Here’s How to Get Kids Talking in Math Class!

By Mona Iehl

We understand that whoever is doing the talking is doing the knowing, however typically teachers scratch their heads attempting to get the trainees to actually talk.

We understand what works to get those very same 6 trainees talking and raising their hand each day, but how do we engage every student in truly discussing their thinking and sharing their math reasoning?

1. Consider your types of questions

The reality is that instructors utilize these types of questions often. We desire to assist our trainees be effective and achieve. We support our trainees in getting here at the right answer.

I would argue that our job is not to help trainees get to the answers more quickly, but rather help our trainees to believe critically and problem-solve. This frame of mind shift can assist us reframe the kinds of concerns we ask– moving away from helping trainees to an answer and towards revealing their thinking and constructing their reasoning skills.

Although this approach to questioning is more open, it does not permit students to make their own connections and sense, however instead the students ideas are funneled to the one right response identified by the teacher.

A common questioning pattern in our classrooms goes like this: teacher asks a concern, trainee responses, and after that the teacher evaluates if the answer is appropriate or not. This is what research calls the “Initiate-Response-Evaluate IRE pattern.” (Cazden, 1988) This quick procedure lasts just a couple of seconds and positions the teacher as the critic instead of the facilitator of the discussion.

In the NCTM book Principles to Actions, the authors discuss funneling questions that lead trainees toward a specific idea. Think about the funnels wide opening where trainees get in with numerous thoughts, approaches, and methods. Then by asking funneling questions, the teacher narrows the trainees understanding down small opening where there is one right response.

With this shift in our own mindset, we can begin to produce a classroom that is fixated our students thinking and not entirely on accomplishing the response.

Asking the ideal questions can make all the distinction. Some concerns need little student thinking and focus more on attaining the right answer.

2. Ask open ended questions

Open ended concerns enable students to discuss their thinking. The focus is not on the response but on sharing what youre presently believing, discovering patterns in others reasoning, supporting your strategy with thinking, and validating your responses.

With the focus on explaining your thinking, all students are placed to take the first step to take part without the pressure of being.

Open ended questions invite our students to think, and they encourage trainees to fully explain themselves. Your questions can be used to help students comprehend the mathematics task and nudge students towards the key understandings that the job provides itself to. Open ended questions help teachers remain in the facilitator function

3. Remain in the facilitator function.

If the goal is to get your trainees talking, then give them the floor. Plan a time in your class to allow for more student talk.

In this case you will wish to ask trainees to additional discuss and justify their reasoning using evidence from the designs about equivalence. Understanding the standards and the mathematics deeply enters into play big here. You have to know the progression of mathematics understanding so that you can help your students through connecting what they understand and can do with where they require to go next.

The more you learn about what they are thinking the much better questions you can ask. The power is in the kidss voices. Let your trainees discuss; let them struggle to discuss. Ask the ideal concern and see them collaborate to develop clearness in their thinking.

Getting students talking in mathematics discussions indicates we have to allow trainees to check out, play, and find out while talking. Withstand the desire to step in and discuss or “just show you this one thing.” Instead, listen carefully to what trainees are saying and ask concerns to even more understand their thinking.

If you were hoping the math task would lead to a discussion about addition of portions utilizing common denominators, but trainees are discussing and sharing about if the fractions are equivalent … then the conversation has to start there and then develop to your teaching point.

Remember your math class community

Laying a strong foundation of neighborhood in your mathematics classroom will make real math conversations possible. It is a risk for our trainees to share what they are thinking. Your community should be welcoming, safe, and encouraging. Through students standards, routines and relationships, this safety can be achieved. If you want more info on how to construct a classroom neighborhood, have a look at my earlier MiddleWeb post, 4 Moves to Help Tweens Overcome Math Anxiety.

The less you talk the more theyll talk

Open ended questions invite our trainees to think, and they encourage trainees to fully discuss themselves. Your questions can be used to help trainees understand the math job and push students toward the essential understandings that the task lends itself to. Getting trainees talking in math discussions indicates we have to permit students to check out, tinker, and figure out while talking.

A common questioning pattern in our classrooms goes like this: teacher asks a question, student responses, and then the teacher assesses if the response is right or not. By asking funneling questions, the instructor narrows the trainees understanding to the bottom small opening where there is one right answer.

As instructors when we make the conscious choice to listen more and talk less, the outcomes are amazing. Students will start to discuss their thinking and offer us twinkles of their understanding that we can discover from and build on.

Mona Iehl (@HelloMonaMath) is a fifth- and sixth-grade math instructor in Chicago, Illinois. Mona started her career 13 years ago teaching in the primary grades however found her home in the middle grades five years ago. Find her other MiddleWeb posts here. Mona just recently took her passion for assisting teachers and trainees discover their inner mathematician to a podcast. Listen in at @HonestMathChat.

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