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4th Grade Math – Classifying Triangles

Clip 15/18: Debrief: Classifying Triangles Part 3

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The observing educators share more insights into Hillary Lewis’ lesson for fourth graders on classifying triangles, with particular appreciation for the ways in which Hillary created a climate of safety and learning: “How can we create something in our classroom where those misconceptions are voiced comfortably? I thought it was a really beautiful moment for that.”

Another educator wonders about stronger supports for students learning English as an additional language, offering, “I noticed there was a lot of oral explanation … I was wondering if the students might have benefited from seeing the visual models. Like at the end, the kids who went up and showed, because then they could have shown their proof as well. I felt, for some of the students, especially for students that didn't talk at all throughout the lesson, if maybe that might have been advantageous for them.”

Teacher Commentary

Hillary Lewis

In this classroom, there were two students recently arrived to the school who didn't speak English well yet. To support and engage all learners, I try to avoid yes/no questions. I like to ask them to tell me about how they thought about something. "How did you think about that? Tell me more," those kinds of things. 

I often talk about, "Tell me what your brain was thinking about." I almost talk about the brain as if it's a separate thing from ourselves, and I feel like it frees kids up. Like, “If my brain got mixed up, that's not a reflection of me; If my brain froze, it's not a reflection of me.”