Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Maine

Chapter 3 Discussion Prompt

15 Oct 2020 9:51 PM | Anonymous member

In the chapter there are 3 challenges associated with anticipating student responses. What is the biggest challenge you are facing with anticipating student responses?


Challenges associated with the practice of anticipating students’ responses.

  • Moving beyond the way you solve a problem

  • Being prepared to help students who cannot get started on a task

  • Creating questions that move students toward the mathematical goal

Comments

  • 17 Oct 2020 1:24 PM | Samantha Welch
    The biggest challenge that I face with anticipating student responses is being prepared to help students who cannot get started on a task. Kindergarten is so much about building their foundation. We sort of begin the work of getting students to explain their reasoning or understanding about a task. My goal is to work harder at eliciting what they understand rather then giving suggestions.
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    • 25 Oct 2020 4:19 PM | Cindy Kelley
      I can understand how this must be difficult at the Kindergarten level Samantha. Building those foundations is so important. They always amaze me with the connections they can make when encouraged though. As a grade 2 teacher I appreciate all the hard work you do in K!
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    • 26 Oct 2020 6:59 PM | Anonymous member
      I love kindergarten! There is a reason why they compare teaching kindergarten to herding cats:) They have so many ideas, but organizing those ideas is the challenge.
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  • 21 Oct 2020 2:55 PM | Chris Austin
    This is one that I find changes depending on my context, but I think "Creating questions that move students toward the mathematical goal" is probably the one that is more difficult for me overall. I think this really relates to the culture you create in your classroom and is something that is worked on over time, but especially early in the year there is a potential for some challenges that I tend to think of as relating to the "pedagogical contract." My questions may theoretically move the student towards a mathematical goal, but if they don't adequately fit students expectations for what comes next we still may not get there smoothly. (e.g. Student is asked to keep going even after getting a "correct answer," instead of being able to be done with the task.) This is something I think about often, and still do not have a perfect solution for.
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    • 21 Oct 2020 9:23 PM | Jenny Jorgensen
      I chose the same struggle and hadn't really thought about the "culture" of the classroom and definitely think it's part of the problem solving process. Students need to know that some problems take more time to solve than others and that perseverance is required.
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    • 26 Oct 2020 6:55 PM | Anonymous member
      I love your connection to the culture of the classroom. I agree that creating a culture in which students understand that mathematics is not all about getting the answers, then they will be more receptive to answering questions that address their understanding and/or how they may think about he problem in other ways.
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    • 29 Oct 2020 3:29 PM | Samantha Welch
      I love your connection to the culture of the classroom as well. It's important for students to know that not all problems are quick to solve, and that it is okay to work through something for a period of time, make mistakes, and persevere! Understanding that is so important for their confidence and success.
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  • 21 Oct 2020 9:21 PM | Jenny Jorgensen
    I think I struggle more with creating questions to advance students' thinking, moving them toward the mathematical goal and a deep understanding of the mathematics of the task. I find that I need to make sure that I provide students the opportunity to describe their take on the task and what they've done to solve the task before I can think about the best way to help move students forward with their thinking. If students have approached the task in a way that I did expect, even with my anticipation, I have to stop and make sure I understand their thinking in order to consider what might be the best "push" for them.
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    • 26 Oct 2020 7:14 PM | Anonymous member
      This is so important to remember. I know that I can often "assume" what a student is thinking based on looking at their work, but often times there is so much more going on. I know that I may have confused a student based on a question I may ask that was based on an assumption I made about what I thought they understood.
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  • 25 Oct 2020 4:17 PM | Cindy Kelley
    I have been working on my questioning technique for awhile now. It was interesting to hear them referred to assessing questions and advancing questions. This information has given me even more to think about as I create questions for the children in my class. I think my biggest challenge though is being prepared to help children who cannot get started. I am going to think harder about how I encourage them so I am not giving them as much information or showing them how to do it. I will try to help them make connections to things that they do know to help them. I also have many children who can complete the task and need the support to move beyond.
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    • 26 Oct 2020 7:09 PM | Anonymous member
      I am also working on how to support students so they can access a task. I have tried using tasks that I can offer options for the quantities being used. I don't assign specific quantities for students, but allow them to choose which ones they want to use.
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  • 26 Oct 2020 6:52 PM | Anonymous member
    Creating questions that move students toward the mathematical goal is a challenge that I continue to work on and the one that I feel can have the biggest impact on student learning. I love how the book identifies the types of questions as "assessing" or advancing". Thinking of questions through this lens will help me to be more thoughtful and intentional with the questions that I choose.
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    • 28 Oct 2020 6:08 PM | Chris Austin
      I tend to get bogged down in one over the other when it comes to "assessing" or "advancing" depending on where I'm at in the pacing guide! It is definitely a nice framework to have though because if I'm being attentive to those questions it is a little easier to maintain a balance. I have seen some classrooms where the students were folded into the process of asking each other questions, and I found that those were good opportunities to assess based not only on the responses to the questions, but based on the kinds of questions students were asking each other.
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  • 28 Oct 2020 10:34 PM | Hillary H.
    I thinking finding new ways to get students to advance especially if they have already "found the answer" can be tricky. I often find that students like to be done after getting an answer and it is a learning curve to get them to continue to explain and expand. I really liked what someone wrote about about "culture" in the classroom. This is something I continue to work on every year. This year I have set a goal for myself to really focus on having my students look for and at the process not just the answer.
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    • 29 Oct 2020 5:32 PM | Heather Patterson
      I agree that students, especially ones that are quick to finish, as you said "just be done." Those are the students I find most challenging to work with at times because they don't like to explain their thinking.
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  • 29 Oct 2020 5:40 PM | Heather Patterson
    I would have to say that being prepared to help students who cannot get started is my biggest challenge. I always resort to, "draw a picture". I have spent a lot of time since moving from 1st grade to 3rd grade reminding students that math and reading are very similar and you have to break things apart or use a strategy (which are common learning to read terms). Getting students to choose a strategy independently versus me suggesting the "draw a picture" still can be a challenge. It is hard to wait them out to see what they can do with just a "you need to think about the strategies we have talked about and choose one before jumping in and suggesting one.
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    • 31 Oct 2020 1:10 PM | Cindy Kelley
      It is so difficult to get children to explain their thinking. They are so quick to give an answer, but when you ask them to tell you how they got the answer they say, "I did it in my head!" The end result is important, but how we get there is too!
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  • 02 Nov 2020 3:33 PM | Amanda H.
    I would say the biggest challenge for me is helping kids get started when they are stuck. I often find myself relying on the 'old fashioned way' as a crutch, since that is the way their parents learned how to do it. There are so many strategies out there that can meet the many ways students learn and I don't want to 'push' one on them. It's tough to not jump right in and say - Do it this way and poof you get the right answer!
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