Step 4 of the Practices in practice (Sherin and Smith, 2019):

Often in classrooms, the following happens:

A problem is assigned.

Students are given a certain amount of time to complete this problem.

The teacher brings the class back together.

The teacher asks for an answer and calls on a student.

The student called on is either a big participator in the class, a student the teacher knows has the right answer, or the student with the highest grade.

The student gives the answer, the teacher agrees or corrects them, some students agree with the answer, and class moves on.

At this point possibly one third or more of the students may have no idea how to arrive at the correct answer. They may have got stuck in the middle. They may have had a great idea for a strategy but did not have time to finish. They might have thought they had the right answer and now they don't understand why their answer is wrong. If any of these statements is true about a student in our class, we may have lost them for the rest of the class through frustration. Chances are this is not the first time this has happened to this student.

Step 4 of the Practices in practice, describes the process of sequencing student strategies and solutions to share in class so as to not lose students along the way. I have found that having students rewrite their strategy and solution on a piece of poster paper and then posting these as students describe their work, is the most helpful. A document camera can be used but it only allows you to share one solution at a time.

Sequencing student answers from concrete to abstract allows all students to be engaged and also to see a variety of strategies that they might try the next time. The student who struggles can see strategies that they can access and they can check their own strategy against the strategies presented.

In order, each student puts up their work, explains their strategy, and shares their solution. As the teacher, you have chosen correct solutions so that you are not dealing with discussions around whether answers are correct.

Sorry this is so long, but this particular step is very important to this entire process. If we want to engage ALL students, we need opportunities in class that all students can participate in.

Have a Great Day!!!

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