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I am working on getting my students to begin asking each other questions in order to help out with their thinking. The first grade teachers in this class agreed to work on a number line, having the students put up numerical representations between 0-100. If a student places it incorrectly, we want to help them put it in the correct spot without saying, "It's 10. It goes right there." So far, I have had about 6-8 students participate with zeal. 2-4 are semi-engaged. The balance are checked out. Yet, I do have most students now asking, "Why did you put that number there?" and their follow up is usually more specific. "Why didn't you put it RIGHT THERE?" I am continuing to pursue this process so I can transition it to the topic/unit that I am teaching. But I am challenged with getting more students to buy in. It might be too high level for some students at this point. It has been an enjoyable discussion, nevertheless.
I have six groups of four in my class so I randomly gave each group a blue card with the number 0, 25, 50, 75, 100, or 125. Each team had to decide as a group where to place the number on the number line and choose their representative to place their number on the string. (Interesting observation: the group with 125 was the second to go and placed their card in the middle because they were not sure what other numbers the other teams had! So, only half of the string was used for a while.) I started with this small group activity because I thought it would be a good way for the quieter students to have discourse in a smaller group setting.
Also, I used the blue cards (random choice of color) as markers to help the students place other numbers which were on white cards and represented in various ways (e.g. 4 + 6 +7, one hundred ninety-eight, 86 - 30, number of vertices shown, etc.).
My personal discourse goal for Questioning is to go from a Level 1 to a Level 2: Students ask questions of one another with prompting from teacher. This has been a fairly easy transition since I ask questions such as, "Does anyone have a different answer?", (Does anyone agree or disagree?", etc. on a regular basis during our calendar time. I am encouraging my students to follow their comments with "because..."
We are working on improving our active listening. That is, they need to look at the student who is talking with their eyes and their whole body. If a student is at the front of the class I ask a student who is at the back of the room to give a thumbs up to the one speaking if he can hear that student speak clearly and loudly. I remind the whole class that when the speaker is persevering to explain his thoughts, the audience members are working on their stamina at being good and patient listeners! We are a work in progress...adding a little more discourse each time!
I am working on facilitating discourse with phrases such as, "Can anyone restate what [the student] just said?" and "What do you think about that answer?" Having the sentence starters posted in the room has been a great reference tool for both the students and me.
I'll do two, maybe three number line cards on different days, to try and keep our discourse in that sweet spot of wanting to come back to it. The students seem comfortable with justifying/defending their answers with one another.
Open number line offered our class the chance to practice math discourse safely as a group. All students practiced verbalizing their thinking using following sentences provided as visual cues up on the whiteboard:
*I noticed that…
*I agree with ___ because...
*I disagree with ___ because …
*I like to build on ___’s idea…
*I don’t understand what ___ meant when he/she said…
The discussion was richer in depth and I was able to gauge students’ understanding given examples as it lasted more than 15 minutes without loss of concentration.
After seeing the power of math discourse in a short activity with open number line, I asked students to solve Problem of the Month on tricycle as a group of two. Four students all remembered how to solve the problem from three weeks ago and worked together to represent what they know with necessary scaffolds. The boys were unafraid to present their work in front of others with key questions:
*What information do you know?
*What is the problem?
*What strategies did you use?
*What is the answer?
The lesson naturally led to sharing different strategies used in solving the problem and worked on communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. It also provided students to critique their own presentations afterward and determine qualities deemed important in oral presentation. The boys were excited throughout the viewing of the presentations!
I planned a lesson on something my class is struggling with while addressing Teachers Role – Level 2 from the Levels of Discourse Matrix.
First, I explicitly told my students my goal to have them ask questions of one another.
Next, I created a T Chart with the class on what that would look like and sound like.
Then, I introduced the following sentence starters:
a. Can you explain your thinking?
b. I wonder how ______________?
c. You could also try ______________.
d. I agree/disagree because __________________.
e. Did anyone think of this problem in a different way?
