Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Building Mathematical Comprehension {Chapter 4}

Welcome back to this excellent book study hosted by A Teacher Mom!  I am seriously loving working my way through this book.  I can't help but think as I read each chapter that I should have made these connections myself.  Since I didn't, I'm so thankful that I am participating in this book study.  I truly believe that this book is making me look at the core dynamics of mathematical understanding.  I also think I could summarize, add my own thoughts, and try to explain so many points of this book to you.....but we would be here all day.  Buy the book and read it yourself.  It is seriously GREAT!

This chapter focused on increasing mathematical understanding by asking questions.  Once again, we often teach and discuss asking questions in reading but Sammons brings this strategy into mathematics.  I have two daughters who are three and six.  They both ask questions NONSTOP.  While sometimes it drives me bonkers, I love their inquisitive nature.  I love their desire to know who, what, when, where, how, and why things occur.  And by things, I mean like all things on God's green Earth.  Haha!  As a fifth grade teacher, I can't help but wonder what happens to this inquisitive nature as these precious kids get older?  Sammons writes about the image that some students in upper grade levels need to maintain.  Many students think that if they ask questions, they are showing a lack of understanding.  It is our job (and a personal goal of mine) to change this in our classrooms next year.  Are you with me?! :)

So why should we have our students ask questions?  Sammons shared out a very interesting point that I hope I can convey appropriately to my students.  She recalls that "questions inspired the development of the mathematical principals they are learning." Without someone wondering or following their own curiosity, mathematics as a whole wouldn't be where it is today.  Let's help shift their thinking.  I want to teach them that asking questions isn't wrong and rather a great ability to formulate great questions!

Sammons talks about many different types of questions.  My favorite type that Sammons shares are "Thick and Thin Questions."  I plan to begin using this terminology in my own classroom next year.  I really love the difference and can't wait to help my students go from making simple "thin" questions and support them while they make "thick" questions!

Sammons also discusses various ways to spark questions in your classroom.  In order to keep this post from being completely overwhelming, I'm going to share a separate post with her strategies for generating questions.  Be on the lookout for a post tomorrow with a couple of freebies!!! :)

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