As a teacher, one thing that can be really intimidating is trying to teach something to your students that you do not feel you have mastered yourself. I see this happening most when teaching or using a new technology. I began using Scratch in my math class two years ago. When I started implementing it, I was FAR from an expert. This was nerve wracking because I knew that I had students in my classroom that used Scratch all of the time. I thought to myself, “What if the kids know more than me?!”
I have learned over time that instead of looking at this as a negative, turn this into a positive. Take yourself away from the “expert” role in front of the classroom and place your students into this role.
Before you begin integrating coding into your own math classroom giving a quick
can really help you understand the level of experience your students have had around computer science. This simple form can help guide your instruction as well as give you a quick indicator as to students that you could use as resources when coding in the math classroom.
After gathering this data the next step in turning your students into the experts is creating a list of students per period, that are willing to be resources to their classmates. The list of these names should be placed in a spot that is visible to other students. (Before putting a student’s name anywhere public it is always a good idea to ask for permission. We took care of that in our google form.)
My coworkers have had a very successful time with placing the student expert names on the whiteboard in the front of the classroom. Here is an example that they used just last week as they introduced Scratch to their math students. During work time, the students in the classroom knew exactly who they could go to as they became stuck.
Students typically look to the teacher as the expert in the classroom. This approach allows students to look to each other for assistance and helps them take ownership over their own learning.
Many more student questions are able to be addressed when allowing multiple helpers around the classroom. No one feels neglected or as if they are raising their hand the entire period.
Typically, I have found the list of students who are “the experts” are students who are not on the A or B honor roll. These kids beam each day they are placed in such a positive leadership role. It raises their confidence immensely. What a great way to give positive recognition to your students who may need it the most.
It is an amazing visual that has potential to grow throughout the entire school year. Many names will be added to this list as students become more familiar with Scratch. This is such a positive way to demonstrate a growth mindset, students may not get something the first time they learn it, but with practice they can do anything.
There is a lot of power in learning alongside your student. Students see you as a learner, and you are able to share and celebrate authentic moments in the classroom with them.
I will end this post with a powerful quote from Seymour Papert,
“If I want to be a better learner, I’ll go find somebody who’s a good learner
and with this person do some learning.”