I read her blog post a while back and it kept niggling at me that I needed to do this. I already try to get students up to the vertical non-permanent surfaces (white boards posted all over the room) each day, but I wanted to make sure students were doing more talking to each other.
Sara's stand and talk strategy is great because students who normally wouldn't get together must get together (she has detailed strategies and directions for this. I mean it: go listen!).
After listening to Sara last night, I was convicted that I could do this, I just needed to find a prompt that would work for what we were studying. I thought it would take me a couple of days to come up with a prompt, but then it hit me.
My Algebra 1 kiddos are working on percent of increase and decrease. Yesterday they were doing a scavenger hunt, and student after student got stuck on the same type of problem. It was more complicated than a simple "do the subtraction, put the difference in the numerator, the original amount in the denominator, and solve for the percent."
In this type of problem, the percent was given, as was the new amount. They needed to find the original amount. And they couldn't. They were just grabbing numbers and plunking them will-nilly.
Today, once they were partnered, I told them I was giving them a prompt which they were to talk about with their partner for ONE minute. Both partners were to have an opportunity to say, notice, and/or ask questions to one another.
Here is the prompt:
As I wandered and listened (and it was hard not to laugh out loud when I began hearing arguments about gloobs and blarbs), it was interesting to hear them talk process rather than numbers.
If a partnership were really stuck, I would ask them "What are 3 things you notice? What else? What are you wondering about? What else?" (again, thanks to Annie Fetter and Sara VanDerWerf, two great Wonder Women) and then I would walk away (does anyone else find this REALLY hard to do?).
For other partnerships, I asked what quantities are you noticing? What relationships are you noticing? (thanks to Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta's Routines for Reasoning).
Most students ended up wandering to white boards and creating a percent proportion as they discussed what they would do first, then, next, after that, and finally.
We wrapped up by letting the proportions stay up and looking around at what people had written: agree/disagree? "Defend your position."
Finally, I put up a problem from yesterday. I asked them to consider the process they had just discovered and the work on the boards. Every. Student. Got. The. Answer. (and, yes, they included a unit of measure!)
My administrator walked through just before we did this. At first I was glad, since this was the first time doing something new. Then I was sad, because the kiddos did such a great job!