Week 4: Discussion Question (Option 1)

30 Nov 2017 8:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Consider the paragraph about keeping your face, body language, voice, and words neutral (page 63). How do kids pick up cues from you? How can you stay encouraging, honest, and neutral all at the same time?


  • 01 Dec 2017 8:13 AM | Anonymous member
    It has always been difficult for me to keep the neutral stance in face, body and voice with students. It is my nature to be enthusiastic in my positive feedback and probably overly so. I have been working on this and am making progress. I have also been working on being very specific about the feedback I give so that the student is hearing about the process, strategies presented, mathematical insight, question chains encouraging a deeper look, etc. rather than just "Wow - great job!" I have observed that when a teacher is overly exuberant with feedback, the student tunes more into the delivery than the content. I am fortunate to have colleagues who do this better than me and my observations of their delivery has been helpful.
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  • 01 Dec 2017 2:57 PM | Anonymous member
    Remaining neutral is something I want to do at all times, but have found difficult to do this. Time constraints, behaviors, covering material and personal math experiences are some of the elements that impact how we respond to students and particular situations. Over the years, I have become much more skilled at remaining “neutral”, but continue to work on it.
    I have experienced firsthand how my expressive face, tone of voice, body language and words have caused kids to work harder, shut down, feel good or feel bad. I want my students to become confident in their own skills and be able to say to themselves “I can do this!” “I am not there yet, but…” and believe the they are mathematicians.
    My goal is to continue to work on keeping my face neutral, my body relaxed, my voice calm and my words encouraging and honest in order to promote a climate of joy and discovery in math class where mistakes happen and that is okay! The tips in this chapter will help me continue to improve in this area.
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  • 01 Dec 2017 4:18 PM | Anonymous member
    I find that I tend to question a child more when they have the wrong answer, so I am trying to ask more kids about their correct answers. I use the same statement, which is, "Tell me how you got your answer." I try to keep my voice as neutral as possible regardless of whether the answer is right or wrong, I find that most kids will immediately go to erase, which tells me they are in the habit of needing to fix things when a teacher asks about their work. I hope as the year goes on, I will question students' correct answers so much that kids won't immediately go to the eraser and that they will actually tell me their thoughts confidently. If there is an error, they will discover it while explaining their thinking to me.
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    • 06 Dec 2017 2:54 PM | Anonymous member
      I too seem to question more when a student has the wrong answer, but never really thought about it until you just mentioned it.
      Obviously I'm trying to help them get to the root of the problem and why they have a wrong answer, but I never stopped to think about the message I may be sending them or how they may perceive themselves as a math student when I question incorrect answers one way and a correct answers another.

      I like you're idea to use the same statement whether the answer is right or wrong so that students who are sharing won't feel defeated before they even begin their explanation. If mistakes are present and found as we go along, then hopefully students will come to see that mistakes are a real and natural part of learning and what can be learned from them is as important as the correct answer.
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  • 02 Dec 2017 9:20 AM | Anonymous member
    Staying encouraging, honest, and neutral all at the same time requires truly believing in the mistake making process. In order to truly create a culture of safely and mistake making teachers must have utmost faith in the power of students grappling with and sharing their thinking, listening to the reasoning of others and ultimately figuring out “why flawed reasoning was flawed.” Just like the students in our class, developing this confidence in the process can be difficult and requires “seeing” it work. I have found my students are uncomfortable with it at first, they are so programmed to be “right.” However, once they learn how to “use” mistakes as opportunities to learn they become deeply engaged in the process. I really liked the examples in this chapter!
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  • 02 Dec 2017 12:32 PM | Anonymous member
    This is so hard! I'm animated what can I say? I get excited! Definitely something I will have to work on!
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    • 04 Dec 2017 6:45 PM | Anonymous member

      I think it is great that you are animated! You are excited about math, and I am sure that your students feed off of your excitement! :) I, on the other hand, am so afraid of making a mistake during 6th/7th grade math that I am probably boring my students!

