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4th Grade Math – Classifying Triangles

Clip 16/18: Debrief Part 4

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The observing educators continue their engagement with Hillary Lewis about the fourth-grade lesson and the classifying triangles debrief. The educators note wondering about how best to grant students autonomy during discussion while still making sure that misconceptions don’t take root and spread.

Teacher Commentary

Hillary Lewis

I think the classroom culture as a whole has to do with that idea of giving students autonomy during discussions, and setting that up from day one. One of the things that I do from day one is I use the book Get It Together, where they work in teams, and they're each given a clue and have to figure out whatever the puzzle is.

Each puzzle will have one skill that we're working on. Not just finding the answer, but, “Today we're working on listening to each other. Everybody must listen to each other.” At the end of the game, that's what we talk about. “Did you listen to each other?”

Then, day two, it'll be everybody takes a turn, or that kind of thing and, “How did you do with that?” I really scaffold it so that they learn how to listen to each other, and everybody takes turns and has that discussion, and the give-and-take, and each day we build onto those skills.

The puzzles themselves aren't super challenging initially, and I do ramp them up as they're learning their communication skills, so the puzzles become a little bit more challenging. That's one of the ways that I help; or I work with the kids to develop their skills at working in groups.