Thursday, July 10, 2014

Guided Math Book Study- Chapter 7

This week's chapter focuses on one-on-one time with you and your kiddos. Conferring with your students is a wonderful opportunity to build build a partnership with them and learn about their math understanding and misconceptions.

Initially, my thoughts on this chapter were " yes, conferencing with your students is important- most teachers do this several times a week already." After reading the chapter, I think most of us are probably "conferencing on the run" with our students-- addressing the needs as they arise without preparation-- which isn't quite as purposeful or as productive as the types of conferences Laney Sammons describes in chapter 7. 

For conferencing to work, there's got to be a firm routine-- SOLID classroom management. If you're working briefly with students one-on-one the the majority of your students are working independently.  What classroom management techniques do you have in place to assist students with working independently?
Students need strategies in place to know what to do when they don't understand the directions or are unsure as to how to begin.

Chapter 7 gives some specific advice on how to structure a conference with students:

Research Student Understanding-
Observe the student working for a few moments. What are they trying to do as a mathematician? 

Decide what is needed-
Begin the conference with something positive you see. Stating the positive not only builds up self esteem, but also promotes a team effort between you and the child. Next, decide what next step you can teach to move the child forward and spend the last few moments working with the child on that specific skill. 

Teach to Student Needs:
While you're working with a child, use a teaching strategy that best fits the student's learning style and one that best addresses the skill. Many teachers use a combination of guided practice, demonstration, and explaining an example.  

Conferences should be quick, purposeful, and used to form your future instruction or small groups. As with all things we do in education, it is important to keep records of your quick conferences with students. 

I've created a record sheet that I'd like to share with you! Print one off for each child and place it in a binder. As you walk the room conferring with your students, jot down a few notes.
I like this document because each child has their own sheet in your binder. When it's time to meet with a principal or parent about a child, just pull the sheet and share as necessary.  This is a great way to highlight your individual work with each child and share  strengths and concerns. 

When we listen to students explain their thinking, we get a better sense of where they are mathematically. We begin to see what they understand and what misconceptions they have. By asking questions about their thinking and LISTENING, we are better able to pinpoint the next steps for them and scaffold the skill appropriately.

I think the number one thing that prevents us from conferring with our students on a regular basis is the lack of planning. If you're going to confer with students, even if it's only 2-3 minutes, you've got to plan for it. Set a goal for yourself, write it down in your plans and hold yourself accountable. That's just another reason I love the Student Conference Sheet I shared above, as it is written proof that I'm conferencing with my students. 

Thanks for reading! Next week we'll take a closer look at assessments. Have a wonderful week!

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  1. I want to thank you & all of the bloggers that donated to prize pkg 10 of your giveaway. Shopping at everyone's stores was Christmas in July for me. Thank you all & enjoy the rest of your summers! Doreen

  2. Thank you Doreen! I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself!! :)