Week 11: Call to Action (Option 2)

01 Feb 2018 4:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Spend some time with the bulleted list on p. 284. Identify a specific goal to work on in your practice (for example, working on your poker face or asking follow-up questions). Try your goal in your teaching for two weeks, then come back and write about how it went.


  • 04 Feb 2018 10:49 AM | Anonymous member
    -Above all else, maintain your focus on developing young mathematicians who listen to and refine their internal truth detectors. Encourage them to be skeptical and allow them to remain in doubt until they are genuinely convinced.....(the last bullet)

    I am guilty of feeling the pressure to "move on." Here's to giving students the time needed to convince themselves.
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  • 04 Feb 2018 3:41 PM | Anonymous member
    The goal I would like to work on is "use and teach language like 'Prove it' or 'convince me' rather that 'right' or 'wrong'." Currently, I have been trying to have my students use multiple ways to show how they solved a problem. By using multiple ways to solve it my students prove their answer, but I find that when a student gets a problem wrong I need to find language to prompt them to relook at their work without revealing that they might have done it wrong.
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  • 05 Feb 2018 9:39 AM | Anonymous member
    I often ask kids how they know they are right. Another thing I make kids notice is when they present their answer with the inflection of a question. I generally say, “ It doesn’t sound like you are sure about that. What is your thinking?” However, I notice that students tend to try to read my face for clues about the correctness of their answer. I say I notice, but when I read the bullet about maintaining a poker face, it didn’t click with me. I have many “tells”. Kids are very adept at reading these cues and applying them to their answers. With this in mind, I plan on working on my poker face and asking students how they know their answer is correct. To explain their thinking, which we have been modeling in class, and proving their answers while not being afraid of doubt.
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  • 06 Feb 2018 3:48 PM | Anonymous member
    This quote make me think about a journey of exploration and fun that was not my experience in math. It almost contradicts everything I once thought math was. As a math students I felt as though math was only absolutes and the quicker you learned what they were and “proved” them by writing down the answer the better math student you were. Because of the way I was taught math, I believe that my tendency has been to push my students more along the lines the architect than the draftsman. I really think having to “prove” we are highly qualified teachers and have kids meet many standards also drives one toward the architect approach. Teach it and prove it by having the kids prove they have it. This book has helped me to realize that the kids will get there and be able to show they “have it” if given the opportunities to be draftsmen that, through the process of inductive learning, they will deepen their learning experience and in the end be able to apply their learning to the deductive stage.
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  • 07 Feb 2018 8:11 PM | Deleted user
    This list of goals support the strategies we have been practicing over the past couple of months. For kindergarten I feel that the "Convince me" or "Prove It" method, instead of right or wrong would clearly teach my young students that there is a reason for their thinking instead of whether they have the right answer or not. If young minds are trained that all ideas are valued then math in the future should look like more courage to try, using problem solving strategies, intuition and evidence of the mathematical thought process and less resistance to try due to not wanting to be wrong.
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  • 08 Feb 2018 7:04 AM | Deleted user
    I have to say the poker face is a goal I am constantly working on. I have a hard time with this when the kids succeed in solving problems. This week's prompt made me think about it constantly as I was moving around the room listening to groups as they attacked each problem.
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  • 08 Feb 2018 7:44 PM | Anonymous member
    There are a few things on the list that I felt that I could try. But the one that hit me the hardest is "Poker Face".. I often find that my students can read me very well. My face can guide them in ways that gives them answers. I am going to work on this. I have before but feel that I need to focus on it again.
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  • 11 Feb 2018 11:16 AM | Anonymous member
    In Jo Boaler's Week of Inspirational Math Building Shapes Activity, students are asked to play the role of a skeptic. Some students love this job and drive their classmates crazy with their constant questions and doubts. Others don't know how to handle it. They fear upsetting their classmates and don't ask for enough clarification and proof. This is definitely a skill that requires modeling and lots of practice. My goal is to find more opportunities to practice this in the classroom.
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    • 11 Feb 2018 12:54 PM | Anonymous member
      Totally forgot the quote I wanted to use. Definition of proving: "Convincing skeptical peers of the truth of a mathematical statement in a way that helps them understand why." We need to teach students to voice their skepticism with respect and clarity.
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  • 11 Feb 2018 10:06 PM | Anonymous member
    I have been using the "prove it/convince me" strategy along with a "poker face" to force students to think about an answer. Too often "Is this right" is all I hear. I continue to ask, "How did you get that?" "Can you show the work to support your answer?, etc. I think some kids are more prepared to respond to my questions, and some are a little more reluctant to ask "Is it right?" My poker face may be working to well. As one of my students was explaining her work the other day she said "Why don't you smile?" maybe I've gone too far:)
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    • 12 Feb 2018 2:43 PM | Anonymous member
      I, too, am using the "prove it/explain how" strategy with a poker face when asking students to talk about their answers. Students have a difficult time with doing this. They are looking for the right answer and getting it right the first time. I also use "who can add to that/who wants to go further/who wants to restate that" questions. It takes me half a year to get students comfortable with trying to explain - and getting students to help one another to explain. My hope is for students to understand that math is more than "the right answer" it is also, and more importantly, about the process and understanding what the problem is asking and how to go about solving it in many ways.
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    • 20 Feb 2018 10:04 AM | Anonymous member
      My students have said that I smile too much...hmmm...not sure that is a bad thing. So I practice "poker face" with a smile. I think the idea is to not give away your feelings about an answer...so smiling or straight-face will work...
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  • 15 Feb 2018 10:33 AM | Anonymous member
    I am really working on LISTENING more, and talking less. I am encouraging students to rephrase each other instead of trying to myself. When I do that I am trying to change what they said into my words and that is not helpful.
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  • 18 Feb 2018 7:45 PM | Anonymous member
    After reading the list on page 284, several ideas struck me. Of course the first one was making certain to use a "poker face". If I truly believe that all discussions and answers are valuable then it won't be difficult to keep a poker face. I will actually show excitement over the fact that children are critiquing their work. I also liked the suggestion to use the words"Prove it" and "Convince me or us". I know that children just want the correct answer and to say that they got it by doing it in their heads. That is an easy way out of really exploring their strategies and being able to convince others that their claims are correct. I haven't but will try posting claims whether true or false on a chart to refer to when exploring different problems that I pose. it's a good way to keep the kids mentally invested in their work and actively trying to justify the claim or disprove it as time goes on.
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  • 19 Feb 2018 2:07 PM | Anonymous member
    I love "clamming up" and listening. I love students' resolutions. Since I am at the pre-k level, "Above all else, maintain your focus on developing young mathematicians who listen to and refine their internal truth detectors." is what I have been working on. I give them time and encourage thinking. When they are building during playtime, I compliment them on what great architects and engineers they are. This makes them happy and want to add to their creations. I take pictures of their structures.

