Friday, March 2, 2012

Math Talk and Two New Strategies to Try!!

I've had a goal this year to incorporate a lot of math talk and journaling into my math lessons. I want my students to have the opportunity to talk about their thinking and learn from their peers.

We have been studying multiplication for quite a bit now and my students have a really good handle on 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.

14 Brilliant Teaching Thoughts:

Mrs. Clancy said...

I love the glow and grow...I think I could use that with kindergarten. The math lesson was great!

Beth said...

Thanks Mrs Clancy!

Patrice said...

This was an awesome post filled with engaging & meaningful tasks from beginning to end. I would love to practice galleries to display problem solving strategies. Also incorporating math journals, GLOW & GROW all so awesomely tied together!

Beth said...

Thanks Patrice! I really appreciate that.

Runde's Room said...

OH MY GOODNESS - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the "glow and grow"!!! Think I'll be adding this is immediately! Thank-you for another WONDERFUL idea!
(one more week ... one more week ...)

Runde's Room

Runde's Room said...

Beth - just wanted to tell you I used your "glow and grow" strategy today for some of our writing reflection. It was a HIT!!! Definitely going to incorporate it into our regular self-reflection and assessments. Thanks for another wonderful idea! (I'm going to write a post about it today - check in later if you get the chance.)

Runde's Room

Beth said...

Jen- I wish I could claim to have "made" the strategy! But I am super glad you like it. I am excited to see your post!

Leslie said...

I'm thankful I came across this, this past week and I'm glad Jen reminded me of it on TBA. I wanted to share it with my FB readers. Done! Thanks for sharing how you use glow and grow in your room.
-Leslie @KindergartenWorks

Confessions of a Teaching Junkie said...

Love this idea! I wish I had know about it a lot sooner! You may want to repost a refresher at the beginning of next year to remind us all! Thanks for sharing!
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Unknown said...

This is an amazing idea! Seriously?! The more I read on your blog (which I just found via Pinterest this morning), the more impressed I am! It seems that you do a fantastic job with your grade 4 students! As a teacher fresh out of student teaching, about to teach for the 1st time, you inspire me!

Beth said...

Wow, Kelly!! Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

I love both strategies! I teach first grade and I think both strategies will work really well. Thank you!

Shannon said...

This is awesome stuff!!! Love the glow and grow strategy!

I've got a question about the gallery walk. I just want to make sure I'm understanding it in the right ways since I will be using it with my 6th graders next year for sure!!

You had them all solve and explain a word problem. Then you assessed them. Then you hung them up for the gallery walk?


Beth said...


I didn't assess them before the gallery walk, it was part of the class lesson. The students looked for a division strategy that was different then the one they used and then we created the anchor chart of all the strategies they used. I have assessed other work and had students do a gallery walk after the assessment though. It's basically a way of having students look at and reflect on each other's work.

You can also give each student a post-it note and a prompt to answer. like "I really like how you..." or "I am wondering why you..." and then they leave the post-it note on the work they want to comment on.
Hope this helps,

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