Yesterday, I was privileged to sit through a great session performance tasks. It was awesome. The presenter started with the handshake problem. Its based on the idea of if you have a certain number of people in the room and everyone shakes each other's hands, how many handshakes happened?
Once everyone had an answer, people wrote their answers up on the board. Rather than say who was correct, she had us stand up and recreate it while writing the information in a T-chart on the board. By the time she got to the end, everyone understood what was going on and who had the answer.
She defined performance tasks as tasks with either multiple answers or multiple ways to get single answers. It was also cool because she shared with us student work so we could see their thinking. As a final step in the process, she had us take our textbooks and find a problem in the section we are teaching to rewrite into performance tasks.
Before we rewrote anything, she showed us how to take a simple coin problem which had one answer and change it into a performance task. We also talked about ways of grading the task using a rubric. This is important for me because the state is going to put performance tasks on the next state test in April so my students need to know how to do them.
I have the perfect place to put them. Wednesdays I usually have the students do word problems from the NCTM magazines. I think I"ll start performance tasks on Wednesdays. A performance task is a specialized word problem so we will be moving from problems with one answer to problems with either multiple answers or multiple ways to solve.
I am thrilled to have had this lesson. The leader is a retired math teacher who now works as a coach. It is so refreshing. I get tired of going to professional development only to get someone who has no idea how to apply their material to Math. This was totally awesome and the lady is due back in January at our next in-service. Yeah!!!!