Finally, I posed the following problem - Jan and Maria baked some cookies. They each ate 2 cookies. There are now 6 cookies remaining.
a. How many cookies did Jan and Maria eat?
b. How many cookies did Jan and Maria bake?
c. If Jan and Maria split the remaining cookies evenly, how many cookies would each of them get?
Thus far, my students have had the chance to model and record number sentences for question a. and in some case b. However, we have not yet had the opportunity to review student work and engage in a class discussion using the sentence starters, but plan on doing so tomorrow.
I am trying to help students ask questions of each other. The question asked most frequently is, "Why did you do that?" I am encouraging them to rephrase that question to, "Can you explain how you solved that? or "Can you explain your thinking?"
My class is good at using the sentence starters, "I agree with...because or I disagree with ... because. I have had those posted in the classroom since the first day of school.
First grade agreed to work with a number line. As a class, we placed the numbers 0, 100, 25, 50, and 75 on the number line. I then gave each student a card with a number represented in some way. One student may have had the number 72 represented with sticks and circles. Another student may have had an expression, like 52 - 30. Others may have had the number written out, like 9 tens and 2 ones. The students were very excited to come up and place their card on the number line. The first student to come up had the card that said 9 tens and 2 ones. He placed the card between the 0 and 25. Immediately most of the students started shaking their hands back and forth to signal that they did not agree. I had to suggest to them that maybe they should ask questions to see what the person was thinking. One student asked him to explain why he put the card between the 0 and 25. He replied that 9 and 2 are 11 and 11 is less than 25. I tried not to say anything and let a student respond. I needed to ask people what they thought. The same student that asked him to explain asked him how much he would have if he had 9 tens. He said 90. She then told him to add 2 ones. He then realized that it was 92 and that the card should go closer to the 100.
This activity needs to be spread out over time. They get very antsy and stop paying attention if you try to have too many kids place their cards in one time block.
It was interesting to see them figure out how to place a card that was equal to 25. A student put it right next to the 25. I had to ask the question, "Should 25 go right next to 25?" They had to think for a while before one student decided that they needed to be in the same spot. The problem was that they didn't want to cover up the other card.
I will continue to work on guiding students to ask questions of each other. I have a handful of students who are really engaged and willing to ask questions. Others become distracted and are not aware of what is going on or just choose to not be involved.
The K Team has decided to work on having our students ask math questions of each other. My class has been working all year on trying to question each other's thinking, but it has been a difficult task.
I told the class our goal for the next few times we were going to do math, "ask questions of one another". We broke this goal down into several math lessons and math talks.
One of the first things we did was make a T-Chart about asking questions to better explain our thinking. We talked about what it would look and sound like. Their responses were very detailed and aligned with our goal.
We reviewed this T-Chart before each separate math lesson for the rest of the week and added on some sentence starters to promote questions.
During the week we worked on solving a couple of problems. They were about Jan and Maria baking some cookies. Their perseverance and understanding of the problem was really great, but they were stuck on asking questions of each other (even with the guidance and review).
We worked in small groups of 2-3 students to work on the math problems and then we went around the room and had each group explain what they did. At the end of the groups' explanations I asked the class, "does any one have any questions for this group?". Some of the questions the class came up with:
"Were the cookies left in the oven or in the basket?"
"Who at the cookies first?"
"What kind of cookies did they make?"
"Why did you that?"
It was hard to get them to focus on the math questions and ask a question to explain thinking.
I think with more practice and more guidance they can get the hang of asking questions, but they might be more automatic then actually asking questions for understanding.
We've been really working on having the students prompt each other with questions to further their learning. At the beginning of the lesson during some of our number talks I've been asking a student (who is struggling and wants help) to come up to the whiteboard and work on a juicy problem in front of everyone. The class can only ask questions to guide their thinking. It's been working out really well to do this in combinations with scouts. They've become little parrots, and the questions they ask are improving. Some examples of the questions that they've used that are working are: Why __________ ? How do ___________ and ________ compare? What step did you do first? Then what...?
