Last year when I was teaching second grade, I believe I taught what would be considered a “typical” elementary classroom. I had 23 second grade students. Three of my students were identified with 504 plans for ADHD. One had an IEP for special education and three for speech and language services. Eight of my students were English Language Learners, one had an IQ in the low 80’s and 6 were reading beyond 3rd Grade level. Recently I came across the following quote in the book What Successful Math Teachers Do, Grades Pre-K- 5: Research Based Strategies for Standards-Based Classrooms by Edward S. Wall and Alfred Posamennier.
“Although a teacher may be tempted to have all children begin with the most efficient computational strategy, all children do not come into the classroom with the same skills and prior understanding. Children need opportunities to build on their own understandings and to publicly compare and contrast their strategies and those of their peers.”
The author was talking about this in regards to the teacher simply showing students strategies to solve problems rather then creating opportunities for students to construct their own strategies as they work towards solutions to problem solving tasks and then present their thinking to the class. I’ve used the idea expressed in this quote as the foundation for deciding which students I’d ask to share their thinking and in what order. (more…)