The introduction discusses once again why building a “math talk” community is so critical to fostering a deep understanding of mathematics concepts in our students. And the questions provided with each visual help the teacher facilitate the “building on” process that research shows helps students deepen their appreciation of any given mathematical problem.
I want to use bits of this resource with selected groups of students in my classroom. When and how can I build this into my already-packed program?
Also, how can I develop my “rich questioning automaticity” so that I become more proficient in responding to comments students make, with a relevant, probing question that encourages them to think more or differently about a concept or idea?
Finally, what do I do about the students who just won’t or can’t pay attention, even with visuals and rich questions? With the building of vocabulary “walls” within each lesson of a given unit, Dale and I are taking one step to address the ESL factor, and helping students to build their mathematical academic vocabulary. And my little checklist is helping me to ask some meaningful follow-up questions during the debrief phase of a lesson and as I circulate amongst pairs of students during problem-solving time. But I still have several students who – due to lack of sleep or proper diet, or because of medically unaddressed attention-deficit concerns – continue to find it incredibly difficult to sit on the carpet and engage in a large group conversation about the mathematics we are supposed to be uncovering together as a class.
It seems as though all the good books and monographs we’ve read about teaching math, while offering excellent insights into mathematics and how to make the teaching of it more meaningful for many students, fail to address the classroom management factors germane to most real-life classrooms in urban Ontario in 2013.
Although I value the expertise offered by Marian Small and her contemporaries, it sure would be helpful to read something written by a practising teacher who successfully implements all or many of the things we’ve been reading about, in a “real” classroom!