Monday, March 24, 2014

Tate's Strategy

Okay, I admit, my title is kind of copying one of my favorite bloggy buddies, Tammy at:
Forever In First
 But this happened right after her Walter's Strategy post so...
The cool thing is that the two strategies really have absolutely nothing to do with one another...but both prove that the idea of letting your students share their strategies with one another can be more powerful than the teacher trying to teach the same exact thing.
Before I share Tate's Strategy, let me tell you how we got there.
We use Reading Street which means we have a main story every week. I have found reading the actual story during my Daily 5 groups has become nearly impossible (longer stories in 2nd grade = not enough time), so I have been reading it whole group on Mondays. Then I decided to try something a little different...
I printed out a page of questions that went along with the story, split the kiddos into groups, and assigned them tasks (i.e. questioner, recorder, leader, etc.). They read the story together and discussed it (thanks to my list of questions). Here's some pictures:

It was what happened afterwards that got me so excited...
Each story has a selection test (comprehension test) with two essay questions. I have been trying to teach my 2nd graders how to answer in a complete sentence, often explaining that it would be a good idea to start with part of the question.
On this particular day, I let them work together on the selection test.
That's when it happened.
I stumbled on Tate teaching his group his "strategy." He places a mark in the question after the question words so he knows where to start his answer...see below:

Of course, I was so excited about this great tip and projected it on the board for all to see. Then I had him explain his strategy to the class.
The best part was when I had kiddos say things like:
"Mrs. R, Tate's strategy is really helping me!"
"Now I get it, Mrs. R!"
Just a great reminder that sometimes as teachers we just need to get out of the way! Kids know how to talk to kids. They know how to help each other - often better than the teacher. I know there have been several times that I have thought to myself, I don't know how to explain it any simpler.
Been there?
Try letting a kiddo step in next time. I know I will after seeing Tate's Strategy work!
Okay, last thing...a little heart warmer:

P.S. Yes, I am still playing with the FrameMagic app. You should try it!


  1. You're very right. Tate's and Walter's strategies really aren't alike, but they both prove a good point. It's a win-win situation, and it's a pretty special moment for the person whose strategy is highlighted too. Thanks for the shout out!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. I love to give shout-outs, Tammy, especially to one of my favorite bloggers!


  2. Love this! I often let the students explain their thinking/strategies during math problems, but it's prompted by me and not always heard. I'm going to look for more opportunities like this to authentically display kids' strategies and ways to solve problems. Awesome post!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Amber. Hoping you overhear some strategies soon! :-)


  3. I love that post! Kids often do a better job at teaching the trickier stuff. Go figure:)

    1. It's pretty humbling to realize the kiddos can explain it better than me though! Ha! :-)



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