I'm very pleased with their progress at this point and how well it's going in the room.
It was challenging to have the kindergarteners ask each other questions about the math problem. Most students were able to solve the cookie problem and determine how many cookies Jan and Maria ate and how many they baked in all. However, when they were supposed to ask each other the guided questions as to how they knew that information, the class struggled. We had a discussion in advance and created a T-chart about what asking questions looks and sounds like. We also reviewed the sentence starters and I gave explicit directions as to how to ask each other questions and they still had a hard time with it. I am looking forward to discussing this lesson with my group to think of more ways that I can better help them understand this concept.
I feel I've benefitted from the book Intentional Talk to help me with my questioning and "math talk." By focusing on the different templates(i.e.- Why Let's Justify, Open Strategy Sharing, Compare and Connect) In'm better able to structure the leoon. I've also learned for the procedure of having the students work on a problem without my guidance and merely allowing the students to use qestion=starters to find their solutions. Having started our math class with a problem has put me in mind to follow that routine with any new concept I am introducing
We have been working on questioning in my class. Some of the question stems we have used are:
Why do you think you are correct?
Can you compare this to another problem we did?
I agree with ______ because_______.
I disagree with _______, can you guess why?
When we work on a tough problem, I ask the students to raise their hand when they feel their answer is correct. If it is not correct I will model the questioning strategy that I want them to use. If it is correct I will allow them to be "checkers". If they are chosen to be a "checker" they are to question others in a way that helps them to better understand the problem. If the students, they are checking, have the correct answer then they are allowed to assign that student as another "checker".
My students are very engaged in this activity and work hard to become a "checker". I have had an interesting development in my class, some of my students who love to rush through problems now take their time because they want to be "checkers".
It is beautiful to see the class working together in such a cooperative way.
I used the Define and Clarify planning template for my Jumbo Inch lesson. The students made their jumbo inches with adding machine tape and folded it into fractional parts. I was surprised at how excited they were with the novelty of the paper. Once they got the hang of it, they were excited to continue folding the inch into smaller parts. After working through to 1/32, I brought it back to benchmark fractions and started the discussion with decimals. If 1/4 = .25, what would 1/8th be? This was great practice for division. I really liked this lesson and am excited to incorporate it at the beginning of fractions next year.
I forgot...the students worked on asking questions of the relationship of each fraction as we got into smaller parts. Taking it from smaller to larger and from larger to smaller. How many 1/8 units are in 1/4? 2/4? 3/4? Whole? What fractions are equivalent?
First we created a t-graph to demonstrate what our classroom would look like if I was teaching them how to ask questions in math. The next day I went over sentence stems and questions they were to practice asking each other during math lessons. The third day we worked on a fairly basic math problem using math tools. After reviewing the questions and stems, they practiced asking each other. They were asking, but really didn't know what they were doing. Sometimes they would ask something someone else just asked. If I said, "Good question." They all started asking that question. Though I feel like I didn't get very far in getting them to ask questions, they are getting better at explaining their thinking to each other.
The K teachers were trying to get our kinders to ask each other more questions regarding their math problems.
I too did a t graph with the students asking them what our class would look like and sound like if students were asking the questions instead of me. They had a lot of great ideas for our graph.
We then did a math word problem. It turned out to be very complex because it had many parts. So, I decided to just try simple math problems on the board. The students needed lots of prompting and modeling. I think eventually they will be able to ask each other questions but I think we need a few more sessions with me modeling and guiding.
I started my week off by making t charts on asking questions. I had each student participate in adding comments with post it notes. They commented on what math discussion looks like and sounds like. I then gave them an area problem and specifically asked them to focus on the discourse we just discussed on the t-chart. Honestly at the end of the lesson, I was not satisfied with the questions the students asked. It was very on the surface questions and response. It was authentic questioning, but instead going to that one sentence starter they felt comfortable saying. I have a lot of growth and modeling to accomplish in this area.
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