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Courtney Boettger December 12, 2013 MIAA 320 Molly Johnson Reflection on Demonstration of Advance Practice After taking

MIAA 320 on Mathematic Discourse, I can confidently say that I have a new passion for creating conversation in my classroom. I found myself getting the best discourse in all grade levels by first prompting a big picture question. Often, that big question had the students exploring different math concepts and diving right into the problem. After the big question stumped some of the students, the most amazing questions of discourse came out of the students mouths. When the students got talking, the questions kept flying out, often times, better questions than I could think to ask! In my showcase of discourse in K-3 my students were given the problem to create a snowman with circles of specific radii. The students had never used a compass nor did they know the word radius. To begin, I prompted the essential question but then gave them time to explore. My essential question was What is the relationship between the size of the circle and the size of the compass? After exploring students wondered/discussed: What is the distance around the circle? Across? The distance across is double the size of compass If we make the compass the length of the given radius, will our circle be the correct size? How can we make the compass the right size?

My snowman doesnt connect, what should I do differently?

In my showcase of discourse in 4-7 my students were given the essential question of: Based on what you know about geometry, how would you describe drawing a basic house? My students dove right in and started drawing houses and discussing terms. Through conversation, many students remember key terms just as parallel lines and points. They asked: What is it called when lines make a 90 degree angle? What is a corner? What if I drew windows and a door?

Finally, without prompting, students started pointing out concepts around the room. In my showcase of discourse in Algebra 1, I worked one-on-one with a student after school. My student was given the essential question of: What happens to a variable in an equation and how can we undo those actions. Since it was an individual I was working with, I found it hard to get much discourse to naturally happen. She did wonder What order do I undo operations in? and What is the inverse operation and how do we know this? Despite great discourse and questioning, I do think a huge component of getting discourse is having interesting and interactive lessons. For example, I doubt that the 3rd graders would have had any interest in radius without them constructing their own snowman. Problems with multiple routes and more than one answer helps create deeper understanding because the discourse conversation can go more in depth.

Going forward, I feel like I need to focus on changing my role to facilitating and guiding math discourse. I would like to work on finding and creating units of study with big, main idea questions that students will have to work through over a period of time to answer. From this big question, smaller questions and discourse will follow. Another key to having this model be a success is creating and maintain the safe environment for students to share and question one another. I truly feel that I am on the right track to discourse but understand that I still have a long way to go. It is a tricky but worthwhile path!