    When I was at the middle school, it was very interesting to me and very annoying to students when I wouldn't directly answer their questions or have a poker face and wait. Frustration stretches the brain.
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  • 19 Feb 2018 9:46 PM | Anonymous member
    I like having students try to defeat a claim. I did this with the students when they were working with a partner with word problems. As they worked in pairs, I had asked them to work together to find the answer, but found many decided to do their own work, but after each example, compare their answers to see if they got the same answer. We had done this before with other assignments. As I circulated, and sat with each pair, I'd wait until they had different answers, then say, "Go back, rethink it through, and see if you still get the same answer." Often then the student that had it wrong, would find their error. If not, then I'd go through each step with both of them, so the student could clearly see where the problem solving went astray. This is good that they had to check, and prove their answers. The kids knew that one or maybe both of them had it wrong, but I did not say that, but just made them both go through the steps to recheck themselves. In this way, neither student knew if they had it correct or not.
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  • 20 Feb 2018 10:10 AM | Anonymous member
    I've been working on poker face for a while and it must be working. In a recent discussion, one student asked me if his answer was correct, and even before I said anything, another student piped up that "she isn't going to tell us" - at least not right away. I feel the conversation in class has shifted...it's not so much about being the first with the "right" answer.
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  • 25 Feb 2018 12:48 PM | Anonymous member
    Students look to me for the "right answer," particularly in the beginning of the year. Finally, at this stage of the year, they know I will may ask questions, but I will not give an answer - they have to prove it. This has led to some very spirited discussions. Similar to young author's who are unwilling to revise, some young mathematicians are reluctant to revise their thinking, even in the face of contradictory "proof." Sometimes I think I inadvertently apply "pressure to concede" due to my self-imposed time pressure. I found focusing on really deliberate follow up questions allowed me to focus more on what the student's thinking and letting go of concerns about time - mindfulness in math class!
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