Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Maine

Chapter 4 Discussion Prompt

29 Oct 2020 10:26 AM | 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 monitoring.

  • Trying to understand what students are thinking

  • Keeping track of group progress - which groups you visited and what you left them to work on

  • Involving all members of a group

Comments

  • 31 Oct 2020 1:18 PM | Cindy Kelley
    Over the years I have tried many methods of monitoring children's work. I do find this very challenging. I use a sheet of paper with boxes for each child that I keep on a clipboard. This is where I record things that I notice or things I need to reteach. I have not used it for recording my questions. This is something that I will have to try. I seem to record more when I work with small groups than when I am moving around the classroom in a big group. This year things are so different as we can not work in groups. Usually children are more comfortable explaining their thinking when only a few people are listening vs the whole class.
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    • 11 Nov 2020 6:59 AM | Samantha Welch
      I also find monitoring work and tracking to be a challenge at times too, Cindy! Our days can get so busy, but I need to remind myself of the importance of taking that moment to record or jot things down. It is definitely easier to do when working with students individually or in a small group. I also need to try recording my questions.
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  • 02 Nov 2020 3:39 PM | Amanda Hay
    I would like to echo what Cindy said about kids being more comfortable explaining their thinking in smaller groups vs. whole class. So for me, when you have the few who are open and willing during whole class, those quieter ones don't get a chance, and it's tough to involve all members of the group. I like to meet with those 'quieter' ones individually and ask permission to share their solving strategy with the whole group after we talk. I want their valuable thoughts to be heard too.
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    • 11 Nov 2020 6:52 AM | Samantha Welch
      Asking for permission to share a strategy is wonderful. I agree that it is important for their valuable thoughts to be heard, and celebrated! I've noticed that doing this can help students eventually feel more comfortable to share in the future. It is definitely a confidence booster.
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      • 11 Nov 2020 11:14 AM | Chris Austin
        Agreed. Not only is it a confidence booster, but for students that aren't as comfortable sharing it gives them a chance to get their ideas together and think about what they want to say.
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    • 14 Nov 2020 12:07 PM | Anonymous member
      I struggled with that issue as well. By high school (yes, I know this is the elementary book group, but hey, I've gotten some great ideas from teachers in elementary and middle school) the situation is magnified between dealing with "looking good in front of peers" and "I'm not good at math". I started using "giving me a thumb up" if you a have an answer to share, followed by "thumbs up if you agree", and "thumbs up if you are willing to explain...". Well that helped with getting some reluctant folks to talk... The addition that struck gold was this: adding a "high five" for offering an answer (right or wrong - reward for taking an opportunity to speak up in class). Students received an air high five from the class (definitely much more effective than one just from me!!). I had students who never spoke up (and had told me ahead of time never to call on them) coming out of their seats to answer. The net effect was more student participation in discourse over the ensuing days of the trimester.
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  • 05 Nov 2020 5:01 PM | Chris Austin
    I would echo what others have said about how much easier it is to get students to share in smaller groups. With that in mind, I think involving all members of a group is where I notice more of a challenge, in part because even in the small groups having everyone contribute to the ideas can be tough when students don't feel confident about their contributions. Sometimes the design of the task helps, and sometimes establishing roles for different group members help, but trying to establish routines so that students become comfortable just talking about the problem with each other is certainly a big thing that I try to work towards and can be difficult.
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  • 08 Nov 2020 4:42 PM | Anonymous member
    I agree with the others that students do feel more comfortable sharing their thinking in small groups rather than in front of the whole class. Covid social distancing makes providing opportunities to work in small groups a challenge this year. We have used screen recording apps such as Explain Everything so students can record their thinking. These recordings can then be shared with others and promote discourse.
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  • 11 Nov 2020 6:48 AM | Samantha Welch
    One challenge that I face is involving all members of a group. Similar to what others have shared, it is especially difficult to involve all students when they are in a big group, but it can also be difficult to include all students when they are in a small group. I notice it the most with some of my struggling learners, learners who are quiet, and/or those who lack confidence.
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  • 11 Nov 2020 1:00 PM | Jenny Jorgensen
    I think my biggest challenge with monitoring is when I stop to check in with a group. I need to be sure to listen to students and ask a question that either clarifies or advances the students' work. I find myself sometimes with a group longer than is probably necessary and therefore prevents me from getting to other groups or that I use more time for the group work than I had planned. I need to work on being more specifically focused when I am with a group. This might be accomplished by my double checking my goal and my advancing questions. I need to keep the goal of the lesson in mind in order to keep my questions specific to helping students accomplish the goal. I think I'm good about involving all members of the group but it sometimes takes me longer that I think is warranted.
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