Wednesday, May 17, 2017

More Thinking Aloud in Math

The Thinker, Bronze, Sculpture, Rodin  Today I"m looking at ways teachers can model thinking aloud in the math classroom.  I know I don't know how to do this because its not something I was trained to do in my teacher training program.

I don't even think about what I'm doing because I've done it so long, I can do it.  I don't know how to do it or how to model it for students.  This is what today is about.  Modeling it for your students so they understand what you mean.

I found this lovely little pdf from a place in Texas which gives some great ideas for modeling including preparing to model and specific ideas for modeling in math.  The 15 page downloadable document begins with steps to prepare to model using a passage from the text book.

It supplies two and a half pages filled with general strategies and specific sample prompts some of which can be applied to math with minor adjustments.  Then it discusses what to do after the think aloud lesson and includes some questions to ask students.

This finishes out with ideas for applying think aloud to specific content areas including math.  I love it shows ways to use think alouds to the textbook.  Furthermore, it includes ideas for scaffolding vocabulary definitions, pronunciation, etc.

This site is focused specifically on math. It suggests the teacher provide clear explanations for solving problems which include your thinking such as how you decided each step.  Students need to know you are interested in how they got the answer rather than focusing on the correct answer only.  Ask questions on their thinking rather than on the process so they have a chance to explain their thoughts.

Another suggestions is to give students strategies and models which include prompts to help them think aloud.  This document provides examples of prompts.  In addition, it is suggested students jot down notes as they use models and diagrams to visualize their thinking.  Encourage students to share their thinking when they get the correct answer, the correct answer with the wrong reasons, or incorrect.  Students learn well from each other so sharing their thinking under all circumstances helps them learn better.

The final suggestion is to provide ongoing formative assessment.  Often this would be having one student explain their thinking to another while the teacher concentrates on the content and carefully chooses the best way to respond based on their knowledge of the student.

Don't worry, I'll be back to revisit this topic as I find more interesting information.  I hope you get some good info out of this.  Have a good day.