details.

There are many ideas in the book I plan to implement in my classroom this fall. I love his descriptions of many interchangeable ways to use cooperative learning to help students better understand mathematical (or any subject matter) concepts. His Think-Pair-Square-Share is one I am excited to use. It is easy to implement, and I can see my middle schoolers loving the social aspects of the process.

Strebe also advocates the use of various interrupters to refocus students when they inevitably begin to drift from your lessons. Many of these are the obvious - passing out papers, getting supplies, etc... - things we all MUST do in our classes. However, Strebe suggests using them at PLANNED times to change up what students are doing to help refocus them. Well, duh... why didn't *I* think of that?? I know now!

Another fun idea Strebe gives is using team competitions to encourage collaboration for learning. I have tried to use some competitions in the past with some success. Strebe's ideas gave me some great ideas about how to better structure these competitions for more effective outcomes.

All in all, I was thrilled with the book. It was easy to read, engaging and quick paced. I'll let you know how it works out this fall! :)

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