Volume 1 / Issue 3: Tips, Tools and Resources
JOT: Math Warm-Up Activities
How (and Why) I Stopped Saying, “I like the way you…”
For a long time, when I wanted to give students positive feedback about their work or behavior, I began with some version of, “I like the way you…”
- “Jeremy, I like the way you’re working so hard on that math challenge!”
- “Hey, everyone! I loved the way you just walked down the hall so quietly!”
- “Lisa, I appreciate how much energy you have for this science project!”
- “Markus, thank you so much for pushing in your chair after lunch!”
In addition to using this kind of language to provide positive feedback, I also used it to manipulate other students.
- While looking at Richard with eyebrows raised and eyes wide, I might compliment Laura, “Laura I love the way you’re sitting still and ready to listen.”
- “Rico’s group…I like the way you’re picking up your writing supplies and putting them away so quickly!” (I would be looking around the room at all of the other groups who were not cleaning up.)
Then, in 1995, I took a summer workshop with Paula Denton (one my most important and influential professional mentors), who later authored The Power of Our Words. Through this workshop, I realized that my language, something I had never really thought about that deeply, needed some work.
CGI Math Resources