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There are both benefits and challenges for students be able to relate to each other. To begin with, increased motivation can be a benefit. If students are able to relate to each other, they may feel more connected and understood. This may encourage collaboration and increase the positivity of the learning environment. Students may gain a sense of another person’s perspective and take on a better approach for giving constructive feedback.
Although we hope that students will be able to gain a sense of other people’s perspectives through classroom interaction, this may be challenging, particularly when students have different cultural backgrounds and interests. For instance, if a student writes a multiplication word problem based on empanadas, the student’s peer may not be familiar with empanadas and would not be able to relate. Also, if a student writes down a multiplication word problem based on baseball and his/her peers do not know the context of baseball, the peers may not understand the student’s problem.
Since much of the collaboration of this lesson will take place online, another challenge may be effective communication through ThumbScribes. For example, if Student B makes typos in their word problem, Student A may not be able to read it. Also, if Student A does not understand Student B’s word problem, Student A may not be able to type effective feedback to Student B. Additionally, if Student B reads Student A’s feedback online, Student B may misinterpret Student A’s suggestions.
Having students relate to one another is crucial for our lesson because student collaboration is essential to creating and solving multiplication open equation word problems. In order to combat the challenges above, the classroom teacher will provide students with a variety of opportunities to relate to one another. For instance, in the beginning of this unit, students will attempt to solve a word problem to the best of their ability. They will then share their strategies to the rest of the class. This will help students understand there are multiple ways of solving a problem.
Students will also relate to each other by discussing ways multiplication can be used in their everyday lives. Furthermore, students will be able to talk about their concerns face to face during class time. This will give students the opportunity to clarify any miscommunications and misunderstandings.
In addition to having the classroom teacher facilitate paper/pencil activities, we will also have him/her serve as a facilitator for online activities. If a student is having a hard time giving and receiving feedback on ThumbScribes, the classroom teacher will ask the student guiding questions to improve their feedback. The classroom teacher will also work with the technology teacher to reinforce the rules of netiquette with the students. Both teachers will give examples and strategies on how students should appropriately write and respond to each other.