Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 38: Friday Night Recap

Trying to keep my blog current.  It seems I get caught up and the days just fly by.  When Friday rolls around I have the time and leisure to read and write blogs and twitter, but yet I am exhausted and drained.

This was a good week, math coach came in on Monday and she is always helpful, this time just confirming what I've been thinking.  Time to really switch over to the math workshop model.  I started the year off following the training I got over the summer on our new textbook series Math in Focus, but so far it seems like too much of direct instruction. After the dismal 1st test results I've decided to fully commit to workshop or at least more student problem solving.  So far this week I've been pleased with the way things are going.
Definitely need to blog more often about what is happening in my classroom daily.  Like I said by Friday, my brain is kinda mush.

One thing I can share today though is a new strategy I tried out called TAPPS, Think aloud, partner pair and share.  One student is the problem solver, the other is the listener.  The problem solver has to solve the problem aloud while the listener listens and writes it down.  It is the problem solvers job to make sure the listener understands the problem and how to get the solution.  Then the listener shares with the class or the teacher explaining the steps and answering any questions. If the listener notices a mistake they are not allowed to interrupt with "No! that not how you do it you have to do this..."  The only thing they can do is say things like "I don't understand why did you do that?"  Questions to make the problem solver really reason out why they are doing each step.
It worked great with my students.  A lot of them said they could solve the problem easily but had a hard time explaining it to their partner. That is what really sold me on this,  I am so happy that they are going to have a chance to practice communicating  about math!


  1. Our school calls that "Think, Pair, Share." My kids are awesome at the last part, mediocre with the second and abysmal with the first. It takes time to train them and I haven't committed enough to it to use it effectively.

  2. I really like the TAPPS idea and would like to try it in my Algebra 2 class. I think if I paired the kids and 'forced' them to explain things to one another, they could puzzle their way through some of the more complicated algebra together. Do you assign partners?

  3. We do a think, pair, share too, but I like to have students write something down. They don't write it down every single time, but when they do I'm giving them sentence starters. I hope I can eventually remove that scaffold and they can write their actual thoughts down without needing those sentence starters.

  4. I think its the same as "Think, Pair, Share" just my understanding with that was that they were both solving then sharing their own answers. With TAPPS they are working together on the problem, one solving the other listening, understanding and recording.
    Yes I did assign partners for this and I picked who would be the talker and who would be the listener although I made it look random. We only did two problems so they both got to do both roles.

  5. Thanks for writing about this. I haven't tried TAPPS but plan to do so. I've done something similar but quite different, called Mathlete. One student solves the problem but the other provides the "play by play" as if they were at a sportscaster. If you had triads, the third student provides "color commentary". It could be a paper/pencil activity or you could incorporate technology with screen capture software and kids record their work. It can energize a lesson, but kids could turn a 5 minute activity into 30 minutes with retakes, too much silliness, etc. Here's an example:

  6. I loved the Mathlete video! What an awesome idea! I will definitely try that as well. Thanks for sharing!!