Friday, October 24, 2014

visible thinking: think puzzle explore

This week in Math class I introduced a new Visible Thinking routine, the Think Puzzle Explore
It was perfect and I felt SO energized afterward!

When we first starting talking, the kids, knowing that "Math" was on the schedule and hearing that "visible thinking" was a big part of the day's plan (like that's any different from any of the learning we show in class?), asked plainly, "How are we going to do Visible Thinking in Math?!" 
To which I could only reply, "Don't we do that everyday in Math? Isn't a big part of what we do in addressing problems and tasks to explain our thinking, put the processes our brains go through on the page for others to see and understand?"
A resounding: Ah. Yes, Mrs. Phillips.

Our big topic right now is multiplication, and we're really just starting out, with kids at very different levels. 
The routine looks like this:
Think: What do you think you know about the topic/idea?
Puzzle: What are you confused about? What are your puzzles, wonderings, or questions about [multiplication]?
Explore: How can you explore this further?

The kids got cozy around the room and spent a good 30 minutes (after the settling in that comes with the week-before-a-much-needed-holiday) just thinking on the Think and writing down their prior knowledge and understandings.

We gathered then, to discuss what the kids think they know. I typed out their responses as we went to make the thinking actually visible.

Next, the kids got cozy again to address their puzzles. 
Again, gathering to discuss with documentation. 
So now, on our "math board," we have a class set of thoughts and a class set of puzzles. 

In our room this was the perfect way to get kids interested in a personal math inquiry - particularly in a topic with which they are beginning to feel comfortable (thank you, grade 2 teachers!), but are still scared to delve totally in to (I need to know all the facts fluently up to 10?!).
We are exploring everything from the different strategies we can use to solve multiplication equations to the invention of multiplication to the various ways to practice personal facts fluency.
After our October break (off to Boracay with baby and in-laws!) we'll do some exploring and sharing of our new learning.

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