Thursday, February 19, 2015

Math Conversations in the Primary Classroom

Hi everyone! It's Katie from Simply Creative in KY again! 
Today I'm sharing with you how I place emphasis on math conversations using the Standards for Mathematical Practice in the primary classroom! I'll be honest for a minute. I used to have not a single CLUE what these practices truly meant up until about a year ago. I knew they were part of the Common Core, but I had no idea what that was supposed to mean in my classroom.

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, you can read these on the Common Core Standards website. Here's a link that describes all of 8 practices: 

In my primary classroom of 1st and 2nd graders, we talk about these every. single. day. It's brief, but so so so important. Each morning during calendar we remind ourselves what "mathematicians" do using these posters. These align (in student friendly language) to the Standards for Mathematical Practice.
Each poster has a matching "I Can..." statement.
We refer to these posters as we talk about what good mathematicians do -- and I have to tell you -- THEY'RE GETTING IT. No joke. It's sinking into those little brains!!!
These are posted right above my whiteboard at the front of the room. My meeting area is right under this so we can easily refer to our posters!
One of the standards that has truly made a difference in my classroom is giving my students so much time to talk (refers to the "Talk About It" poster). My students have learned soooo much from one another. I post a problem on the board for them to solve and let them solve it independently. Once they've finished (not necessarily knowing if they're right or wrong) they turn to a partner who has also finished. 

Here's three little friends who all solved 23 + 70 in different ways earlier in the year.
When teaching your kiddos to share, I've found you have to explicitly teach HOW to share and HOW to listen. When a student is teaching, they must take it one step at a time, pointing to their work as they do this. If at ANY point the listener isn't sure they understand what they're saying, they stop and ask their partner, "Can you explain that again?" I've also taught them that as listeners they can repeat what they're partner is saying and ask if that's correct. 

Once the person sharing is done, the listener then starts at the beginning and repeats what their partner did, stopping frequently to ask their partner if that is correct. IT TAKES TIME. It really does. HOWEVER, I've found that my students are learning SO much from one another! The way they're solving problems demonstrates a deep understanding of the content!
These two little girls were sharing how they solved a problem where they had to add FOUR two-digit numbers. 
I was so excited to just listen to the two little girls in the picture above share how they added the numbers. They were truly engaged in conversation about the math! Now that the conversation is flowing naturally, I can walk around and hear my students saying/asking things like: 
"So you added ____?"
"Is that right?"
"Can you explain that again?"
"Why did you ____?" 

It's awesome! I created this little "Spin & Share" activity to use as I was teaching my kiddos how to have math conversations.

I've decided to share with you my Spin & Share with adding 2-digit numbers. It's part of my Spin & Roll 2-3 Digit Addition pack. Just click on the picture to go to the download!
If you'd like the Standards for Mathematical Practice posters, you can find them in my store HERE.

Even if you aren't doing 2-digit addition, you can still have these math conversations! You'd be amazed how much your little friends can learn from giving them time to truly TALK!

See you all next month!

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