As Andrea and I travel to different schools this year, we have been asked to discuss where Success Criteria fits into a 3-part math lesson. We have been trying out a few different scenarios and want to share our observations so far. We are hoping to hear comments from other math teachers and coaches about what is working well (or not!) with respect to Learning Goals and Success Criteria in your math lessons.
The first time we applied our learning about Learning Goals and Success Criteria, we planned a 3-part problem solving lesson using Bansho. The curriculum expectation we wanted to cover was about students being able to determine when each operation was appropriate to use. This was an easy one to convert to kid-friendly Learning Goal language. The problem we chose could have been solved using a combination of any of the four basic operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing) but the most efficient way would have involved division. The teacher was hoping to determine how flexible her students were with choosing operations to solve an open problem, especially division. So far so good, right?
Well, we really hit a wall with the idea of co-constructing the success criteria. First, the students had never participated in Bansho before and would not be able to explain how to be successful at something that was brand new. Our second wall was that we did not want to tell the students to use division. We were hoping to see a variety of operations used and to use Bansho to have the students analyze the methods and reflect on ways they might try if given another, similar problem. We wanted a variety of solutions and strategies at this point. So, we created what we called Success Criteria that really just described what they would be doing at each stage of the lesson. What the teacher WAS able to do (after three more problem solving lessons involving Bansho), was to then co-create Success criteria for problem solving in math class. The students were able to reflect on what they did that was successful and create the criteria to refer to in future problem solving situations.
Since then, we have been working in a few more schools that are focusing on planning and communicating clear Learning Goals in Mathematics. Here is a picture of the Learning Goals and co-constructed Success criteria from our most recent school. We will report on our progress in future posts.
If you have been involved with this type of learning in your school, we would love to hear from you. Have you considered ways to get the learning goal across while maintaining a constructivist approach in Problem Solving? How have using Learning Goals and/or Success criteria helped your students? We look forward to continuing this learning process together.