Texts on Tuesdays!

It’s time for another “Texts on Tuesdays”, and today I can’t wait to let you in on a FANTASTIC resource.  If you are interested in learning more about how to have high quality, rigorous discussions in your math class, this might be the ticket!  Today I want to talk a little about section 1.

Section one of this text focuses on the first two chapter of the book–“Academically Productive Talk: An Overview” and “”How Do We Begin?  Classroom Norms for Productive Talk”.  Although reading about and incorporating math talk in my classroom isn’t new, this text DID find ways to present information in ways that got me thinking!
I was particularly interested in the section that talked about clearly defining roles in classroom discussions–that sharing ideas, listening to others, responding to others…all are productive ways to be engaged in the class and must be EXPLICITLY TAUGHT.  I know I am going to do this more thoroughly this fall; I think I have made too many assumptions about what my fourth graders can do instinctively.  I think students sometimes fail to realize that the “listening” piece is just as much a part of participation as the talking piece–and that responding to and interacting with others is an integral part of learning math.
This section also discussions the different ways that students can become more engaged by using the different “talk moves” such as “Say More” and “Press for Reasoning”.  These are all going to be explored in greater detail later in the text, but this section gives an overview of what they are and the role they play.  I also love that the book stresses that when you are teaching students to have better discourse, start by doing it with “accessible” math–that way their brains can learn how to do the math talk without getting bogged down with frustrating math. One thing at a time!
Another really nifty element of this text (and one that would make this a great text for a team to use and study) is the DVD that comes along with video clips of real teachers in real classrooms demonstrating these things!  I’m not going to lie–I did have a little trouble at first figuring out how the clips are organized, but they are nice classroom samples of how these different ideas can be implemented.
The final part of the first section addresses establishing norms and a culture of respect and participation; everyone is expected to be a part of this math discourse and every one is expected to be able to do so safely.  The book gives great suggestions as to what students’ expectations should be–and what they can expect in return. It keeps it simple…goal 1 is to have respectful discourse.  Goal 2 is to have equitable participation.  The authors give tons of suggestions on how to get these two goals established in your classroom.  Great stuff!  I’ll post again in a few weeks about another chunk of the book for those of you who are interested.  
I DID create a little freebie that I am going to use to start the year to really get a sense for what my new students think about math.  I want to get a feeling for their attitudes and beliefs and to see how they feel about participation and their own skills before we get started.  Feel free to use if you like!  Just click below to grab it.
Don’t forget also about the great “Good Questions for Math Teaching” book study still going on!  Today is Miss Math Dork’s turn to post and you can get there by clicking on the logo below.
Interested in looking at the book?  Here’s a link…it’s a little pricey, but it is a really valuable resource!
I hope everyone tunes back in tomorrow for Math In Real Life!  I can’t wait to see what some of my bloggy friends are writing about this month!
Finally!  It’s JULY so watch for my new summer sale deal!  Here are the details…read carefully!  Remember–this is for purchases in July only, not for purchases already made!