Thursday, July 2, 2015

Intentional Talk Book Study-Chapter 2 "Open Strategy Sharing"

This summer I am participating in the Summer Book Study on Twitter hosted by @BridgetDunbar

You can follow #intenttalk to see all the posts on Twitter about this book study.

I really enjoyed Chapter 2 "Open Strategy Sharing" and am looking forward to starting my school year off using this method to help us establish class norms for our mathematical discussions.  Students spend lots of time working in collaborative groups and having discussions in those small groups.  I want to create a classroom culture from Day that values the ideas and opinions of everyone.  I also want them to take risks and not be afraid of making mistakes.  It's important that each student feels comfortable contributing their thoughts and ideas.  I want my classroom to be a safe space for that. 

Twitter Questions:
Question 1:  Do you make an effort to know what strategies students have used before sharing in discussion? How do you do it?  I do try and make an effort to look at the strategies used so I can highlight different strategies when solving a problem.  I also like to try and scaffold the strategies when possible so we start out with the basic conceptual understanding and build to a more abstract solution (that may involves an algorithm).  This requires me to move about the room listening in on student thinking.

Question 2:  Do you ask students to summarize or rephrase other students' ideas?  How do you do it? How do students receive it? I do have students summarize other students's ideas.  Often when students give a correct answer, yet struggle to explain their thinking, another student will jump in to help try and clarify what the student means.  If a student struggles to articulate their thinking a peer will often try and clarify.  Students generally receive this well.

Question 3:  What is an example of a problem you would use for an "Open Strategy Sharing" discussion? Why would you choose it?    I'm really trying to think of a good problem to use at the beginning of the year when we start our first chapter on Ratio and Proportional Relationships.  I would like to use Open Strategy Sharing right away in order to establish our norms for classroom discussions.

Question 4:  Norm: "Agree and disagree with mathematical ideas, not with each other." How can teachers make this happen?  I think it's starts from Day 1 when you are establishing a culture of collaboration and mutual respect in your classroom.  Students need to feel safe and realize it's OK to make mistakes and take risks when sharing ideas.  Also it's important to build student confidence so they don't automatically think they have the wrong answer because they got something different than another student.  Students need to focus on the math when having a mathematical argument and not make comments about the person they disagree with.

Question 5:  How do you respond to an incorrect strategy during an open strategy sharing discussion? Why?  I prefer to ask other students if they agree or disagree with the strategy shared.  I actually love when students share wrong strategies because it's a great way to discuss misconceptions.  It's important for me not to jump in and save them when they are struggling because they need to develop the habits of saving themselves and I can facilitate that through the Talk Moves.


  1. Sherrie,

    Thanks for sharing this! Last year I started having my students work in collaborative groups. Of course I wanted my students to value their peer's insights and strategies as much as mine, but it didn't always happen. Does this book go over some method for getting kids to really value one another's thoughts-because me preaching it this year didn't work for each class!

    1. Hi Nikki,
      The book focuses more an different discussion strategies. I think it's really setting expectations and modeling those norms. I know every once in awhile I need to revisit our norms with my students.


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