Using Study Team Strategies that Support Students in Making Sense of the Math.
Do you know students who give up in the first few minutes of a math lesson or a challenging problem and refuse to engage for the rest of the class period? The good news is there are several strategies that you can use to help prevent this type of behavior.
Before employing any of the following strategies, make sure that your students know that new problems seldom make sense to anyone right away; and that making sense of a problem is the first necessary and important step in any problem solving or learning process. Explain to them that some students may do this sense-making in their heads. When this happens, it may seem to others that there was no thinking or sense-making involved. It appears that it took no effort at all for the student to arrive at the conclusion they share. It is tempting to think, “Oh well, he/she is just so smart and good at math - and I am not - so why even try.” It is also difficult for students who mentally make sense of a problem to be asked to go back and to articulate their thinking so that the sense-making is transparent to all.
Using strategies such as Think-Ink-Pair-Share or Teammates Consult slows down the sense-making process so that students have individual time for thinking and sense-making and then time to make that thinking visible to each other. Using one of these strategies each and every day for the first problem of the lesson can invite all students into the making sense process. Using a reading strategy such as a Three Read or the ones found herecan also be helpful.