One thing both Dale and I have been struggling with as we teach from a more constructivist place in math is how to get the students to

In my class, we've been focussing on rich talk, and examining in considerable detail the facets of oral language that can help make for an effective partner or group conversation in the academic context. As we learn about these things, we've been posting ideas on a pocket chart in the room so that students can refer back to them as they are talking in class. (See photo at the bottom of this post.) The idea is that students will transfer the "Rich Talk" skills to our math classes, thus learning more effectively from one another.

Too tired to attempt a proper debrief at the end of today's problem involving a number line pattern, I tried a different approach, having students instead share their solutions with first one and two peers in the class. I hoped this would give them the opportunity to both practise expressing themselves orally using some of the math vocabulary I had been modelling earlier in the lesson, and practise listening and understanding as their partner(s) shared solutions.

*listen*and*focus*during the debrief part of the 3-part lesson format. It is during this final part of the lesson that the teaching and learning is highlighted, and we are both finding that many students seem to lack the stamina to stay focused for 30 or more minutes of carpet time suggested in the Bansho and Math Congress literature.In my class, we've been focussing on rich talk, and examining in considerable detail the facets of oral language that can help make for an effective partner or group conversation in the academic context. As we learn about these things, we've been posting ideas on a pocket chart in the room so that students can refer back to them as they are talking in class. (See photo at the bottom of this post.) The idea is that students will transfer the "Rich Talk" skills to our math classes, thus learning more effectively from one another.

Too tired to attempt a proper debrief at the end of today's problem involving a number line pattern, I tried a different approach, having students instead share their solutions with first one and two peers in the class. I hoped this would give them the opportunity to both practise expressing themselves orally using some of the math vocabulary I had been modelling earlier in the lesson, and practise listening and understanding as their partner(s) shared solutions.

This approach actually worked quite well. I was impressed with how quickly students chose partners and got right to work discussing their solutions. Some of them even used the sentence stems we had been practising from our "Rich Talk" pocket chart!

While they did this, I continued wandering about with my clipboard and class list to listen in on various conversations, to see what I could glean from their "math talk". In some cases, I was able to observe considerable understanding, and ask questions to stretch some students into deeper thinking. (For example, one student noticed that one could count by 2s, 5s and 10s, and I asked whether 3 might work.) For students I had had a chance to observe or interact with sufficiently to form a grounded judgement, I noted their demonstrated level of understanding, and made a few anecdotal notes beside their names to illustrate. |