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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Fly on the Math Teacher's Wall: Buzz Worthy Back to School Blog Hop

     There is just something about back to school time that makes everything seem so fresh and new.  I love getting to know new students and seeing how much my old students have grown and changed.  We have been back in action for 3 days and I think I had forgotten how tired the first week of school makes me!  My classroom is ready, I am well on my way to establishing routines with my students and hopefully I will be back to blogging regularly!  Today I am linking up with my math blogger friends to bring you tips for getting your math class off to a great start!  I want to share with you some of the ways I set up my classroom and some of the routines I teach to help increase math talk in my classroom.  


Wait Time

One of the best things you can do to increase the math talk in your classroom is to be very aware of your wait time.  When you ask a question or listen to a student's response, how many seconds are you giving yourself and your students before you start talking again?  Some studies have shown wait time in the average classroom is about 1.5 seconds.  Not a lot of thinking can happen that fast!  Being aware of your wait time and practicing it from the first day of school will make you and your students much  more comfortable and you will notice an increase in the number of participants.  You might also notice that taking a few extra seconds to think about what a student says before responding or hearing from another student will increase your awareness of what students understand and are able to do.  I personally aim for a wait time of 10 seconds.  Don't be afraid to watch the clock or count to yourself when you are first starting out!

Re-voicing

When you re-voice a students' idea, it give your students a chance to hear the idea again and the student who shared it a chance to clarify their thinking.  When you have students re-voice each other's ideas, you give them the opportunity to take another person's perspective and hold them accountable for listening to each other.  Re-voicing can also slow the conversation down a bit so that kids can focus on the big ideas and those who require more think time a chance to clarify their thoughts.  

Room Set Up

When you are setting up your room for the back to school season or rearranging it for a fresh outlook as the school year continues, think about the spaces your students will be in for math talk.  If you really want kids to be talking to each other, make sure the way your room is set up reflects this.  I like having options for kids to talk at tables as well as space on the floor where we can do our number talks and other math discussions.   If you are seeing that kids will answer questions and engage with you but not with each other, I highly recommend sitting kids in a circle and removing yourself to the outside of the circle to get things going.  Once kids are more used to talking to each other and not just talking to you, I don't find this as necessary but it really helps when they are first starting out.  Also, remember to think about your wait time.  Kids will never have a chance to respond to other students if you are always jumping right in with a comment!

Pair Share 

If I had to pick a favorite strategy for getting kids talking about math, pair sharing would be my number one.  Giving kids a chance to talk to one or two other kids about how they solved a problem or what they were thinking gives them a chance to rehearse sharing their ideas and refine their plan for sharing their strategy.  Pair share can also help kids practice listening to another person's ideas and comparing them to their own.  I also like to hold kids accountable for listening to others so I often have them share their partner's strategy instead of their own when we come back to a whole group discussion.

Provide Focus Vocabulary

One of the reasons you want kids talking about math is to get them extra practice using math vocabulary.  I like using vocab cards to help kids focus on new words.  I will often use a magnet to attach focus words to the white board when we are discussing them.  If you are looking for vocabulary cards for grades K-8, check out this awesome (and free!) resource.  My vocabulary cards have the word and picture on the front and we write the definition on the back as a class.  That way it is in their words but it is there if they need it.  

I hope these ideas will help you get started setting up math talk in your classroom.  If you are looking for further reading on this subject, you should check out Talk Moves: a Teacher's Guide for Using Classroom Discussion in Math.  This book is full of ideas for getting kids talking across all kinds of math settings.  Great for grades K-6.  It also includes a DVD with video clips so you can see many of the ideas in action.  

Head over to The Research Based Classroom to check out more ideas for setting up your math class for back to school! 

49 comments:

  1. Pair-Share is one of my favorite strategies as well. I love that it gives every student a chance to share their thinking, not just a few.

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  2. Using number talk for the first time this year. Thanks for the advice.

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  3. Love that you focused on math talk for your back-to-school post! It's so important that we get kids talking about math--more engaging and it leads to better understanding. Thanks for the links to the great resources! The vocabulary cards are a treasure.

    Donna
    Math Coach’s Corner

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  4. I'm hoping to build up several number sense routines and number of day routines this year.

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  5. Replies
    1. I am starting the year by including pair/share in all math meetings.

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  6. Paired sharing is great to get the kids talking, especially the ones that reluctant to talk in a large group.

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  7. Love the link to the math vocabulary this is really something I try to stress with my kiddos!

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  8. Turn and share and closing circle after guided math block have been great talk builders.

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  9. Valuable strategies to use! Thank you for sharing!

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  10. I take a sip of my coffee or water to help extend wait time!

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    1. Great tip! I am going to pass this one one to a few teachers I know!

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  11. Tara thanks for sharing. I really love the idea of wait time and revoicing. Wait time is definitely something that I have been working on and continue to work on!! I constantly remind myself to count down in my head before selecting a student (it is a process for me). I also ask that the students talk with an elbow partner first before raising their hands to answer.

    Revoicing is a significant strategy. I love it as it is a part of the Math Talk Moves. Thanks again for sharing this valuable strategies.

