A. O. Fradkin used her students as manipulatives in a game of addends:
The classic mistake was for kids to forget to count themselves. Then I would ask them, “How many kids are not hiding under the blanket?” When they would say the number of kids they saw, I’d follow up with, “So you’re hiding under the blanket?” And then they’d laugh.
Cathy Yenca put students to work once they finished their Desmos card sorts:
From here, it becomes a beautiful blur. Students continue to earn “expert” status and become “up for hire”, popping out of their seats to help a bud. At one point today, every struggling student had a proud one-on-one expert tutor, and I just stood there, scrolling through the teacher dashboard, with a silly grin on my face.
I’d love to know how we could employ experts without exacerbating status anxieties. Ideas?
Laurie Hailer offers a useful indicator of successful group work:
It looks like the past six weeks of having students sit in groups and emphasizing that they work together is possibly paying off. Today, instead of hearing, “I have a question,” I heard, “We have a question.”
David Sladkey switches from asking for questions to requiring questions:
My students were working independently on a few problem when I set the ground rules. I told my students that I was going to require them to ask a question when I was walking around to each person. I also said that if they did not have a math question, they could ask any other (appropriate) question that they liked. One way or another, they would have to ask me a question. It was amazing.
I also have kids sign up to be an expert during group work, indicating that they’re open to taking questions from other students. Sometimes, after a really good small group conference, I’ll ask a student to sign up to be an expert.