Divergent Questioning in 8th Grade Math
Lesson Objective: See the challenges of making big changes in your classroom
Grade 8 / Math / Teacher Evaluation

Thought starters

  1. In this classroom shift, what challenges will Mr. B face?
  2. What challenges will his students face?
  3. Why?
  4. What could Mr. Brettle do at the beginning of his lessons to get students invested?
  5. What could Mr. B do to help his students work in groups more effectively?
First, I want to commend Mr. Brettle for agreeing to this process. You have a tough class and it is clear you are open to getting feedback to your practice. I have to take issue with two things that your mentor discussed with you. Students can learn from each other in groups, but you must start in pairs. Your mentor told you to start in groups of 4, but after observing some of your students off-task she suggested you reduce the group size. I'm not sure why she didn't suggest starting your students in pairs and then working up to groups of threes and fours. The other comment I felt that was unnecessary was that your students are walking all over you. I feel the opposite. It is clear to me that your students respect you, but they are unsure of how to work in groups. It also seems that they weren't sure of how to get started which led to some of the misbehavior. Keep up the good work and thank you for putting your practice on film.
Recommended (3)
Mr. B is on a path of improving his practice and is open to analysis of his teaching style and strategies. Cooperative learning (CL) can work if implemented strategically. I recommend Spencer Kagan's "Cooperative Learning" book because it not only provides teachers with CL structures which are easy to grasp and utilize, but also provides help with teaching the social skills that students need to be successful in pairs or groups of 4. I used to wonder why my CL attempts failed, then I took a CL course and realized that I had never acquired any strategies. There is research and methodology that can be applied and the results are astounding--students on task, happy, and learning. Kagan's book should be easily attained either on his website or Amazon. Your students are lucky to have such a dedicated teacher. I wish you continued success!
Recommended (0)
thanks Mr. B for opening up your practice to other teachers
Recommended (0)
Great teachers are constantly learning, asking questions, and pushing themselves forward. It is obvious that Mr. B has a passion for his work and is aiming for greatness. Thank you so much for opening your classroom to all of us.
Recommended (0)
Thank you all for your thoughtful comments! And of course to Mr B. for opening your classroom doors.
Recommended (0)

School Details

Washington Grover Jr School
201 East Olney Ave
Philadelphia PA 19120
Population: 563

Data Provided By:



Raymond Brettle



All Grades / All Subjects / Tch Tools

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture