I'm linking up with Misty at Think, Wonder, & Teach for her fabulous book study. If you haven't checked it out yet, be sure to visit her because she's already offering some great resources to support the book (whereas mine are still works in progress!).
This chapter walks through some of the nuts and bolts of setting up number talks, and it describes how to manage some of the procedures and expectations. One of the sections that really resonated with me in this chapter was about building accountability with the students. So often, there are a few students who are eager to share their mathematical thinking, and there are many others who are willing to sit back and let those students shine. I don't like pulling sticks with students' names for something like this, but I also don't want students to feel like they don't need to participate. This book offered some great strategies for dealing with that:
1. Once all of the strategies have been shared, number them and have students show with fingers which one they found to be the most efficient strategy. This will get them thinking about the math involved.
2. Keep records of the problems posed and strategies used, and label them with the students' names. I plan to use my iPad to track this. I've talked before about setting up student data notebooks on Evernote, and I think that would be the perfect platform to track student participation. I can photograph students' work and add anecdotal records about what I observe. It would also be easy to share with parents at parent-teacher conferences.
3. Hold small group number talks throughout the week. As I prepare to transition into more of a math workshop/guided math approach, this seems like a very viable option.
4. Create and post anchor charts of the different strategies that students are using. The book names a variety of strategies, or you could develop names with your students. Having the charts available to reference could scaffold the less confident students.
5. Use exit cards. The authors recommend giving each student a notecard. On one side, students should record their solution, and on the other side, they should record a strategy that another student shared that they liked.
6. Give a weekly computation assessment of 5-10 problems. The selected problems should reinforce the concepts and strategies introduced throughout the week. I can also imagine using an app like Show Me or Explain Everything to assess. These are whiteboard apps that allow students to record audio on top of their drawing. Students could record their solutions and narrate them as if they're presenting them to the class. This would be another important artifact that could be saved in the student's Evernote portfolio to share with parents or an RTI committee. If it's only one problem, most students would be able to complete the task on the app in 5-10 minutes as the video they'd be creating should be less than a minute long.
I think these accountability measures could be effective in getting students to participate more. Of course, the classroom environment will matter, too, and I look forward to setting those factors in place for my Number Talks this fall.
In other news, I'm excited to share that I'll be participating in Sabra's book study of Word Nerds at Teaching with a Touch of Twang. Word Nerds explores strategies for teaching vocabulary to students, and it's another fantastic resource. It's published by Stenhouse, and you can preview the entire book online or you can purchase the book in Paperbook or Kindle edition.
Also, have you joined in the Teacher Toolbox Trio Linky Celebration yet?