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  • 03 Dec 2017 8:33 AM | Anonymous member
    I do notice that my students seem to work hard to read my face. I always see it as they are looking for confirmation that they are "right." I try to constantly be aware of my facial expressions when students are proving their thinking. The reason I do this, is that I feel it pushes them to really believe in their work/strategy use and not only explain it to me but to themselves as well. Because I work with very young students, I often tell them what I am doing, so they can stay focused on what they are thinking and not my face.

    I also, work to show the students I care by actively listening. I really shouldn't say I have to work at it because I truly want to know what they did and how they did it, especially when their answer is wrong. These conversations give me a glimpse into their minds and help me to better understand each student. It is only through these conversations that I am able to make a plan to clear up misconceptions and take them to their next level of learning.
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  • 03 Dec 2017 9:52 AM | Anonymous member
    After reading the comments written before me, I agree with pretty much everyone. I try to remain neutral with my facial expressions, but sometimes it is hard. Many of the young learners I work with will solve a problem and immediately look at me to try and read my expressions to decide if they are right or wrong. One thing I have gotten much better at is questioning students about their answers regardless of if they are right or wrong so that they don't automatically assume that they are wrong if I ask them to explain their thinking. Often times when I ask a student to explain their thinking they immediately take a 2nd look and want to change their answer simply because they assume it must be wrong if I am asking them about it. Students who have worked with me for a while expect me to do this, so they aren't as quick to assume they are wrong. In the long run I think questioning them helps them develop some confidence in their own thinking.
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  • 03 Dec 2017 11:28 AM | Deleted user
    The tips found on page 63 in this chapter will certainly help me in my work. First graders, I have noticed like many of the posters before me that my language and or excitement can either help students work harder or create a situation where students shut down. I have noticed that my young learners certainly benefit from strong teacher modeling in how to incorporate language into their mathematical thinking and I am hoping that after repeated practice in this area my students will use this language more when expressing their own thinking.
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  • 03 Dec 2017 4:26 PM | Anonymous member
    Reading about the impact of body language resonated with me. I know that I'm very expressive and have to be aware of my facial expression and my tone of voice. Students definitely learn to read their teachers' actions and if I'm accepting of mistakes and strategies they will be too. I think I'd like to break away from my math program assignments once a week to work on a good problem to solve. Then there can be more discussions, team work and various strategies to investigate.
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  • 04 Dec 2017 6:41 PM | Anonymous member
    I find it SO HARD to stay neutral in body language and words...! I think students inherently know that I am not a "math person". I also find that I am the type of mathematician who works well with algorithms, so I have a hard time thinking "outside the box" or even seeing other ways of solving problems! This is the first year in many years that I have had to work with middle school students in math, and it has been an eye-opener... my students struggle with math, and I have to remind myself that, even though using the algorithm has always been my go-to strategy, that is not always the case with my students. I plan to go into my Learning Lab tomorrow with the intention of asking open-ended questions, to invite students to share their thoughts on how to solve a problem.
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  • 04 Dec 2017 9:53 PM | Anonymous member
    Kids definitely pick up on our cues. They know immediately. The best way to stay encouraging, honest, and neutral all at the same time, is to be patient. To understand that what may be easy for you, maybe really difficult for a student. You may be teaching something for the 20th time so it is easy for you, but for them it maybe like trying to understand a foreign language. Taking a deep breath and be patient, works best for me. Being neutral allows students to not take cues from me and really think on their own. Staying neutral with some positive encouragement seems to go along way.
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    • 06 Dec 2017 11:00 PM | Anonymous member
      Patience and "wait time" are something that I have ben working on too.
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  • 04 Dec 2017 10:18 PM | Deleted user
    I've found it challenging to stay neutral in my voice, especially in my intonation. Like others, I find that if I ask students to justify their answer, whether wrong or right, they often doubt themselves and begin to retract their thinking or answers. We've been working a bunch with the skills of developing conjectures, and arguing and debating our answers. At first, so many of the students only wanted approval from me that their answers were right. Now that we've been practicing for awhile, and I refuse to give them the instant gratification of "yes" or "no", and they trust our math norms involving growth mindset, they are finally comfortable developing those arguing skills to prove their thought process and answers, and accept new ideas from peers.
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    • 07 Dec 2017 4:12 PM | Anonymous member
      Maybe a switch day would help us all with this? If we dressed as a student and sat in a student chair/desk and expected the students to look at us on their level, would they "take" us differently? Put a student in charge of asking the questions and analyze their body language? Maybe, devote a day at the beginning of the year to analyzing teacher cues and getting students' perceptions out in the open and acknowledge the reality/bias/obstacle of it?
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  • 05 Dec 2017 11:39 PM | Deleted user
    I really enjoyed reading about Julie’s class, since we are just starting a new trimester. Setting the stage for learning opportunities with a new group of students is really important. I try to show sincere interest when students are sharing, even if it is just listening to a story of what they did over the weekend. The students need to trust that it is okay to make mistakes, so they will offer strategies and answers during discussions (right or wrong).

