Independent Practice

“if you practice elaboration, there’s no known limit to how much you can learn.  Elaboration is the process of giving new material meaning by expressing it in your own words and connecting it with what you already know.  The more you can explain about the way your new learning relates to your prior knowledge, the stronger your grasp of the new learning will be, and the more connections you create that will help you remember it later.”

            - Peter Brown, Make it Stick

As a teacher, I aim for each of my students to experience a balance of effusive success and challenge during independent practice.  To accomplish this, I go through the following process when planning lessons:

  1. Think of the class' weakest student while studying workbook practice problems.  Are they likely to become frustrated?

  2. If the answer is Yes, I write out a sub-set of problems to build their confidence before they get to the workbook.

  3. Reexamine the workbook practice problems, thinking of the class' strongest student.  Are they likely to feel under-challenged?

  4. If the answer is Yes, I create a challenge for early finishers.  Two of my favorite extension resources are Deco Trees and Singapore Math Intensive Practice books.