# Blog Archives

## Day 68: Wall Pops! in My Classroom

I found this idea on Pinterest, posted by Keri Lewis an elementary teacher on her blog KinderKeri, but I thought I could use it in the high school setting. Basically, you use colorful Wall Pops!, a peel-stick+move dry erase dots on a table. I usually have a cup with lots of different colored dry erase markers (a little low in the photo).

Then when my kiddos come in for extra help, we pull out the colored markers and we work out problems together.  The dots make for a non-threatening “third point” for discussion.  A third point in a space off to the side of a conversation between a teacher and student provides a psychologically safe place for information, concerns and problems to land that students might bring to a help session.  The big dot offers a subtle but critical distancing of the information that may be causing students to feel anxious about not understanding.  The dots are colorful, so it initially feels “fun” and the students love to write on them.  The act of writing larger than on a piece of paper also helps students slow down a bit while also making their thinking visible to me as I’m trying to help.

What are some strategies you use to help students feel comfortable confronting their misunderstandings and build better grasp of the ideas?

## Day 39: Confused about Fractions

Today in precalculus, I was beat over the head about how important it is for students to truly understand the conceptual underpinnings of learned procedures.  I asked students to evaluate a difference quotient expression where the function was the inverse function:

Simplify the expression  when  :   Then evaluate when x = 3 and h = 0.

Did I learn a lot about what students had memorized poorly as well as misconceptions.  What a great opportunity to explore via asking the right questions their misunderstandings as well as give them tools for figuring things out when they are not sure how the mechanics work.

This problem also gave us an opportunity to revisit the idea of an undefined value when it is indeterminant in nature; i.e. 0/0 and how that is related to the point discontinuity.  Good stuff today!