    I think that sometimes, as the grading period progresses, it is harder for me to stay neutral and patient when a few students are less willing to take participate in class discussions (or try to outdo their classmates). I always have to stop and remind myself to continue encourage them in a positive way without making them uncomfortable/upset.

    Yesterday in a new class, the students were helping me solve an algebraic equation on the board. One student offered an answer that was 1 number off (13 instead of 14). I could see the emotional and physical reaction that he had made a mistake in his body language, when other students offered a different solution. I responded by saying to the class, “Please make mistakes; that way I can tell where you need help.” I further explained that I make mistakes sometimes when I am writing out a problem on the board (and that I expect my students to notice and help me correct them). I also explained that if they never made mistakes that they wouldn’t need me.

    I observed an expression of relief on the face of the student that had made a “silly” calculation error, but also on the faces of other students in the class. We talked a bit about learning mathematical processes and being successful with a process, while making occasional mistakes in calculations.

    Although, I’m not sure that I’ll get a group of 9th and 10th graders to be quite as outgoing as Julia’s students, I will set an initial goal of having them work in small groups to share strategies. I love it when students come up with ideas and alternate strategies that help their classmates.

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  • 06 Dec 2017 12:58 PM | Anonymous member
    I am always conscientious about my body, tone or voice, etc.. language when interacting with students whether in Math class or outside at recess. It is the first thing they look to when engaging with you and you can either grab their attention and push their thinking/redirect their behavior or shut them down. When I encounter a problem that students have made a mistake with or have a correct answer I always start with "Well isn't that interesting thinking I am wondering if you could tell us more about your reasoning"....
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  • 06 Dec 2017 10:57 PM | Anonymous member
    Having a conversation with a neutral face is not the easiest thing to do, but our face gestures, whether we mean to or not, often gives the answer if the student is right or wrong, away. I am guilty of asking questions as what did you get for an answer, then asking another student the same question, rather than tell me how you went about finding your answer. I have been trying to go around the room recently, asking kids HOW they found the answer, without saying no, that does not give you the answer. Instead, I have been trying to reply with answers such as , sounds like you have been working hard, or you put a lot of thought into finding an answer. I think staying positive, not making judgements of their answers has been helpful. I only began this recently. I go around the room asking kids or groups how they came up with an answer. As I was reading this chapter, it made me think how often I ask similar questions in other subjects, such as reading, or a read-aloud. As I do a read-aloud, I will often stop and ask the kids to think of what has happened so far, and make a prediction of what will happen next. This can be carried through with Math. I could say, now stop every now and then, think about what the next step is that you want to take. Predict what you think must be done next, try it, see what happens.
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  • 07 Dec 2017 10:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Remaining neutral can be difficult as so many have commented. I had the opportunity as a Math Coach to talk with a teacher about trying to remain neutral during her math lesson. I knew it would be hard for her but she was working on encouraging students to share their thinking and comment on their classmates' thinking but would shut down the discussion by her actions. A student would share something and she'd say something like, "That's great, super explanation." We discussed this comment and how the class reaction felt like, "Well there's nothing more to say since the teacher thought the explanation was super." I tend to respond with, "What do others think?" Or "Does someone want to comment on what (student's name) said?" Remaining open to other ideas by not readily agreeing with something a student said and by asking questions that encourage others to share and comment has helped me with this. I know I need to also work on facial expressions. Just the other day a student in a College Math Methods class commented on my facial expression when a suggestion was made by another student. Thankfully it was about reading a text outloud since many of the other students didn't have their text that night. It was a fine suggestion - I think my facial expression was that of surprise but it did make me realize I need to still work on this.
    Saying encouraging, honest and neutral all at the same time happens for me by asking students questions (mostly when they are working in small groups) that show I'm interested in their work and have a question that might help them think more about their work - especially if they are momentarily stuck. I also work to not cross my arms - someone told me once that this gesture can be viewed as, "I'm not agreeing with you," which is not at all what I want students (or others actually) to think.
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  • 07 Dec 2017 4:05 PM | Anonymous member
    Just last night, my 14 year-old son gave me a perfect example. He rarely asks for help. I asked him how he got that answer. He immediately changed. I asked him why he changed, because he was correct. He said that I asked him how he got the answer, so he assumed he had it wrong. I explained to him that I wanted him to use language to explain how he got the answer. Physical cues can be a huge distraction. As I teach pre-k, the students want to please me. Much of the time, they could care less about the answer. They just want to please. Having decades of experience teaching, I have learned a lot about the facial and body cues that I give and how students perceive them. Students work hard and everyone participates. Students know that I have great patience and want them to succeed. They know that if they answer incorrectly, we will discuss it so they are able to answer correctly. No one is ever "off the hook". I keep my posture, especially hands, open and welcoming. I am patiently smiling and encouraging with my eyes.
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  • 07 Dec 2017 6:46 PM | Anonymous member
    I have had students who comment that I smile too much...so to maintain some level of neutrality, I smile and say thank you to each person who is willing to share an answer, a thought, or a question.
    Last year I found the poster "Mistakes Are Expected, Respected, Inspected, and Corrected." and posted in the front of my room. It is a constant reminder that mistakes are okay - and we ALL make them - even me, although I do hope that my students catch them...and they usually do! I have found that because I am more "relaxed" about my own mistakes (think "perfectionist"), students have picked up on the idea that mistakes are truly expected and respected...but they (mistakes) also need to be inspected and corrected.
