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Starting Class with Eric Finch

September 23, 2013

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Last week I sat in on Eric Finch’s problem-solving Geometry/Algebra class. How he began the class was a superb model for teaching at its finest:

  • Students went to the board in groups of 2-3 to solve a problem: they were “doing” math immediately.
  • They were collaborating, trying to figure out the problem together.
  • They were performing. Eric asked them questions, had one student do a problem for the whole class, but kept asking the other students questions about that central problem.
  • He cold-called on students to keep them all involved.
  • He demanded the exact right answer; he didn’t settle for 75% correct or 95% correct.

And that was just the first 10 minutes of a double period.

As teachers, if we all leaped at the start of class and set such a rigorous and engaging tone and pace, our students will be challenged in exciting, passionate ways.

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