# math discussions in the classroom

The Online Math “Classroom” – Best Practices for Discussions CCCOnline Math Department Webinar Friday, August 23rd, 2013 1 – 2:30 pm Based on a four-year research project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, this … Talk Moves: A Teacher's Guide for Using Classroom Discussions in Math offers an award-winning, unparalleled look at the significant role that classroom discussions can play in teaching mathematics and deepening students' mathematical understanding and learning. Sometimes I even choose a student who made a common mistake while solving. Instead, they know I expect them to check over their work and consider other strategies they could use to solve the problem. My first step was to circle the 5 because there were already 5 dogs. Encourage children to use "scenes" and toys to act out situations such as three … Implementing math discussions into your classroom is an effective way for students to develop strong communication skills and deepen their understanding of mathematical content. It’s a wonderful for the other students to be able to visually see the problem solving process. Can you prove your thinking? How to Engage Students in Meaningful Math Discussions. I have relied on the platform Edpuzzle to accomplish this. Students can make conjectures, link prior knowledge to current understanding… As the student is sharing their work with the class, prompt others to respond and discuss the work using the math talk sentence starters. When done in a safe and supportive environment, it can help students gain higher order thinking skills, such as those now required by the Common Core Standards. The Common Core standards have brought a greater emphasis on higher order thinking skills to our classrooms. Some more dogs came. They’ll be engaging in richer discourse that leads to increased understanding. I recommend taking time as a whole-class to come up with rules for math talk. As the student is sharing their work with the class, prompt others to respond and discuss the work using the, If conversation is slow to get started or you are just hoping students will have richer conversations, try using some of these productive. Additionally, I have employed this strategy by posting a video of myself solving a problem incorrectly and have asked students to identify the mistakes and provide the necessary corrections to reach the appropriate answer. In the next and final blog in this series, we will dive into the specific strategies that teachers can use to foster meaningful conversations about what students are thinking, doing and learning. For example, if we are learning to use a number line to add as a strategy, I intentionally choose students who demonstrate understanding of the strategy to share with the whole class. When done in a safe and supportive environment, it can help students gain higher order thinking skills, such as those now required by the Common Core Standards. Because math talk engages students! Next, have them turn and talk to a partner. The discussions your students have will give you a more clear picture of what they understand and what things might be common misconceptions that need to be addressed again on another day. The student I choose to share does not need to have the right answer. In a district where almost 30 percent of the students are learning English, these goals have meant a radical change in how math is taught in the early grades. How many dogs came to the park? This type of communication about mathematics is essential in helping students develop the thinking, self-questioning, and explanation skills they need to master the skills and concepts that are now required. Teachers use the Desmos Activity Builder tool to create a … the ability to solve the problem in one or more ways. Within the first month of school, my third graders were able to … These sentence stems provide students with the word structure they’ll use when they have to explain their thinking, add on to another student’s thinking, disagree, or ask for clarification or help. While I recognized that my fantasy was a bit of a stretch even before I began, I very quickly realized that I needed to make some major adjustments to my instructional planning to create the type of highly engaged and high-performing classroom I wanted. Anyone who has been in a classroom, especially a sixth-grade one, can easily find fault with my fantasy—there are very few students who want to be passively lectured at and fewer who plan on silently absorbing information for a full 90 minutes at a time. I used a different strategy though. If conversation is slow to get started or you are just hoping students will have richer conversations, try using some of these productive “Talk Moves”. Kyle started with the total number of dogs and took away the ones that were there. (, Once the norms for math talk have been well-established, mistakes can be highlighted and students typically won’t be bothered by being wrong in front of the class.). When it is used correctly it increases students’ enjoyment of the class and strengthens students’ understanding of concepts. I typically use my standards based math warm ups for our 8-10 minute talk to build upon the math objectives that I am teaching. Math Talk discussions are an effective way for students to develop strong communication skills and deepen their understanding of mathematical content. Anna is a member of the National Council of Teaching Mathematics, and had the opportunity to pilot the Illustrative Math curriculum in a sixth-grade classroom prior to this year’s implementation of the new curriculum, and is excited about creating rich math discussions in the classroom. I will then wait for students to point these out. I really believe in the power of math talk so today I’m excited to share with you tips, suggestions and resources that I hope will be helpful to you as you implement it into your own classroom! It may be helpful to have another teacher join you to help model it. This article explores ways to get your students thinking and communicating mathematically from the very first days of school. Your email address will not be