Sometimes when I observe teachers I find myself watching something akin to a game show. A super energetic teacher, standing in front of the group, hands and arms gesturing vibrantly.

And I can tell that the teacher feels great about him or herself.

And I can tell that the teacher is doing math.

And I can tell that the kids are not.

**Students are smiling and laughing at the jokes and nodding their heads, but they’re not doing math!**

**More often I observe math classes where the teacher is sitting at the front of the class modeling solutions to math problems. It is more obvious in these rooms that the teacher is doing math and the students are not.**

But either way, whether the teacher is having fun entertaining the bunch or boring her class and herself, the kids are not getting their hands dirty, using their problem solving skills, and falling in love with math.

## If this sounds like your class, even a tiny bit, I challenge you to flip the structure of your math class.

Instead of I Do, We Do, You Do (also known as Gradual Release), try You Do, We Do, I Do.

### How does that work?!

**You Do:** Welcome your students to math class. Quickly show them the activities they’ll be trying. I don’t mean model a few problems or give them hints about how to get started. Maybe just read the directions aloud or maybe just say, “This activity sheet will be at this table. You know where to find the base 10 blocks. You have 30 minutes to work on it. Read the directions carefully!”

**We Do:** Gather the group for the last 15 or 20 minutes of class and do one of two things: Ask students to share how they solved one of the problems they were working on OR ask everyone to solve a new problem (related to what they’ve been working on) and share solutions. Set a participation expectation: I’m going to ask 3 of you to share, and I want the rest of you to think of a comment or question for each of the 3 people sharing.

**I Do:** If necessary, and only IF, model solving a problem for the class. For example, if not one student used the strategy you had in mind, tell the class you’re going to take a turn sharing a solution. You might find that it’s not that often that you need this step!

### How will flipping the structure change my math class?

When you flip the structure of your math class, having students get to work first and modeling last, **you’ll find that your whole class is engaged and participating.** They pick up on the **respect** you’re showing them – you believe in them to figure things out on their own, and you are there for them if they need support.

**When you do model math strategies for students at the end of class, you’ll notice more students actively listening and watching.** This is because they have just had a chance to solve problems their own way, and while they watch you they can compare and contrast their process with yours. They’ll have a base for understanding and connecting strategies.

**You will never again have the problem of a lesson taking so long that students don’t have time to practice. **Need I say more? I will! You will also have a stronger pulse on your group. As they work (for MOST of the class period), you can circulate and observe their strengths and challenges as mathematicians.

### I challenge you to ask yourself: Who is doing the most thinking and problem solving during math class? Me or my students? If the answer is you, flip your class!