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Hear from teachers: Key takeaways and ideas from Dr. Jeff Zwiers' Webinar

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We recently offered a webinar hosted by renowned education expert, Dr. Jeff Zwiers, focused on how to Improve Quality of Student Talk in Math Classrooms. In this webinar, Dr. Zwiers dove into the key strategies outlined in his whitepaper, A Model for Improving the Quality of Student Talk in Mathematics Classrooms. 

Attendees learned to foster an environment where students are encouraged to build their own ideas and engage each other in mathematical dialogue. We are highlighting two strategies below along with the ideas shared in the chat from live webinar attendees.

Building up an idea

One method that Dr. Zwiers shares to improve student-student talk is building up an idea (in this case, a mathematical concept or claim). Students can build up an idea by clarifying terms (i.e what do you mean by…?, how…?), justifying the idea (Can you give an example of…?, why…?), and filling information gaps.

During our conversation, the educator attendees shared a wealth of examples of single sentence ideas they would like students to “build up” in their math classrooms.

Some ideas were around foundational concepts in geometry:

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Other ideas related to algebraic claims:

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And some were just core ideas to math:

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Connection to real-world motivates language

Dr. Zwiers also shared that in tandem with idea building, it is important to have something to build toward in order to share the learning in a more tangible way. With “Projects, Performances, Products,” the four elements of this demonstration of learning are that it is relevant/real world applicable, requires thinking and idea building or decision making, motivates language use and learning, and communicates the idea-decision to an interested audience.

Live webinar attendees had rich contributions when brainstorming Ideas for products, projects, and performances to demonstrate math learnings. 

Some involved designing or building models:

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Others tasked students to apply their math learning to a planning or critical thinking challenge: 

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Finally more suggestions focused on demonstrations that were specific to the student or school:

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We loved getting to facilitate such a rich learning experience between Dr. Zwiers and all of our live attendees, building out each others’ resource banks in order to better support our multilingual learners. 

If you have an idea to add, leave it below, and sign up here to make sure you don’t miss our next webinar!