At the Math Forum we’re just starting to work with a videographer at Drexel to help us capture some of the practices we use with students learning to be better problem solvers and communicators. Recently Mr. Reo and his fifth grade students welcomed us into their classroom. Wooden Legs was the Problem of the Week that I introduced to his students. In preparing for the session I had these goals in mind:

* use the Scenario as a “story”
* start with a read aloud (with no visuals either projected or on student handsouts)
* ask students “What did you hear?”
* as students respond, try my hardest not to REPEAT their words

Those were the initial goals that I think the video clip linked here may demonstrate. I had other goals as the lesson unfolded but I’ll save those if/when I have other video clips to share.

You’ll notice that I said “… starting to work …” and one thing we discovered is that the audio of the students’ voices is not up to our standards. We have plans to tape again, however, for this discussion — trying to show what it might look like if a teacher doesn’t repeat students’ responses — I think the fact that you can’t quite make out what each student is saying, is “okay” (not great but not dreadful). And, you’ll notice there are some subtitles to help with the audio of the students.

Why do I think this is an important goal?

As I mentioned in another blog entry I’ve thought a lot lately about how our students are to develop the CCSS Mathematical Practices. If students are to “Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.” we need to help them own their own learning. When the teacher repeats the student’s response and/or restates the student’s response, the focus is back to the teacher and relieves the student of holding on and owning those thoughts.

Here’s the video clip:

Wooden Legs Video 1: What Did They Hear?

What do you notice?
What do you wonder?
Do you see any slip-ups from me?
When you have whole class sessions like this, do you find yourself repeating what students respond?
Have you tried not to repeat? If, yes, how was it different? Did it change any of your classroom dynamics?