Saturday, 23 May 2015

Teaching with Integers

During the previous weeks, I have focused on giving students opportunities to talk and share their thoughts. I had to gift them with examples of sentence starters:

You said ______________________, can you explain why did you do that?
Why did you  _______________________?
I don't agree because ___________________.
I didn't understand, could you repeat that please?

I also focused on not speaking too much and encouraged the children to speak instead. When a student shared their learning and ideas, I found that a lot of the children tended to agree and weren't really questioning or challenging what was shared.

However, children began to put on their thinking caps and had light bulb "a-ha!" moments. Discussions have been working really well with my Integers group.  Machelle is a good example. She is always commenting and asking questions. She would say, "you said ________ but that doesn't make sense because _____________". A few of the children are asking "what strategy did you use?"

By allowing children opportunities to direct the discussion empowers them and gives them ownership of their learning. It also keeps children accountable of tuning in and staying focused.

If children get side tracked during discussion, I redirect them back to the problem and ask them "what is it asking us to do?" If children are confident with their answers, (which is incorrect) I would get them to prove it using materials and prompting them along the way.

This has been a major change in my practice. I'm still learning to remember when to speak and when not too. It's hard but do-able. I'm also still learning to facilitate discussions in my lower ability groups.