Earlier this year I stumbled across something called Math Talk. It is a component of a math program but is designed to help students discuss with students expressing their thinking, processes, and methodologies. It was posted as a blog entry at scholastic.com.
I like this article because it provides more ways of having students do whole or small group interactions and they learn that there is usually more than one way to find the answer to a problem.
The author provides 5 steps for implementing Math Talk. The first step is to model and ask open ended questions. Open ended questions are excellent because it shows students that not everyone comes up with the answer in the same way. She even includes posters for 4 questions to elicit further information from students.
The second step is to provide visual cues which she does through the use of a chart. The third and fourth steps are to provide whole and small group interactions and includes ways to do both.
The last step is to have them practice, practice, practice. She includes a math talk action plan and even discusses the types of problems that work best for this type of activity.
Although the author of this article works with third graders, I can see using it with my high schoolers who often talk about "the thing", or "you know" or something similar to express themselves. So this is something else I plan to implement in my room to help students improve their mathematical understanding. Please go give it a read and enjoy.