Sunday, April 24, 2016

Highlights from NCTM!

Happy Math Awareness Month! Classworks celebrated by attending NCTM in San Francisco.

There were so many great sessions focused on supporting students with today’s math standards. Two areas stood out -- helping students justify their answers and encouraging productive math discourse. Classworks Applied Math supports you with both! 

Help Students Build Justifications

Students must be able to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. They are expected to provide mathematically sound reasoning and justification, not just demonstrate procedural fluency.

What Can You Do? 

Create a safe and positive environment and set norms for justification. Work as a class to construct justifications so students understand the thought process and aspects involved.

Apply it to Your Lessons

A few ideas suggested at the conference:

  • The Skeptic and the Convincer - Partner students and have them take turns as the skeptic and the convincer. The convincer presents the justification. The skeptic analyzes it for the necessary components, poking holes where needed. 
  • Sort Chart - Create a chart of arguments. Together, sort the arguments into weak and strong. Discuss why the argument is placed into that category. 
  • Show What You Know - Provide sample student explanations and have your students evaluate each. If they decide justification is not sound, have them edit and add components to strengthen it. Classworks Applied Math Investigative problems have two sample student responses for each activity that would be GREAT for this!

Mathematical Discourse in Your Classroom

Students must develop the ability to communicate mathematically. How do you effectively make the shift from lecturing to creating a mathematical conversation in your classroom?

What Can You Do? 

Guide the discourse in your classroom, but expect students to ask each other questions about their work. 
Have peers explain an error made to their classmates. Step in only as a last resort and follow up with the student who was incorrect during conferencing.

Apply It to Your Lessons
To facilitate a math discourse:
  • Provide enough wait time
  • Allow multiple opportunities for student-to-student talk
  • Ask students to restate each other’s ideas
  • Create a classroom culture where students are comfortable sharing ideas, and the expectation is that all students participate
Applied Math activities allow for flexibility in the way students communicate their ideas. Pro tip: Have students work together to solve one of the problems and create justifications for their answers to share with each other. Have some groups record their reasoning and others communicate visually using the canvas.