Thursday, March 2, 2017

Talking our way through learning!

One of my favorite quotes is, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” by Albert Einstein. This is why if you walk into our classroom you will more than likely see us talking with each other. There is a ton of research out there that supports that when students talk out problems or explain their thinking they end up understanding it better themselves.We move learning forward by having students engage in meaningful conversations.  Accountable talk is more than just having students answer questions or talk with each other randomly.  It means that students are accountable to each other’s thinking and reasoning.  It means that students are accountable to whether the conversation makes sense and when it doesn’t it means that students actively participate in clarifying the conversation. We will continue to learn how to make are conversations meaningful!

During our math mini lessons on locating and placing fractions on a number line, students had conversations more on how they solved the problem and the steps they took to reach the answer rather than just the answer.

During this activity, students used the stand up, hand up and pair up structure. Students had to work together to correctly label fractions on number lines to discover the correct locations of points. Students were able to work with a variety of partners to deepen their understanding.
Students have worked hard all week reading and annotating two different texts. They then worked on responding to a constructive response. After they finished their response, they had time to read it to their partner. Their partner started with some positive feedback. Next, they moved on to how he/she could improve. Did they hook us in? Did they provide enough details and explain their thinking? Did they have correct punctuation? Did they end it with a bang? After they finished, they had to go back to revise their work. I was amazed at how much better their responses were after talking with a partner. I guess two heads are better than one!
During this structure, students took turns figuring out the correct answer. They had to work through each of the choices and state why or why not it was the correct answer. Their group had to either agree/disagree and add on to their thinking.

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