Many teachers do not have the luxury of a double math block in their timetable, and even when they do, it may not be long enough to do a "good" job on some concepts. Dale has long held the position and even blogged about taking more than one day to complete a single math lesson, and I am increasingly convinced that he is correct in this assumption.
This year as we whip through a seemingly endless number of curriculum expectations, assemblies, performances, field trips, reading buddy meeting, etc., etc., etc., it has been tempting to leave off the "end" of the lesson, that is, the "practise/consolidate" question that we prepare for students to work on AFTER they have done the main lesson, and we have taken it up and recorded the "what we learned" comments.
But this does not do students any favours. Those who are stronger in math do not get the opportunity to stretch their thinking by testing out new ways to approach a problem. And those who already struggle are robbed of an opportunity to try again.
Today, I continued my morning math lesson after lunch, taking a full 40 minutes out of the hour I had with my students in the afternoon to record "what we learned" in the morning lesson in greater detail, and to give them time to apply what they had learned to the consolidation question. I had students hand in their responses, and was surprised at how much more detailed and accurate the responses were than their work on the lesson problem earlier had been.
Does this mean we might run out of time before the end of the year, and that some units will be shorter or not taught at all?
I will make a bold confession: It is very likely that neither Dale nor I will address every single expectation from the math curriculum this year. (Can I get fired for admitting that?!) But we know that if we teach more thoughtfully and slowly we will instill in our students a greater sense of precision and understanding of the expectations that we do uncover with them!