Week 5: Call to Action (Option 2)

07 Dec 2017 5:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Jen Muhammad (pages 91-93) externalizes the internal voice she wants students to use. How might you try this strategy in your style? Think about it, try it, and write your reflection.


  • 08 Dec 2017 6:37 AM | Deleted user
    As I read through Jen's external thinking dialogue I realized I do this but not for every lesson. Reflecting back over this week's lessons, introducing multiplication/division, I realized I do not use this strategy nearly enough during math time. I will be referring back to this section of chapter 5 often until this becomes a constant approach in my teaching practices.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 09 Dec 2017 11:29 AM | Anonymous member
    This is a strategy that I use during math with my students. It is modeled for them and they are asked to use it on their own. If a student is struggling I will sit with them, model for them, and have them practice. Many of them simply want to go through the steps without thinking and put down an answer. At first, they do not want to take the time to think it through and vocalize what they are confused about, questioning, and thinking. However, as the year has gone on, I am noticing kids independently vocalizing their thinking as they solve, monitor and check their work. This strategy is helpful to them as they are often asked to explain their thinking on standardized test. In the beginning of the year, this would stump the kids. They thought it needed to be some grandiose thing. They are relieved to learn it is simply asking them "What was your thinking?"
    Link  •  Reply
  • 11 Dec 2017 8:35 AM | Anonymous member
    Learning to ask questions of a task is a cross curricular skill. In math it is invaluable as it offers students an inroad to a problem. Externalizing your inner voice is the first step in this process. Even saying out loud “Wait a second; what is it asking?” Starts the organizational dialogue that people use to make sense of a problem and sort or categorize the information in the problem. When students are struggling, it is usually that they gave up already. The mathematical practice of persistence in problem solving begins with this internal dialogue becoming externalized. Modeling this for students helps them make it a habit. Developing lessons that explore this will also help to show students the value in this practice. I’d like to have students brainstorm questions they could ask themselves of a problem without the task of having solve it. Merely practicing the creation of questions and taking note of high quality questions can move students toward independent externalizations.
    Link  •  Reply
    • 15 Jan 2018 5:35 PM | Anonymous member
      I like your idea of asking students to simply generate appropriate questions to ask, without regard to actually answer the question. This would be a way to develop the habit of thinking first, then solving the problem, something I am always encouraging students to do.
      Link  •  Reply
  • 11 Dec 2017 3:37 PM | Anonymous member
    I think that exposing our internal dialogue is important. I try to externalize my thoughts for students every time we approach a complex problem. The first thing I do is read the problem to get a general idea of what the problem is about, then I read it a second time to see what’s actually happening in the problem, and then I read it a third time to find out what it is I’m trying to find out….and that’s just when I BEGIN a problem. Students don’t realize this…we need to tell them that it is expected that they read the problem more than once. I also try to externalize the question I’m trying to answer in a problem as I am always surprised that students are often stymied when I ask them what the question is that they are trying to answer. I like the idea of posting sentence frames in the room to help students get their own internal dialogue going.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 11 Dec 2017 4:03 PM | Anonymous member
    I do my best to vocalize in lessons what the kids should be saying to themselves as they are working. For example, when teaching them about comparing fractions, I may say aloud, "Ok, so I can compare these fractions to 1/2. This fraction, 2/8 is less than 1/2. This fraction, 3/4 is more than 1/2. Therefore, 3/4 must be larger than 2/8." If I do that a few times, and then have kids model that for others, I then hear more kids saying what I said aloud to themselves and to others as they work independently or in groups. I find this to be a very helpful strategy.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 14 Dec 2017 8:24 PM | Anonymous member
    I find that I use this strategy more often when working math problems in my SAT prep class, with individual students as well as the class, between the language of the questions and the diversity of mathematical backgrounds (juniors who are taking anything from geometry to AP calculus in the same class!). The problems are complex; sometimes your "answer" is not what is being asked but rather a stepping stone to the final answer.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 17 Dec 2017 10:25 AM | Anonymous member
    I loved the excitement Jen showed for Noemi's realization that her answer was wrong. It conveyed to Noemi that she had a deeper understanding of the math she was working on. As I continue to work on being neutral, it is much easier for me to embrace wrong answers with enthusiasm. Jen's reaction let Noemi know that she was on the right track with her thinking and would hopefully encourage her to continue to share her thinking with the class.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 22 Dec 2017 12:59 PM | Anonymous member
    As a former ELA teacher, I am very familiar with the think-aloud strategy: for example, modeling self-talk to monitor understanding while reading. Math is not much different. I make my internal voice external when I teach a lesson, and when I am working through a problem with students. As I teach a lesson, I question the reasonableness of an answer. Estimation is so important. Without estimation, my students happily follow a procedure or perform an algorithm, get an outrageous answer, and go on their way.
