Using Conferences to Grow Mathematicians


Giving in the Math Classroom: A Practical Guidebook to Using 5-Minute Conferences to Grow Confident Mathematicians By Gina Picha( Stenhouse Publishers, 2022– Learn more).
Reviewed by Kathleen Palmieri.
In Conferring in the Math Classroom Gina Picha has composed a book that will assist teachers in the intermediate grades think about the benefits of conferencing with mathematics trainees and put the concepts into practice.
Similar to a reading conference, math conferences are brief conversations that assist us as teachers “comprehend our students thinking and supply chances to observe our trainees as they take part in mathematics.” (pg. 4).
Picha composes about different types of mathematics conferences, but uses three necessary aspects in any mathematics discussion: listening and observing, naming students strengths, and encouraging students to share their ideas.
Math vs. literacy conferences.
The author goes over the similarities and distinctions between math and literacy conferences in chapter 2 where she shares an experience of observing another instructor, Deb, offer a writing mini-lesson on descriptive language and then listening in as the instructor has a conference with a trainee about his writing.
The ability with which the teacher asked questions, the support she provided, as well as the technique of going back and going over the writing and sharing the anchor chart once again, stuck to Picha.
” Many of the mentor moves Deb utilized in her writing conference also support mathematicians. Both writing and math conferences involve deep listening and observation work. They likewise share the same overarching objectives of supporting students long-lasting development and helping students to establish a love and appreciation for the craft of composing and mathematics.” (pg. 16).
The books table “Comparing Writing and Mathematics Conferences” assists to illustrate the distinctions in between mathematicians and authors. Most notably:.

Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher and NBCT Professional Learning facilitator. With an enthusiasm for literacy and knowing in the class, she takes part in numerous writing workshops, curriculum composing ventures, and mathematics discussions.

The shared similarity of both is that instructors look for strengths that can assist to produce a mentor point for that trainee.
Maximizing mathematics conferences.
In chapter three Picha shares her 2 goals for successful conferencing and the kinds of math conferences she advises.
The objectives are “Understanding trainees interactions and requirements” and “Nudging students towards much deeper mathematical understanding and increased engagement within the math community.” (pg. 23) She offers genuine examples of math conferences which help to demonstrate what is observed, what is observed, kind of response and the factor for that response.
Picha shares 2 conference structures. Working within the job utilizes the conference to “Notice and understand, uncover student thinking, name and strengthen, and invite sharing.” She likewise takes a look at the parts of conferring Beyond the task which varies because the instructor will “Nudge believing beyond the task” and “Invite opinion and sharing.”.
” Mathematical Conjunctures” is a term that Picha uses to describe students “mathematical hypothes( es) that they believe to be true however have actually not yet shown. Typically conjunctures establish from the patterns that students notice with a problem or across issues.” (pg. 32) In fundamental terms, these are trainees ideas that can assist offer further conversation, producing a beginning point for new discoveries.
Making use of questioning.
Chapters four and five dive into using questioning and offer a look into Pichas former fifth grade classroom.
Offering more examples of trainees in action, Picha goes over the questioning technique of “Funneling,” which is to use a set of concerns to assist lead the students to the right option, providing limited attention to student ideas that are entering the incorrect direction.
She includes the unintended and designated results of “Asking Questions that Funnel Student Thinking.” She likewise offers a “Questioning Support Document for Math Conferences” and offers the components of the 2 types of questioning in addition to examples.
Asset-Based Conferring.
Part 3 of this book talks about “Asset-Based Conferring” such as providing from students strengths, responding and discovering to trainees errors, and attending to those errors throughout the conference. Her table of “Strengths to Name and Reinforce” is burglarized 6 parts: partnership, organization, representations, generalizations, imaginative options, and personalities. Picha describes examining student work samples to discover strengths along with to help cultivate a positive mathematics identity.
In addition, she uses assistance in working “Beyond the Task” and pushing trainee thinking utilizing concerns and sentence beginners. She also takes a much deeper dive into “conjunctures” and how to welcome trainees to make conjunctures, offering “Examples of Student-Made Conjunctures.” (page 84).
Preparing the Class to Confer.
Part four offers preparing for success, asking the concern, “What should you consider before providing?” Discussed within chapter 8 is the importance of “Building a Math Community that Fosters Positive Math Identities.” Completing this part is chapter nine, “Planning for Data Collection and Analysis,” and chapter 10, “Planning for the Tricky Parts.”.
The challenging parts consist of the “I work alone” and the “Im done” which is when early finishers finish a task before the teacher is done giving. Picha uses some concepts of ways to extend the trainees mathematics thinking, such as an anchor chart that provides math concepts that help inspect in with trainees.
Picha includes 3 appendices with resource charts: “If/Then Charts,” “Conferring Scenario Cards” for grades K-5, and “Conferring Notes Template.”.
Giving in the Math Classroom provides numerous guidance, examples, and resources to hold mathematics conferences using the 3 vital elements: listening and observing, naming students strengths, and encouraging students to share their ideas. This is an useful resource with sound ideas that can be quickly carried out to develop the habit of providing in the math class in manner ins which advance student success

When working with authors an instructor might encourage using a coach text for a student to study and imitate a composing style.
In dealing with math students the instructor may motivate them to work together with peers to share various techniques in problem fixing. (pg. 17).

In working with mathematics trainees the instructor might motivate them to team up with peers to share various strategies in issue solving.” Mathematical Conjunctures” is a term that Picha utilizes to explain students “mathematical hypothes( es) that they think to be real however have not yet shown. Part 3 of this book goes over “Asset-Based Conferring” such as giving from students strengths, noticing and reacting to students mistakes, and resolving those mistakes throughout the conference. Picha describes examining student work samples to find strengths as well as to help promote a positive mathematics identity.
In addition, she provides guidance in working “Beyond the Task” and nudging trainee thinking utilizing questions and sentence starters.

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