Thursday, 18 October 2018

Using 'because'

PROBLEM: My kids struggle to explain and justify their thinking and reasoning in maths.
WONDERING: How can I develop the mathematical dialogic discourse ability of my children?

As mentioned in a prior post I'm not seeing the progress I was expecting to see at this stage of the year.  Discussing my frustrations with Dr Aaron Wilson he assured me that inquiries which involve a culture and behavioural change are often slow going and can take a long time to see change. So that was reassuring.

The main frustration I have is that my kids struggle to use vocabulary that effectively explains and justifies their thinking. They will to some degree explain and justify their thinking using their own vocabulary however, the person trying to understand their thinking is often having to infer meaning and join the dots.

Among other unused vocabulary and phrases the most common unused word in helping to explain and justify is the word 'because'. Despite having introduced it earlier this year as part of the waka paddle prompts and insisting the children use it while explaining their maths problems the word 'because' is not yet common place in the classroom.

To combat this I'm going to introduce some activities/games where the kids have to use the word 'because' in order to successfully participate/complete the activity. My hope is that by using the word more frequently and highlighting it in a fun way prior to a maths session the children will transfer the use of 'because' to their mathematical explanations and justifications. I'll keep you updated.