Classroom Discussions: Using Math Talk to Help Students Learn, Grades 1-6, offers a unique look into the significant role that classroom discussions can play in teaching mathematics in grades 1 through 6. It's not enough to have a math class filled with conversation-what matters is that the talk, skillfully guided by the teacher, results in deeper mathematical understanding for the students and clearer insight on the part of the teacher into what students comprehend and don't comprehend. This book, based on a four-year research project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, shows teachers how they can become skillful facilitators for making classroom discussions the heart of their mathematics teaching and the key to their students' learning.
Classroom Discussions is divided into four sections. The first section introduces five discussion strategies, or "moves," that help teachers achieve their instructional goals of strengthening students' mathematical thinking and learning. The second section, "What Do We Talk About?" addresses how talk is effective for developing concepts and building connections among mathematical ideas, including computation, problem solving, terminology, symbols, and more. The third section, "Implementing Talk in the Classroom," gives teachers a valuable outline for how to get started using talk in the classroom, how to plan lessons, and how to deal with the inevitable challenges that are bound to arise. Examples of classroom dialogues from actual teaching situations are included throughout each of the sections. Finally, the last section presents two extensive classroom discussions, providing further insights into how to use talk effectively. This is an exciting resource for all elementary teachers, preservice teachers, and math specialists.