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  • 07 Dec 2017 7:22 PM | Anonymous member
    Staying neutral is very hard. It is in my nature to change my face, tone, or body language when students answer questions. But since starting this book I have been working on asking open ended questions are having the students explain their answer. This week I have been working with one particular student and I caught my self giving a look or a head turn when the student answered incorrectly. I had to monitor myself while working with the student so that I would stay neutral. I have found that when I ask the student to tell me why she picked the answer she couldn't tell me. She would read my cues. It is eye opening to realize how much we can steer a child with the littles movement of our head, eyes, or voice.
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  • 08 Dec 2017 10:15 AM | Anonymous member
    Staying neutral during classroom discussions is one of the hardest things to do. I make a conscious effort to be animated and excited about everything I teach because it gets the kids excited about learning. Since reading the article I have been practicing the neutral face and attitude during discussions. I have not been overly successful with it but I can see a difference in the directions the conversations take when I am able to stay neutral and encourage the students to expand their thinking.
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    • 12 Dec 2017 3:57 PM | Anonymous member
      I have tried this too, and I agree, it is very hard to strike a neutral pose and look.
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  • 09 Dec 2017 12:29 PM | Anonymous member
    I find it very challenging to stay neutral, but I think I'm getting better. My students once told a colleague that they can't tell if they have the right or wrong answer in class at first because I don't tell them they're right or wrong. I try to dig deeper and have them explain their answer and their mathematical thinking that got them there. I see improvement in their communication skills and in their thinking. It wasn't easy at first but I'm getting better and the students are getting used to explaining their answers.
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  • 09 Dec 2017 6:01 PM | Anonymous member
    Everyday I learn something new. Early on I learned how my choice of words, ‘is this correct’ caused students to immediately change their answer so I have had to rephrase the question or list everyone’s answers on the board. As the math has become more complex we focus on the different parts and many times collectively solve the problems. I have had students study my face so I direct them to look at the math on the board. The biggest challenge I face is getting students to believe I themselves; I hear too often, “ I am so bad at math’.
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    • 12 Dec 2017 3:55 PM | Anonymous member
      Your comments made me think of something I was doing. I would ask students, "How do you know?", after giving their quick answers to a problem. Immediately they would think I was saying their answer was wrong. I wasn't focused on right, or wrong, I was trying to get at their thinking and an explanation. They would change their answer or begin to erase their work. I would have to stop some students, and explain that I just wanted to hear how they got their answer.
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  • 10 Dec 2017 7:06 AM | Anonymous member
    This is tough. I find that if I am excited about a topic and I show it, the kids do too. If a topic is hard for students to understand and I am a little apprehensive about how the lesson is going to go, the students seem to struggle and tend to not try. I find that smiling and saying that I want to hear what your thoughts are, I can usually get even the most reserved child to speak and share their thoughts. The neutral look is really hard to do, especially if I am trying to get a variety of solutions to a difficult problem and the correct solution is given from a student who is least expected to get it. It is tough to not cheer and make a big deal out of it. It is also tough to maintain the neutral look when wrong answers are given. The kids can read our faces better than reading a book.
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  • 10 Dec 2017 7:23 PM | Anonymous member
    This is a tough one. I often sit on the floor with my children in a circle so that everyone can see each other. They are fifth graders, so when I sit with them, I don't stand out as much. I model attentive listening by folding my hands on my lap and giving eye contact to the speaker. If I notice that the speaker is just talking to me, I often look down at my lap hoping that the student sharing will direct her remarks to his or her classmates. If I am recording a strategy, I try to keep the white board off to the side and just be the recorder without giving feedback unless I need to ask a question or have the student explain further--also modeling. After someone finishes, I often ask another student to restate what was said.
    I am hoping, that my relaxed, calm approach to math discussions will rub off, and that my students will feel empowered to lead the way, agreeing, respectfully disagreeing or asking for clarification without teacher prompting. Are we there yet? No....but I do notice that generally my students are accepting of silence-think time-, don't jump in without hand raising, and do try to listen. One of our 21st Century Skill targets is to suspend your own thinking so to focus on the thinking of others--we continue to work on this.
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  • 10 Dec 2017 7:24 PM | Anonymous member
    I have been working on this especially with a group of students who are several years behind grade level. I started thinking about this when I started doing Number Talks. I watched some videos with Jo Boaler teaching and noticed how the students reacted to her. I have found that students are more willing to offer up alternate solutions now. This has been a great opportunity to explore their thinking and look for misconceptions. Sometimes after we start talking one of the students will ask to have theirs removed because they have changed their mind. It is nice to see them transition.
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  • 12 Dec 2017 4:04 PM | Anonymous member
    I am discouraged that students can easily read my reactions, especially when trying to ignore behaviors that are an attempt to distract the class from deeper math discussions. It is so frustrating to get a discussion going, and be helping struggling students start to make sense of a process, to have other students disrupt the flow. Even with numerous strategies to engage students in a variety of ways, this is still a persistent problem. This discussion, and book study are providing me with insight and more perspectives to draw from. Thanks to all for your thoughtful input.
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  • 12 Dec 2017 7:01 PM | Anonymous member
    When reflecting about keeping your face, body language, voice, and words neutral I realized I don't think I do this very well. I have always been overly enthusiastic, and become really excited when we are learning. I had never viewed this as a negative until reading this chapter. So can there be a balance, is it ok to get excited with your students?

