We have been studying multiplication for quite a bit now and my students have a really good handle on it...so when we started division I was a little shocked at how many of them seemed to struggle with the concept. It turned that a lot of them had memorized their multiplication facts but didn't really understand the concepts behind the multiplication and therefore couldn't apply it to their division problems.
Using a simple problem from the text book that required the students to use division we worked through a step-by-step process and took the time to have the students do a "gallery walk" through the room in order to see each other's strategies for solving the problem. Since it was a multi-step problem we were able to do two gallery walks!
I love using the gallery walk in my math class for a variety of reasons:
#1- it validates all the students work without having to post incorrect response in front of the entire class
#2 - students are able to see different ways of solving the same problem
#3 - students are able to see that other people are using the same strategy as them and it gives them more confidence.
After our gallery walks I had the students "collect" two different strategies than the one they used and copy them onto their own page, this way they would have a collection of ways to solve a division problem. Of course, we also made an anchor chart!!
It seemed to really help and I think my students had a better understanding of division.....but of course, being a teacher we need to assess it right? Even if it is just a formative assessment!
So, today I tried a new strategy I learned yesterday at my workshop on Culturally Responsive Practices. It's called a Talking Picture. The ideas is that it helps students who may not be comfortable expressing their ideas in writing or in conversation, instead they can show their understanding in a picture. I put up a very simple prompt.."What is division?" and then briefly discussed the strategy with my students. I told them that they could use words, pictures, symbols, numbers, colours, speech bubble...basically anything they wanted to show their answer to the prompt. Here's what some of them look like!
This an example of the original student work.
This shows where I have used orange marker to highlight where the student is glowing- this is similar to a strategy like "Stars and Wishes". You highlight where the student has demonstrated their understanding by using a colour or a symbol that indicates glowing.
Then, to assess or indicate where a student had some mistakes or misconceptions I used a green marker to show that they needed to grow.
Glow and Grow!! It's a great way to quickly do formative assessments of your student's understanding!
Both the "Talking Picture" strategy and the "Glow and Grow" were ideas I picked up at the Culturally Responsive Practices workshop and something I can see myself using again and again! I think "Talking Pictures" will make for a great diagnostic task for my next math unit on MONEY!!
How would you use these strategies...or have you already? I'd love to hear about it.