This past Wednesday was the last day for my Teaching and Learning Middle Grade Mathematics course. It was also the end of our unit on teaching mathematics, which meant developing an anchor chart to represent our current understanding (much like we did for doing math and learning math). Instead of having them summarize the content, I asked them to consider what their future classroom might look like given what we knew about doing, learning, and teaching mathematics.
The following video sums up the activity. This group of preservice teachers considered the role communication (learners placed in groups) and technology would play in their classroom but then they stopped and thought about their future learners. The result was surprising to me (the reason I like open-ended activities like this).
Cynically, I might think that they were trying to avoid the work, but they had already done the work. The final vision of their future classroom represented an authentic concern about meeting learners where they are at. The other groups agreed and I felt good about what they had learned this semester.
We spent the rest of the class watching a TED Talk and discussing the future of education. It wasn't the end-of-the-year party that a lot of classes were having, but it was a celebration. I love my job!