Saturday, August 4, 2018

Organizing Rich Tasks

This month, I'm participating in a blog challenge called Blaugust.  To see the list of participating blogs, click on the logo above. I would encourage to you please cheer on our participants with either a tweet or a comment on their blog during this month. It can be hard to blog on a daily (or even regular) schedule! :)  If you would like to join the blogging challenge, you can still sign-up anytime!

Confession time...

For years, I have had a goal of integrating rich tasks into my classroom and this year is no exception.

But... (here's the confession)... I didn't.  Or at least I didn't do it well.  There are a lot of excuses as to why, but that's not what this post is about. :)

For the first time in at least 5 years, I have the same preps as I did last year (YAY!), so I am determined that this is the year that I am going to meet my "Rich Tasks" goal.

But it's hard.  It is difficult to find good problems, to find time to sit down and sort through problems, to play with the 5 practices on how to integrate those problems.  So I had to find a way to get through some of those excuses.  I needed a way to organize the problems I did find so that when it came time to USE the problems, I could do so without additional stress.

Here's my plan:

I created a powerpoint for my Geometry book and started by making a screen for each chapter with a list of the individual lessons within each chapter.  Then, as I had time, I have populated it with problems that I've found on Open Middle, Exeter Math, Park School Math, NCTM Calendar, etc.  (I should note that I've put the source credit / link / page / number in the slide notes so that I will have access to the info but I can easily copy/paste the slides over to my working lesson PPT.)

One of the struggles I've had is what constitutes a rich task?  Mainly I've been looking for a couple of criteria:

  • Accessibility - We hear about this a lot with "low floor" tasks and "multiple entry points", but I am looking for problems that all students should be able to start somewhere
  • Multiple Methods - Learning is messy and part of what I love about math is that different strategies can all work well.  I want something that can create some rich dialogue on "how did you think through this problem?"
  • Interesting - Now granted, I chose problems that were interesting to me.. questions that made me think, ponder, wonder, and puzzle.  And just because I found it rich doesn't mean that others would and that's okay.  
One thing I've learned about myself over the years is that if I want something to change (and be a LASTING change), I need to figure out a way to make it sustainable when the craziness of the year happens and to make it user-friendly for me so that I have fewer excuses to ignore it.

Would love to hear how you organize tasks and/or your favorite places to find tasks! :)

1 comment:

Algebra's Friend said...

I love your organizational technique! This is a great idea ... that way as you work through your geometry lessons you can pop that presentation up or print out a slide!! I'm rooting for you :)