At Bullis, we have found that there is tremendous power for both teachers and students when we listen to students verbalizing their thoughts, hear how they are thinking through the process of solving problems, and give them the space to talk concepts out with their peers. As math teachers, we are continually improving our practice by tapping into current research. We have had many K-12 conversations based on the research of Stanford Professor Jo Boaler & YouCubed.
We have leveraged the accessibility of Flipgrid to create opportunities for our students to communicate their thinking. Students record themselves talking through their math solution or defending one of their mathematical ideas on videos they record.
Teachers are empowered to target individual needs by hearing how students are analyzing problems. When a student hands in a worksheet, teachers can see the series of steps the student followed, but not their approach or the justification for the process they chose. By asking students to instead record a solution, teachers can better target each learner’s needs by seeing which steps have been glossed over and how students are making connections to big-picture ideas. This approach emphasizes the importance of the solution process over just the final product or answer.
Using technology empowers Bullis students to use specific mathematical language with confidence and helps them remember key terms. When writing their reasons, a student’s practice time is limited; verbalizing their thinking means the words can “keep up” with the student’s ideas and allows for more practice! Additionally, students have a chance to take on the role of “teacher” in explaining their logic to their classmates. The power of this peer-to-peer teaching and learning is huge.