Understanding and Reading Problems: Teacher Patty Ferrant engages middle school learners in reviewing how to read a problem to make sense of it. On the second day of school, she uses a “dot talk” to challenge her students to, as she puts it, “take a risk and communicate to me how they saw the dots arranged,” asking the students questions so that she can model making sense of the problem.
She charges the students who are not sharing to listen attentively and ask questions so that they can make sense.
How do you set an expectation early on that students will engage in sharing their thinking?
These videos are discussed in the Inside Mathematics guide "Making Sense of One’s Own and Others’ Learning, Patty Ferrant, 8th Grade," one of 10 practice-focused guides on building classroom climates for mathematical learning.
The videos document key mathematical practices observed in teacher Patty Ferrant's 8th-grade classroom over the course of a school year. In the guide (available as a PDF or an iBook download), you can explore extended narratives and questions for reflection around "making sense of one’s own and others’ learning."
Day 5: Students identify needs and norms for constructive partner and group work [Explaining Thinking]
Day 5: Sharing understanding (or lack thereof) with partner talk [Understanding and Reading Problems]
Day 5: Partner share for describing and justifying strategies [Finding Evidence, Justifying Strategies]
Day 118: Students present, defend, and critique their own and others’ evidence and strategies [Finding Evidence, Justifying Strategies]