published. Through text-based, whole classroom discussions, students can learn powerful norms and skills for collaboration such as listening, adding to others’ Online discussion can be motivating and encouraging for many students! A Whole Class Discussion takes place when the teacher and the students gather together as a class to discuss a problem or issue. Then I crossed out 5 of them because 5 were already there. Last year, an ed tech startup called Desmos faced a curious conundrum: Classrooms using its math app grew quiet, too quiet. Over the last 20 years, mathematics educators have observed and analyzed alternatives to recitation, a common talk format found in typical U.S. classrooms. Listen in on their partner-share conversations and be on the lookout for new strategies that you want to highlight for the whole class. Using mathematical discussions in the classroom is a powerful way to increase our students’ critical thinking and communication skills. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 9, 38-43. If they feel they have had a part in creating the norms, they will be likely to follow them. While students share, I scan student work looking for specific strategies that I want to highlight. Develop discussion in Mathematics. Instead, we as teachers can respond with “What do we think about that?” in response to a given answer. S- He used a number line and started at 5. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Additionally, I have utilized Flipgrid to allow students to record themselves providing responses to questions. Talking about mathematical concepts allows students to reflect on their own understanding while making sense of and critiquing the ideas of others. Common Core Standard of Math Practice 3 is: “construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.” Tell us what you were thinking. Now there are 11 dogs. If you are looking for more resources to use in your classroom you can download these below! The student I choose to share does not need to have the right answer. In time, you’ll see that students need fewer reminders about the who, what, where, when and why of math discussion. Jaden started with how many dogs were already there and added. Make a paper plate clock. To employ this strategy in an asynchronous session of distance learning, I have utilized Google Docs to pose a question on a collaborative document and required students not only to add their own individual response but also to assess the responses of their classmates by using the comments feature. I hope the information and resources I’ve shared today will help you to implement more meaningful math discussions into your day! It makes them eager to ask questions and provide explanations. offers an award-winning, unparalleled look at the significant role that classroom discussions can play in teaching mathematics and deepening students’ mathematical understanding and learning. In Classroom Discussions: Using Math Talk to Help Students Learn, Grades 1–6 (Math Solutions Publications, 2003), the authors present specific ways to lead classroom discussions that support students’ mathematics learning and promote their ability to think, reason, and solve problems. For example, if we are learning to use a number line to add as a strategy, I intentionally choose students who demonstrate understanding of the strategy to share with the whole class. The Value of Productive Discussion in Math Putting that poor result aside, the scenario of two students discussing different answers is exactly what we want in math classrooms. Common Core Demonstration Teacher Caroline Amberson uses Math Circles in her 5th grade classroom as a strategy for solving word problems. Over the last 20 years, however, mathematics educators have observed and analyzed alternatives to recitation, the ques- tioning pattern described above. This hands‑on craft … You’ll want to choose a student who used the specific strategies that you want to highlight. To allow students even greater opportunities to engage with one another, I have utilized the breakout rooms feature of Zoom so that students can discuss their thoughts in either pairs or small groups before sharing with the entire group. Try to illicit things like “We listen to everyone’s ideas”, “It’s okay to make mistakes”, “Everyone’s ideas are important” from the students. Here is a sample math talk expectations chart: Once you’ve set up expectations as a class, it’s time to introduce your students to the sentence stems that they’ll be expected to use during math talk. These strategies provide a starting point for any teacher to begin to implement a more discussion-based approach to teaching mathematics. Then I jumped until I got to 11. Provide Visual Cues for Reference. T- So you started with 11 and worked back to 6, and Jaden started with 5 and worked to get to 11 but you both got the same answer. Every educator has been there. Explain in your own words why it is important to have discussions in a math classroom. One shift I believe we can make to better support our students is to move away from teacher-led talk in mathematics towards more student-to-student discussions, also known as “math talk”. (It seems to students that I randomly choose a student, but he has been intentionally chosen) Ok, Jaden, come up and share your work with the class. They are a way for you to further support your students and/or guide the discussion in certain directions. It transforms them from passive to active listeners. What is a Whole Class Discussion? Sharing with a partner also helps build confidence in their problem solving abilities. Once I have introduced a topic and am confident that my students understand the solving process, I will guide them through a problem and intentionally make common errors. Instead of watching students trade ideas across the room, the teacher ends up playing verbal ping-pong with individual students while others get bored. Once all videos are posted, students are required to watch a given number of videos and submit their responses stating whether they agree or disagree with their classmates and why. Based on a four-year research project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, this resource is divided into three sections: S- Well they are both right, but they solved it differently. Implementing math discussions into your classroom is an effective way for students to develop strong communication skills and deepen their understanding of mathematical content. (Once the norms for math talk have been well-established, mistakes can be highlighted and students typically won’t be bothered by being wrong in front of the class.). Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Students solve independently while I observe and assist students who are having trouble getting started. While students share, I scan student work looking for specific strategies that I want to highlight. S- I agree with Jaden because I also got 6 so I think he is right. Whether it’s one-on-one discussion so students can ask a question privately, or small or large group discussion, you can keep those important academic and social emotional conversations happening outside of the traditional classroom setting. Before I stepped into the classroom as an educator for the first time, I had fantasized about what it would be like. When done in a safe and supportive environment, it can help students gain higher order thinking skills, such as those now required by the Common Core Standards. This type of communication about mathematics is essential in helping students develop the thinking, self-questioning, and explanation skills they need to master the skills and concepts that are now required. As teachers we have had to make changes to our instructional practice to ensure our students meet these standards. Classroom Discussions In Math: A Teacher's Guide for Using Talk Moves to Support the Common Core and More, Grades K-6: A Multimedia Professional Learning Resource (third edition). Listen in on their partner-share conversations and be on the lookout for new strategies that you want to highlight for the whole class. This strategy can easily be applied during a synchronous session of distance learning in the same way as in person. Lily, how do you think these strategies are different? Take a deep dive into the five practices for facilitating productive mathematical discussions Enhance your fluency in the five practices—anticipating, monitoring, selecting, sequencing, and connecting—to bring powerful discussions of mathematical concepts to life in your elementary classroom. Students would have pencils to paper for the entire 90-minute block and would readily digest the material. Learn how your comment data is processed. Instead, they know I expect them to check over their work and consider other strategies they could use to solve the problem. Take a deeper dive into understanding the five practices—anticipating, monitoring, selecting, sequencing, and connecting—for facilitating productive mathematical conversations in your middle school classrooms and learn to apply them with confidence. Educators can vary group sizes and activities before discussion. Current research suggests that discussion can: While the content of this issue is aligned with mathematics and specifically the Standards for Mathematical Practice , there is relevance for facilitating meaningful classroom discussions in all content areas and grade levels. S- Yes, but I did not know I jumped 6 times until I counted. Edutopia® and Lucas Education Research™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of the George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries. Creating an Atmosphere for Useful Conjecture. Make sure to download the free math talk posters in the post! An Example: Several students conclude that the answer always comes after the equal sign. Meaningful discussions in the mathematics classroom rely on purposeful instructional moves from the teacher, as well as a clear understanding of the demands that are placed on students. Take time to describe the sentence starters and the use of each type. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In an asynchronous session, I have utilized Google Docs in order to show students an incorrectly completed problem and have asked them to identify and correct the errors using the comments feature. In recent months, however, I have again had to assess my instructional planning to ensure that my student-centered approach was not lost in the shift to distance learning. Open and Closed Questions. It allows me to post videos with embedded questions, so that students can either respond in a short answer at the end of the video to assess my entire solving process or respond to questions throughout the video to state whether they agree or disagree with each step and why. He jumped 6 times until he got to 11. Facilitating student engagement in mathematical discourse begins with the decisions teachers make when they plan classroom instruction. Using evidence in discussion strengthens students’ comprehension and confidence. To employ this strategy in a synchronous session of distance learning, I have utilized the whiteboard feature on Zoom as well as shown images of completed problems that have specific mistakes. Jaden added and Kyle subtracted, but they both got the same answer. Make math talk an expectation. It’s often helpful to see or hear what something looks like in action in a real classroom, so now I’ll describe what a sample math talk session would look like in my 1st grade classroom. For almost two decades the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has been pushing for more writing and talking in math instruction and learning. Be intentional in who you choose to share. In particular, a growing body of literature supports the use of discussion in mathematics class. Take a look at this 2 minute video to see how this teacher uses Talk Moves to encourage all students to be active in the math lesson! As middle and high school math students talk through problems, they build camaraderie and gain greater conceptual understanding. Mathematical Discussion. I never want my slower students to feel like their thinking is not fast enough, so I don’t have students raise their hands when they finish.

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