As we have been working on “communicating” in math this year, I wanted to give my students a model of what good communication looks like when students are explaining a strategy they used to solve a problem. Wendler’s students are quite articulate, so I thought I’d share the video with my grade 3s
The eventual plan is to co construct some criteria for what effective communication in math looks like, and then use these CCCs to self, peer and teacher assess students’ communication when they explain their thinking during a math problem. But I didn’t want to just throw them into this task “cold”, so to speak. So I decided to start with a warm up activity:
This morning, I showed my students Wendler’s video, and asked them to just notice some similarities and differences between his classroom and ours.
I provided the stems below, and had students first discuss several similarities and differences with a partner, then write one or two comparative sentences down. (We shared the latter in a circle later on.)
It was interesting to see the sorts of things the students focussed on (everything from seating arrangement, to availability of a carpet to similar strategies used to solve addition problems!) and it gave me a good idea of what is important to my students.
Tomorrow we will watch the video again. Since it will not be their first viewing, I’ll now ask them to focus more specifically on how the students communicate their thinking.
I will ask them whether they think the students in Wendler’s class communicate effectively, and – if so – what it is that makes their explanations “effective”. We will craft these qualities into specific criteria, which will be posted for later reference.
Dale and I already came up with a list as we previewed the video last week:
(The three near the end of the list are meant to be more "level 4-ish" criteria.)
It will be interesting to see how similar or different our students’ interpretations are to/from our own!