The Vertical Classroom Project – Seeing is Believing

I began the Vertical Classroom Project due to a personal challenge made at Twitter Math Camp (#1TMCthing).  Being a math coach, I needed to enlist one teacher to join the project, and then persuade administration to spring for the white boards. Both ventures were successful.

The teacher:  Mr. P.  This year he teaches 5 LCAP classes which means the maximum for each class is 15 students – An ideal situation to test out the vertical classroom.

On this particular day, I was to run a white board activity with his 7th grade LCAP groups. Students were presented with an opener to complete, While Mr. P took attendance. I walked around the room and looked at student work.

It’s fair to say the energy level in the room was low.  The opener involved fractions – Some students were working, others weren’t. I noticed a lot of misconceptions in their work and decided to change the day’s plan.  Since my lesson involved the vertical classroom, I asked Mr. Peterson if we could use the white boards to discuss the opener.

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 11.06.59 AM

The energy in the room instantly shifted as the students set up their white board space.  Faces lit up.  Problems were immediately written on the boards. Conversations emerged. Everyone was working – even the kiddos who originally avoided the opener.  An academic buzz radiated throughout the room.

As students acknowledged and fixed their mistakes, they requested more and more fraction problems.  Their confidence was growing and their excitement, infectious.

We suddenly had a classroom of students who were compelled to share their learning.  Our time was spent asking students to explain their thinking, listening to their responses, asking clarifying questions, prompting students to help each other and giving high fives.

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 11.07.44 AM

Conclusion

The change in student engagement and attitude towards math was drastic.  One minute, students were zoning out and the next, they were happily working through fraction problems – even asking for more.  I understand it sounds too good to be true.  But I witnessed the transition first hand – Seeing is believing!  Incorporating the use of vertical non-permanent surfaces (VNPS) within lessons is a positive game changer.

Previous Post:  The Vertical Classroom Project Begins

About jgvadnais

Math Coach. Desmos Fellow. Google Level 1 Certified. SoCal transplant. New Englander at heart. Lover of yoga, dogs, green smoothies and coffee.
This entry was posted in vertical classroom, vnps, white boards and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Vertical Classroom Project – Seeing is Believing

  1. Pingback: The Vertical Classroom Project Begins | Communicating Mathematically

  2. Pingback: Dance Dance Transversal – A Guide | Communicating Mathematically

  3. Pingback: Kicking Off Genius Hour – A Guide | Communicating Mathematically

  4. Teresa Ryan says:

    Love the energy change in the kids, great call! Thanks for sharing this experience.

    Like

  5. Annie Forest says:

    I’m trying VNPS this year too! I teach 4 math classes and coach during 2 periods. I’m trying it in my classes with the hope to inspire others to try as well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Desmos, Dilations & the Vertical Classroom | Communicating Mathematically

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s