    I believe I am encouraging, and honest, but neutral? It has still left me a little uneasy. I am more mindful of my responses and how sometimes without even knowing it we give students very subtle feedback.
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  • 12 Dec 2017 7:07 PM | Anonymous member
    I've read the other comments, and I wonder if it's easier at the secondary level as far as a lot of this goes. This year I primarily have freshman, and they are far more interested in their peers than they are in me. I also think that because we do a lot of small group work, that they are more likely to focus on each other - the rule is that they cannot consult with me unless they are all stuck. I've worked hard at being neutral when I ask a question, and I think it has paid off. If I am at the back of the room and we are all looking at a problem, they don't look to me for confirmation.
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    • 15 Jan 2018 2:35 PM | Anonymous member
      Esther, last year I was at a workshop/conference session about student-run tech teams, for kids as young as first grade. Their number one rule was they could not touch their "client's" keyboard. Long story short, I started applying this to my math classroom -- I don't touch their pencil or paper unless absolutely necessary. It's amazing what a difference it has made!
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  • 12 Dec 2017 8:39 PM | Deleted user
    When reflecting about keeping your face, body language, voice, and words neutral I realize that a lot of times I will change my tone when I see a child struggling and want them to feel good about their math problem. Instead I should be spending more time using probing questions. Although it takes a little more time, working through it more neutrally allows the student to learn more. It is all about time and making sure we use it to the best of the students advantage not our own.
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  • 13 Dec 2017 4:41 PM | Deleted user
    Keeping your face, voice and body language neutral is difficult for me sometimes because I tend to get excited when I notice that the kids are getting it, but when I have remained neutral and asked questions for further understand ing or to get students to add to their thinking, they used to think I was doing because their answer or statements was incorrect. I think they thought this because most teachers do this when students are confused. Now students come to expect this and know I am looking for more thinking.
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  • 14 Dec 2017 9:04 AM | Deleted user
    Being a teacher of 5 year olds we are very animated with our actions and voices. I have found in the past that I have used voice and expression with all answers and I felt the kids thought that when an answer was wrong I would question them more. This was not the case as I want to know more about their thinking and so I have worked on my expression and a neutral voice. I have found that by asking questions to all answers kids feel safe to try to explain their thinking. They are free to explain whether wrong or right the thought process they used to solve the problems. My students look hard at my face and my voice as they want to please and do what is right. I feel that I can work on this even more but at the same time feel comfortable with my students feeling like math is where we solve problems, have discussions and make modifications in a safe mathematical environment.
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  • 16 Dec 2017 8:43 AM | Anonymous member
    I find staying encouraging, honest and neutral all at the same time is challenging. In reflecting back I realized that when a student is on the right path I show great enthusiasm, nod, smile huge, etc. however when a student is making a mistake I become quiet. In my mind I am thinking about how to address and whether or not other students are having the same error, I start planning my next teaching step. Since realizing what I am doing, I have been trying to stay neutral in all situations. My students are looking to me for confirmation and I am holding back. Now, instead I am trying how can you prove this is right? What strategy did you use to evaluate? Does this answer make sense? The students then answer with “so this is wrong?” They want a quick yes, no and instead I am forcing more conversation. It is challenging, taking longer, and causing confusion but the dialogue is more productive and I can see some of the students forming connections that would have before been missed opportunities in my classroom.
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  • 17 Dec 2017 9:59 AM | Anonymous member
    I definitely need to work on this. At this point, neutral is not my thing. I hope that the fact that I get excited about wrong answers just like a do about correct answers makes my students feel safe to share and learn, but after reading this chapter it is clear that this is an area I need to work on.

