Highlighters, my BFF.

Friday, July 24, 2015
Lets face it, highlighting keywords goes way back! I don't think I'm adding anything new to it, but I think it'd be nice to share!

For math, I used different colored highlighters to identify specific components of a math equation. The colors are super useful with helping students know where to look and what information to put in the equation. Also, if you combine the colors, students know that it's the combination of two components that go into that space. Here's some examples:

Guided Notes for Circumference

Take a look above and follow along!
  1. Start with the formula. You're only seeing a section of the notes, so the student already knows what each letter or symbol means. I would highlight the letter d and have the student tell me what it means.
  2. If they don't remember, that's okay. That's why there's this reteach section on the side. I would have the student highlight "diameter" in the same color.
  3. Now it's time to head into Guided Practice, the question is read and the student has to locate the diameter. In this case, they highlighted the image.
  4. I then ask the student "where would you put this information? highlight it for me." The student highlights the section, inputs the information, and solves the equation.
That's a simple equation. What about multistep ones, you may ask? I'm already there too.

This time, the student had to locate three different components. Follow along!
  1. I chose blue for length. I asked the student to highlight the length section of the pre-filled equation, locate the length of the pyramid in the picture,  and highlight it the number that they believed was the length. 
  2. Same steps for width, different color.
  3. Same steps for height, different color.
  4. Place the numbers where they belong in the equation in step 2. 
  5. The answer is a combination of all three colors so I boxed it in all the colors. 
  6. I prompt the student to bring down the combined answer into step 3 and they should begin solving. 
After doing this once or twice with a student, they should get the hang of it and begin highlighting and solving. I specifically tell the student (who used a calculator): "this is how you show your work [through highlighting] and if I don't see it, you won't get full credit." When I check the work, I can easily see if the students errors came from either their arithmetic or their identifying information.  

The notes I made are easily done with me or my co-teacher since the directions follow the "I do, We do, You do" model. Students watch as the teacher models the highlighting and locating information process, they then work with a teacher, and you can gauge whether they are ready for independent work. Our students would independently work on problems in their math textbook. At times, I have made a copy of the assignment so that students can highlight it. However, the student that I worked with preferred to draw so I let her do her thang!

This student worked so hard this year! She started the year learning how to use a calculator and identifying
correct math operational signs. She's currently working on two step equations using highlighters!

I'll be uploading my guided notes to TPT, for Volume and Area, sometime this week! Make sure you check it out!


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