    Greg
    Mr. Elementary Math

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  12. Wonderful! I have this in my amazon cart--have had my eye on it for a while. Thanks so much for sharing these suggestions for getting the year started with math talk. Look forward to reading all of your posts this year as you adventure with you kids and teachers!

    Smiles,
    Sarah

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  13. Oops, forgot to say how I use math talk. One of the first ways I get students engaged in math talk is during our first whole class explorations with math journals. It is so important that students to hear the diverse ways students solve problems and begin to value alternate ways that their own. Revoicing is so important during these beginning discussions. I also use a lot of think-pair-share because it gives kids the chance to think on their own first and those reluctant to share in large group setting are engaged in sharing with a partner. I have my fingers crossed! Thanks for the chance to win!

    Sarah

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  14. I include math in my Morning Messages!

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  15. I especially like your comment on "wait time." So hard to do when there is so much to do in a day, but waiting should take priority!

    - Deirdre, aka Evil Math Wizard

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  16. I like to post a picture up on the smart board and have partners/groups talk about how math is being used in the picture. I want my kids to see that math is used all the time, not just during "math time" Great Post!

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  17. I put up a problem and Just ask What do you notice? Then I have them discuss at their table. Then I ask for someone to tell me something!I get so many insightful answers when I don't guide them to my answer!

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  18. I use accountability talk. This way students can agree/disagree tactfully and use mathematical reasoning and talk.

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  19. I'm a huge fan of pair/share- allows all students to have the opportunity to talk and you can quickly listen in to hear who "gets it" and who might need a bit more attention. Thanks for another great post!

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  20. I introduce a new vocabulary word to the students, then pair them up, and set a timer. They start a conversation, and use tally marks to keep track of how many times they can use the new vocab word in their conversation. When the timer goes off, the students who used the word the most amount of times can reenact their converations for the class. Only takes a few minutes!

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  21. Gosh, I LOVE teaching math! Thanks for your great tips!

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  22. Thanks for the great post. Reminding ourselves to slow down and make time for discussion is so important when there is so much content to get through in the year.

    Brandi
    The Research Based Classroom

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  23. I use pair talk and then have the one of the pairs share what the other person said.

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  24. Revoicing is a great strategy for promoting accountable math talk! Love it!

    Thanks,
    Michelle

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  25. love the ideas on how to share in your classroom and setting that up at the beginning of the year. Pair talk/pair share is super cool. I asked for tables this year so the kids could be in small groups easily to share.

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  26. I encourage math talk by having the students use math cards with sentence starters

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  27. I encourage math talk by having students sit in teams.

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  28. I use a great deal of the work that Cathy Fosnot created and hold math congresses in my class.

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  29. I've started using Number Talks and Talk Moves and have long used think/pair/share and nonverbal signals so that all students have a chance to communicate their ideas even if they don't share individually for the whole group.

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  30. I use Math Talk and Talk Moves in my classroom, along with sentence starters to help students share their mathematical thinking.

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  31. I have math talk sentence starters posted to help give students an entry point in the conversation.

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  32. Mostly Partner Talk but also lots of whole class discussions.

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  33. Once or twice a week I have a few students share something they've written in their Math journal with the others at their table. Then we go around the table and everyone has to make a comment.
    Always Primary

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  34. I will ask students to turn to a neighbor to discuss ideas before we discuss as a whole group. I will ask students "How do you know?"

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  35. I'm so excited that I found your blog today! I'm an ESL teacher, and one of the areas of language that I wanted to focus on with my students this year is the language of math. One thing I do now to increase math conversation is ask open-ended questions. I'm trying to generate metacognitive thinking with my students by asking a lot of "Why?" and "How do you know?" questions.

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  36. We do number talks and we celebrate the way that the kids explain their thinking. If they give a very detailed answer or their answer hits right on the mark...we give rounds of applause and do a happy dance! The kids have so much fun!

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  37. I use math in my morning meeting

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  38. I am starting number talks with my 3rd graders this year. We have only done a few and I am already impressed with their thinking. This book would be a great help to me!

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  39. Super simple answer: I listen :)

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  40. Love your blog! Thanks for this great post. I enjoy doing number talks with my first graders and am always looking for ways to make them even better!

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  41. Love the MathSolutions books! I have the tens frames one and it is such a useful resource!!

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  42. It's so great to see creative content like this. It is truly inspiring. I am amazed by the effort you put into your blog.

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  43. I would like to start off by saying that I thoroughly enjoy your posts! I am currently a University student majoring in special education and regular education. I am always interested to read what advice and activities veteran teachers are willing to share. In my current mathematics class, we have talked about the importance of many of the topics you outline. I agree with you that wait time is utterly important with students when studying the topic of math. I can honestly say that I was one of the students that needed a longer time to speak out. When you discussed re-voicing, it made me think of number talks and how important it is for us as teachers to re-voice a student’s thought process and understand how they strategized. To add, if students hear their thoughts aloud, it may give them time organize their thoughts and correct if need be.

    To add, thank you for the idea of using math vocabulary cards. This is a great idea for all students, but especially English Language Learners who may not be as familiar with academic language.

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