A Teacher’s Noticings and Wonderings from Day 1

These past few days have been somewhat of a blur with changing to a 7 period day, teaching all middle school for the first time ever, and even teaching in a new classroom where I’m not used to the set up yet.  I’d forgotten how exhausting teaching is with all of the decisions we make in a day!

But I am LOVING the changes!  I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m teaching all middle schoolers now, that half of my classes are students I’ve taught before, or that I’ve been trying quite a few new things in my classroom, but it’s been a great start to the year!

I know I’m probably super late on Annie Fetter’s Notice/Wonder video, but it was new to me over the summer.  I’ve been asking students to notice and wonder quite a bit already this year and also ask students “What else? What else? What else?” thanks to Sara Van Der Werf.

During the first day of “Notice/Wonder” and “What else?”, I noticed and wondered things as the teacher.

The first happened when students were noticing and wondering things about Fawn Nguyen’s Noah’s Ark problem.


At one point, I was sort of hiding out in the back of the room so students could focus on the picture on the board.  It didn’t take long for me to notice that a few students had turned around and looked to me.  I exclaimed, “You guys!  You aren’t noticing and wondering things about my face!  Look at the board!  You’re noticing and wondering things about the picture up there!”  Maybe not the best reaction I could have had, but that’s what happened.

Now, I’m wondering what I can do to change the culture in my classroom so that students don’t always look to me for the answers and trust themselves to be able to come up with their own mathematical ideas about problems.


The second instance occurred when we were talking about group work norms after using Sara Van Der Werf’s 100 numbers task.


After seeing pictures of themselves doing the task, students were answering the question, “What does good group work in math class look like?”  As they were giving me responses, I kept saying “What else?”.  At one point a student said, “Can you give us a hint?  What does it start with?”  Another instance of a student assuming that I had a specific answer I was looking for.  The student was surprised when I said that there wasn’t anything particular I was looking for and that I wanted them to come up with responses.  Again, I wondered how I can change that culture in my classroom this year.


At first I was sort of hard on myself regarding both of these situations because they both happened in classes of students I’d had before.  However, when I taught them before, I didn’t know what I know now.  Now I know, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to work with these students again and teach them the things I now know.

Also, I shouldn’t jump over the fact that I noticed those two situations in my classroom and that they stood out to me.  I don’t know that I would have done that in the past.  I may have noticed them in the past and found them funny, but now I notice them and realize that they are examples of something I need to work on with students in my classroom.


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