    I talk with my students often about common wrong answers and why a person might arrive at that particular answer, but I need to do a lot more reflection on this topic.
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  • 26 Dec 2017 12:51 PM | Deleted user
    It is hard for me not to react to my students' answers. They look and listen to see if their answers are correct. My goal is to continue to work on keeping my voice neutral. I want to encourage discovery in math class. Making mistakes is okay. I liked the section where students used snap cubes and drawings to solve a problem. The discussion was interesting. They are comfortable making mistakes.
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  • 28 Dec 2017 3:20 PM | Anonymous member
    It all goes back to a student's confidence. When we ask them their reasoning or to explain how they arrived at their answer...they often go to the "I must be wrong" mode and become unsure of their thinking. Encouraging them to explain can be so insightful as sometimes in their speaking they realize an error or gain strength in their thinking to be correct. I try to just offer encouragement to process and talk it through though it's hard to keep all things neutral. Some kids need that reassurance to talk it out. Something else to consider and practice.
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  • 30 Dec 2017 8:55 PM | Deleted user
    I used to always be the first to give away an answer when it comes to my facial expression but I have been working on this over the last year. Once I get to know my students, I can often hear in their voice or see in their body language that they may not be confident in their answer and I try not to give it away. Instead, I have been asking for other students opinions on the answer. This helps students to see if their answer is correct, other students will support them and if their answer is incorrect, they have an easier time hearing it from a peer rather than the teacher. At the same time, when a student asks if their answer is correct and I say what do you think, it can drive some students crazy because they just want to know rather than figuring it out. I continue to work with these students to slow them down and figure out how to justify their answer to me as well as themselves.
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  • 31 Dec 2017 3:24 PM | Anonymous member
    Later in the chapter Zager shares the details of a class discussion of a student’s effort to understand finding the total number of rooms on ten floors. The teacher is calm but persistent in trying to prompt the student to reason through the problem and logically explain her thinking.

