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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Welcome to #mtgr2


Like many educators, I have found the importance of having math talk in my classroom. It increases my student's reasoning and understanding of mathematical practices. The more we practice the more they are able to justify their strategies and choices in solving problems. This type of talk engages them and brings depth to math instruction. I had always had discussion time in literacy, yet it was missing in math. It was a necessary addition, and I immediately saw its value.

Last year I began making this more a part of my daily instruction. Students would share their "math talk" in small groups, whole class and even sometimes with a partner in a center or inquiry assignment with a partner. I saw great value in this practice. They learned from one another and developed their strategies by listening to their peers. It was a worthy practice to make time for.

However, it became even better when we were invited to take this process to another level. Leka Degroot, a first grade teacher, invited us to join her class and others in collaborative math talk via twitter. I write more about that here.  It was a welcome addition. The students now had more of an audience for their own thinking, but also were exposed to many other strategies from the many students involved. The learning and experience was outstanding.

Leka is going to do this again for first grade students. You can read all about that here on her blog..  I will be taking my learning from this experience and doing it with 2nd grade students. I will follow Leka's plan and post a math prompt on Sunday evenings. I will begin posting these on Sunday, August 17th. You can join in at any time. My prompts will be very much like Leka's: open ended, many of them photos. I will focus on 2nd grade skills, visiting and revisiting skills throughout the year.

In my classroom I follow a procedure very much like Leka described in her post. In the beginning, I will model and do the tweeting. As they begin to understand how, they will tweet it out after approval from me. I do accept and allow wrong answers to be posted, it is an important part of discussions we will have in our classroom, and I hope you use in yours.

So, are you ready to join in and enjoy some math talks with us? Here are the steps that I "borrowed" from Leka.

  1. Every Sunday night starting August 16th, I will Tweet an open-ended math problem of the week. Please follow me at @firstatbat
  2. Please retweet to share the question with your PLN.
  3. Your students will share their thinking during the following week Monday through Friday. Make sure their Tweets include the hashtag #mtgr2 so that everyone in the #mtgr2 community can view your students' responses.
  4. I encourage you to visit Tweets from other classes to discuss different ways to solve a problem or view math.
  5. Respond or leave a comment to other classes' ideas. 
  6. Follow classes that are participating to build your students' learning community.

Though there is no need to sign up,  I'd like for us all to see who is taking part in this collaborative effort. Please go here and leave your name and location. 

Don't forget to sign up with my friend Leka if you are a first grade teacher!

Here is another opportunity for a collaborative twitter discussion about your school, community and geography if interested.