Session 1: Explore the Inquiry Topic & Reflect on Your Current Practice
Outside-of-class meeting | Time: 1 hour | Materials: Recent Student Journals (class set) and board photographs for several recent lessons
Mathematicians express and communicate their ideas using models, expressions, and diagrams. Journal writing can help students can help students build fluency with the language of mathematics and connections across different representations, capacities at the core of many of the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practices, including:
MP2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively. Writing in journals can help students move between abstract and concrete understandings of mathematics.
MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Students use journals to work out their own ideas and to support them in explaining their ideas to others. Journals help students understand each other’s ideas, providing written work to supplement verbal explanation.
Click on the image below for a close-up of the student journal.
1A: Reflect on Your Current Practice
- Review your students’ journals. Do students routinely write mathematical expressions to go with their work? Do students routinely use the models and diagrams important to their grade level?
- Jot it down. What do you currently do to support students to write mathematical expressions and models and to make connections across them?
1B: Learn about New Strategies
Here are some strategies that you might try in order to support your students’ use of models, diagrams, and expressions:
- “Mind-reading”—Guess your classmate’s mathematical expression from looking at their diagram, counting method, or explanation). Guess your classmate’s solution method (how they counted, their drawing, etc.) from from reading their mathematical expression.
- Highlight journal entries that use the expressions, diagrams, etc. that you want the class to use, by featuring these to introduce the next day’s lesson.