January's Online Discussion: Discourse in Math Classes
We are planning for this month's online conversation. We're posting some of the process on the wiki to capture the process, provide an example of how the online setting can be used, get feedback from the participants in the project. We just think we have to start providing models for people. We know it is a good modality, but we don't feel like we are fostering effective change without providing people opportunities to see it in action. Let us know what you think.

Back to the Online Conversation-

Topic: Importance of having students speak to each other about the mathematics they are experiencing in the online course

Essential Questions:
How do we get students speaking to each other about math?
How do we incorporate those strategies into the virtual setting or computer labs?
How do we capture those conversations/hold students accountable during those conversations?
How are you (teachers) encouraging 'inquiry' about the mathematics?
What questions do you ask that foster inquiry/higher ordered thinking?
How do you create a safe environment for students to discuss their thinking out loud?

Ideas:
  • Hello and getting started (5 minutes)
  • Reference the NCTM Standards on Communication (5 minutes)
    • The Council's Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000) states that communication should be nurtured and that math instruction should enable all students to:
      - Organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking through communication.
      - Communicate their mathematical thinking coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others.
      - Analyze and evaluate the mathematical thinking and strategies of others.
      - Use the language of mathematics to express mathematical ideas precisely.
  • Project Standards for observation- (10 minutes)
    • Read the instructional standards with focus on the instructional standards and on-line student interaction standards
      • The mathematical literacy standards which include discourse, use of multiple strategies to solve problems
      • Having students doing something as a result of the time in the lab other than just doing a set of problems
      • Using these conversations to help develop routines that enable their students to make connections between what they do in the lab and the rest of the class other than just review previously taught materia
      • The “Engage with colleagues in periodic analysis of student work to determine and design next instructional steps”
        • We will collect some samples of student work when we are in the buildings to share in February or March’s online conversations to foster analysis of student work and to create higher level learning opportunities
    • On-line student standards:
      • Attends to different learning styles by choosing appropriate strategies,
      • Accessing other resources to engage, extend, enhance student learning
    • Teachers investigate/decide what look-fors they want feedback on during our visits.
  • Discussion of articles from Mathematics Teacher, small group & whole group. (15 minutes)
    • What is a new insight you garnered from the reading?
    • What is one thing that connects with, or makes sense to you, regarding best practices that are standards for the Algebra I Hybrid Study?
    • What strategies do you currently use to encourage student dialogue?
    • How do we create opportunities for students to have mathematical conversations about the content from the computer/virtual environment
  • Create a list of different strategies that are currently in use in classrooms to encourage student dialogue (5-7 minutes)
  • Concerns/comments/requests

PowerPoint for January Conversation: January 2009 PP.ppt

Articles from Mathematics Teacher, December 2007 Issue, as well as ASCD & NCTM:

Never Say Anything a Student Can Say: NEVER SAY ANYTHING A STUDENT CAN SAY.pdf

Asking Questions that Count- Asking Questions that Count.doc
Great set of easy to follow steps that help start thinking about how to ask better questions, very example oriented!