Ideas and strategies

Have students share with each other before sharing with the class—e.g., "think pair share" (lots)


Dot talks (Emily)


Number talks (Jake)


Error analysis (Sarah L. and others)


Students make their own quizzes (Dorcella)


Group quizzes: I am also trying a new thing this year... group quizzes (2-4 kids) work together on their quizzes. They staple them together at hand in and when I grade them I choose one of the quizzes to grade #1 and everyone gets that grade, choose one of the quizzes to grade #2 and everyone gets that one... I grade less papers and they are responsible for communicating with each other and making sure they are all understanding the material because suzy's grade depends on Johnny's understanding of it as well. (Jen)


start off with the problem solving at the very beginning of the year.  The students will fight it at first but then it will become the classroom norm (Sarah L.)


just trying to find those moments where you can let them explore a problem, rather than reinventing the entire methodology, can help move your classes towards problem solving. (Sarah P.)


vote with their feet - standing up and moving to one side or the other, depending on if they agree (Sarah P.)


Choose students to share and give them a heads up: students start talking in small groups. Walk around and listen and then front load the shier more hesitant kids. For example, "Sarah, I like what you are saying. I'm going to have you share that with the rest of the class in two minutes." (Sarah L.)


Have multiple students go to the board at once: I find that if they have to put up a problem by themselves they are hesitant but when I have three or four go up at once then it helps with nervousness. (Sarah L.)


I am giving them about 10 minutes of lecture per day (5 minutes introduction and 5 minutes conclusion), and the rest of the class is for activities. (Ricela)


Once a student has found a method (any method), I make them the resident expert. (Bill)


Being realistic: I only need to change 10% of what I did the year before.  This has helped me not get so overwhelmed by all the things I should be doing. (Sarah L.)


Start the year with problem solving: I try to start with problems that I think students will find very interesting (not necessarily related to the exact content we will cover in that class) so that they get a chance early to see what problem solving and math can really look like. (Phoebe)


Physical environment: The physical environment of my classroom also encourages students to share ideas and work together. I have five groups of six students who work together on pretty much everything we do in class.  (Emily)


Changing seats: I change seats at least every two weeks! I don't let kids choose where they want to sit but I do assign seats randomly, hoping that all kids will get the opportunity to be next to each other. To change seats I hand each student a card as they walk in my room and whatever number card they get is where they sit. (Emily)


Greeting Students: I ALWAYS say hi to every student as they walk in my room and usually do some dumb handshake or high five or elbow tap or something. I feel like that simple little contact at the beginning of class goes a long way. They know I know they are here I care about them. That alone, I think, makes them all the more comfortable to speak up and communicate with their peers during class. (Emily)


Honoring Thinking: I've been stressing this since day 1 of school. It's a rule of mine that we always honor each others thinking. Meaning that if someone else shares an idea or thought we all respect it, ask questions if we don't understand, we never laugh at an idea or thought, and we encourage each other to share thoughts. (Emily)


Only answer questions with other questions, so that I don't give them too much information (Sarah P.)


Use a timer and adjust time as needed (Bill)


Sometimes I only give assignments that involve "explain" questions, so that they can't try to skip those (Sarah P.)



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