    The chapter detailed several examples of why it is better to allow the students to develop and share their thinking until they can make their way to a true understanding of the concept or at least understand where their own thinking is faulty. Staying “encouraging, honest, and neutral” is difficult for me. It is very tempting to jump in and rescue a student from a misunderstanding. As others have commented, my students watch my reactions to their responses. I am particularly vulnerable to show a reaction when one of my quieter students share their thinking. Do others feel they respond differently if they are listening to a vocal, confident student versus a less confident student?
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  • 01 Jan 2018 8:06 PM | Deleted user
    Pg 56 "...how we respond to those mistakes is often what separates a negative math classroom from a positive one." It is our face, body, language, voice, and words that can influence the tone of our class. I think that there are times that we need to be expressive with our face, body, and voice. However remaining neutral is important to allow students to be able to think deeper and not depend on us for feedback.
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  • 10 Jan 2018 6:36 AM | Anonymous member
    This is a difficult for me to control at times because I am usually a very active person in response to students achievements and struggles. I am working hard to maintain a calm steady response when students are struggling and using a voice level that encourages them to continue their thought process in responses when I ask them to provide me information. At times I have caught myself lifting my eyebrows or opening my eyes wide when a response is way off - I try my best to quickly to explain that I had never heard of that approach and ask for them to explain. I will comment to them that their answers is a surprise to me and that I had not thought of that which usually eases them. I can truly see students shrink when they are asked to share and they are unsure of their responses and I encourage them to help everyone learn. My motto of the classroom is "This is Where Mistakes are Made so Learning Can Happen". It is a huge shift if thinking for many students but over the last few years since I have adopted that motto I have seen more student engagement.
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  • 16 Jan 2018 4:16 PM | Anonymous member
    Staying neutral is so hard to do! I get excited when kids are making connections! Kids pick up cues from us because we have been nurturing students for so long it is second nature to show them they are headed in the right direction or may be going the wrong way. Neutrality is something I have been trying lately and listening to their reasoning without commenting and seeing if they can see where they might have made a mistake or worked their way to the end with accuracy. Working on assking more open ended questions rather than what is the answer you got is a great way to help stay neutral. I shall see as I try and put this into practice more often.
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  • 11 Mar 2018 7:03 PM | Anonymous member
    For the most part, I don't find doing all of these things terribly difficult; well unless stressed by the occasional erratic student behavior that hits a nerve! I have been fortunate to have taken on professional development courses featuring Jo Boaler and Carol Dweck via Standford University on-line programming/personal readings. I stumbled upon ATOMIM and am hooked because you offer so many fantastic ways to make us better math mentors! One of my co-teachers has been ahead of the curve with this kind of math thinking and is leading the way in our math department. We continusouly reflect on how we are delivering curriculum, interacting with our students, educating about growth/fixed mindsets and aspiring to be those math teachers that we wished we had more consistently!
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