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Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Water Cooler Why are kids afraid to think? Reply To: Why are kids afraid to think?

  • George Garza

    May 31, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    You are right on the money when you identify classroom culture as being the key.  Kids need to know that their ideas are valuable, that they can have unique ideas, and that they will not lose face for making mistakes.  Also, the teacher needs to teach them HOW to participate in class wide and small group discussions.  What should they be thinking about?  What types of things are you wanting them to say?  How do they participate?  What happens if they are wrong?  etc… These are things they need to be taught.  It’s for this reason that Peter Liljedal recommends that the tasks you use during the first week of school should not be focused on the curriculum, but rather on setting and practicing the norms and routines for the group discussions.

    You mention that most kids want the answer and that’s it.  That’s because they believe that’s all that math is.  I’ve been thinking that tasks where the math is not clearly evident are tasks to help set this culture.  For example, the Which One Doesn’t Belong, Would You Rather or even Estimation 180.  There’s more too, but these can be used to kick off a conversation.  They are safe in that generally there are no “right” answers, so it would just be a matter of students giving, and backing, their opinions.  This is great training for what you want them to do for a “proper” math discusion.  Even as a substitute teacher, I’ve used Which One Doesn’t Belong and gotten a class conversation going.

    Looking foreward to the Fall!