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Math Exchanges: Guiding Young Mathematicians in Small Group Meetingsby Kassia Omohundro Wedekind
Synopses & Reviews
Traditionally, small-group math instruction has been used as a format for reaching children who struggle to understand. Math coach Kassia Omohundro Wedekind uses small-group instruction as the centerpiece of her math workshop approach, engaging all students in rigorous math exchanges. The key characteristics of these mathematical conversations are that they are: 1) short, focused sessions that bring all mathematical minds together, 2) responsive to the needs of the specific group of mathematicians, and 3) designed for meaningful, guided reflection.
As in reading and writing workshop, students in Kassia's math workshop are becoming self-directed and independent while participating in a classroom community of learners. Through the math exchanges, students focus on number sense and the big ideas of mathematics. Teachers guide the conversations with small groups of students, mediating talk and thinking as students share problem-solving strategies, discuss how math works, and move toward more effective and efficient approaches and greater mathematical understanding.
Although grounded in theory and research, Math Exchanges is written for practicing teachers and answers such questions as the following: How can I use a math workshop approach and follow a certain textbook or set of standards?How should I form small groups? and How often should I meet with small groups?What should I focus on in small groups?How can I tell if my groups are making progress?What do small-group math exchanges look like, sound like, and feel like?
Book News Annotation:
Wedekind, an elementary math coach, describes an original approach to short, small-group instruction sessions where all students' interests and contributions are valued. In the workshops described here, K-3 students actively construct their understanding of a particular topic and come together in small groups to share ideas. One key to using the method is an understanding of different problem types and children's successful and not-so-successful problem-solving strategies for each type. Full of ideas for planning, the book offers many examples of activities and workshop sessions, illustrated with vignettes, classroom photos, examples of children's work, and summary tables. Appendices offer teacher planning tools such as monthly and weekly charts and record keeping tools. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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