math portfolios

A number of kids are struggling with math. They “get it” but they aren’t applying it. They aren’t “owning” their learning. Rather than work it out, they “need help” even though it is clear that they actually know what is required.

There are three reasons why they aren’t doing the problems

  • don’t know what to do
  • don’t know how to do it
  • don’t want to do it

Or it may be some of each. With a little prompting they know “what” and “how” so why do they need the prompting rather than just doing it – most of their classmates can? Lack of confidence? Need for attention through personal interaction? Procrastination? Learned “helplessness”?

This is an interesting opportunity to try out some different approached to getting these kids to acquire some additional learning skills – personal record keeping, reflections, monitoring progress might help. The kids have 1:1 iPads so these could be used to accumulate artifacts into a math portfolio.

  • keep lists of links to resources that worked for them, helped them solve a “hard” problem, explanations they liked – video, animation, etc.
  • samples of work they are proud of – save a showbie response page
  • math pictures
  • record their own grades, progress – create graphs, charts, checklists so they see how they are doing

Math portfolio
student’s thinking, understanding, and mathematical problem-solving skills, and thus offers a picture of the student’s progress in math. Following are some suggestions on how you can incorporate the use of portfolios – talks about paper, but digital would work.

I was thinking digital initially but if paper would keep the “overhead” down, that might be the way to start.

Some online tools for collecting and displaying their stuff – not specific to portfolios but can be used

This article (may 2014) lists 4 more.

Three Ring would certainly be a possibility. Device independence is a good strategy.

Some activities to consider

  • students on their own decided to use the video capability on the phones to record each other solving math problems, and then created their own repository of problem-solving videos they could use for self-remediation
  • if kids get stuck because that are missing some prior knowledge, backtrack through the Coherence Map to find step, learn that and move ahead.

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