    Word problems can be especially difficult for students. My go to line is, “I bet we could figure this out if we knew exactly what we’re being asked to do.” We work through problems using the problems solving process. What did we know? What question do we need to answer? What are some possible strategies we could use? What should we try first? I constantly explain my thinking and share strategies that I have learned over time and ask them to share their thinking.
    The best teachable moments are when I have worked out a multi-step problem on the board and have made an error. The answer doesn’t make sense. I explain why it can’t be correct, and model by going back to the beginning and work through my thinking in each step. They enjoy finding my mistake. Math isn’t magic; even the teacher has to think and reason to get to precision.
    It takes constant practice and continued use of your internal voice to keep checking answers to get to precision. In math class this week students were asked to simplify 825/1000. One student got the answer immediately. Her peers wanted to know how she got the answer so quickly. She carefully explained, “It’s just like money. There are 32 quarters in $8 so 825/25 = 33. There are 40 quarters in $10, so the answer has to be 33/40.” I was proud that she could articulate her strategy.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 28 Dec 2017 3:40 PM | Anonymous member
    I often talk to students about whether their answer is in the 'ballpark' but I know I could weave the estimating in more. Also, I think when students see us making errors and working through them that they can use that as a model, too. We are ALWAYS teaching! Handling this with kindness and humor helps to ease the anxiety and work towards correcting the error and our thinking.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 28 Dec 2017 4:00 PM | Deleted user
    I do vocalize what I am thinking as we are solving problems. Love how students will quickly pick up the vocabulary. I will ask them to listen to the problem before doing any work. Then the problem is read as they are writing on their white boards. I circulate around asking individuals what they are doing. I liked seeing the evidence that timed work causes math anxiety. In our new math series, we have to give timed tests. Students seem to enjoy getting better scores each day. I am going to show our math specialist and curriculum coordinator the evidence from Chapter 5. We should not be creating any anxiety in our children!
    Link  •  Reply
  • 15 Jan 2018 5:26 PM | Anonymous member
    In reading instruction, we model our internal thought process using "think alouds". When we want to answer questions about a character, or a reading passage, we model for students how to use the details of what they are reading to answer questions. This is the same type of modeling referred to on p.93 of the reading in Ch.5. A student must self-monitor and check for meaning. I like this connection and see it in a new light here. I never thought about how we use this strategy in math, but we do all the time!
    Link  •  Reply
  • 21 Feb 2018 3:48 PM | Anonymous member
    Recently I was working with my sixth grade class and decimals. The lesson was estimation (which fit in great with Jen's work) of decimals to come up with a reasonable answer. As I was working with students I realized they kept wanting to add the decimals without estimating and I had to have conversations with them that estimation was a "good" thing. That there are times when estimations are okay to use and are helpful in doing mental math quickly. We then began a discussion on where they might use estimation and I provided a few examples about me as an adult purchasing something or looking into getting some repaired at my home. Asking for estimates is a way to get close to an answer, but allows for wiggle room! Students had been focussing for so long on always providing the correct answer that estimation was a very difficult thing for them to do. We are now doing it everyday as a daily challenge or as a part of our lessons when we are working on a problem and just want to see what are answer should be close to. Great section of the book - it was timely for me.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 11 Mar 2018 8:26 PM | Anonymous member
    I love Kim Smallidge's reinforcement (below) of the posting of sentence frames in the room to get the internal dialogue process reinforced! We can model this for our students and also repeat great comments that students make to assist students to see what their peers are thinking. Often, student's can drift to another place, and if we can get jazzed in our animation, volume, etc. to reinforce these invaluable thought processes when they materialize then we should jump on it, and get those lost in the haze back in the good work! I love being silly and spontaneous and for the most part my students like it too!
    Link  •  Reply
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software