Holy Strategies, Batman!

Thanks for another great day of PD last Wednesday! The strategies used on Wednesday 8/29 are described below. We’ve also specifically included the HOM/HOI best practices that were modeled. A running record of those will also be kept here.

Sticky Note Justification (an exercise in coming to consensus)

  • When?: Use this strategy when you want students to rate, classify, judge, or assess material on their own and then discuss and come to a consensus with a group
  • How?
    • Provide a small group with the cards containing the content they are assessing – one item on each card –  and a package of sticky notes.
    • Establish that the first part of this activity is silent.
    • Each person  will get a card, rate it or offer their solution, write their answer on a sticky note, and stick it to the back of the card before passing the card to the next person.
    • Once everyone has assessed each item, flip the items over to reveal the ratings.
    • Discuss the ones where there isn’t already consensus.

Walk and Talk

  • When?: Use this strategy when you want students to discuss something but would also like to provide an opportunity for movement.
  • Tips for Successful Implementation
    • Set clear expectations upfront, possibly including mention of how students will be held accountable for the discussion upon their return to the classroom. (Cold-calling, reflection, etc.)
    • Make sure the content they are discussing is significant enough to sustain a longer conversation.
    • Perhaps provide students with a list of questions to discuss on their walk.
    • Choose a nearby hallway, outlining specific boundaries where students can walk.
    • Assign partners.

Purposeful Private Reasoning Time

  • Why? To allow all students time to process  the information and to level the playing field for those students who may be slower processors
  • When? Anytime before students are expected to answer a question or share their thinking
  • How?
    • Explicitly state
      • that students are going to have a certain length of private reasoning time
      • what students should be doing during this time
      • how students will be held accountable for their thinking after time is up
    • The first few times you use PPRT with your class, interrupt them about 15 seconds into the thinking to…
      • Point out what it sounds like and looks like during PPRT
      • Ask them what they are doing inside their heads during this time.  Having this discussion is important so students don’t see this as a time for their minds to wander.
    • Remember that the overall goal is for students to eventually own this and request PPRT as they need it in class. 

A & B Discussion (a structured talk strategy)

  • Why? To allow each student time to share his/her ideas that is consistently equitable and status-free.
  • When? While you can have students share with partners at anypoint, use structured talk more sparingly, when students are discussing what you want to be the big takeaway of the day.
  • How? (from Teacher Development Group p. 66)
    • First choose a task or question that has high cognitive demand and is central to the key understanding of the day.
    • Provide PPRT before the structured talk begins.
    • After PPRT, have Student A share his/her thinking in regards to the task for an allotted time (30 seconds to 1 minute is usually reasonable, but in general set the timing in relation to the complexity of the question or task).  During this time, Student B silently listens to understand and there is no discussion yet at this point.
    • If person A is done talking before the time is up, both partners remains quiet. This allows time for person A to possibly process more and add more thoughts.
    • Then switch roles, so Student B shares his/her thinking while Student A listens. Remind students that if they share a strategy similar to their partner, it is helpful to describe their reasoning in their own words.
    • After students have both shared, you will want to allow time for discussion which could ask partners to one or more of the following:
      • Compare how their thinking is the same or different
      • Make Connections to their ideas
      • Look for patterns between their thinking

Select and Sequence/Public Record

  • What?  Selecting and Sequencing is a process to determine which ideas and students the teacher will focus on during the discussion.  A teacher is purposefully determining which ideas students will have access to build their understanding around the key learning for that day.
  • Why?  It gives the teacher control over what the whole class will discuss, ensuring that the key understanding that is the heart of the lesson actually gets on the table. (p.44 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions)
  • When? During an discussion where you want students coming to important conclusions or making important observations
  • How?
    • Plan for a discussion around an important topic.
    • Before the class where you teach the lesson…
      • Determine what your “listen fors” are. What are the big ideas you want students to come to during this lesson?
      • Write some “back pocket questions.” Along with having your “look fors” in mind, ask yourself what misconceptions you might hear at tables or how you might go about extending student thinking when they reach a particular point. Craft a few questions in advance that can both steer students toward those “looks fors,” clear up misconceptions, and extend thinking.
      • Possibly create a handout like this where you can keep track of where you are hearing certain ideas, so you know who to call on to share their thinking.
    • During the discussion…
      • Circulate the room, listening in on conversations with any of the “listen fors” or chances to use to prepared “back pocket questions.”
      • If you hear one of the “listen fors,” let that student/group know that you’d like to call on them to share their thinking around that idea
    • After the discussion…
      • Think about the order you would like thinking shared, especially if there are misconceptions you would like to address.
      • Call on the groups you identified during the discussion to share their ideas.
      • Write ideas on a “public record” – this can be something you refer to on throughout the day, week, or unit.

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