Our school has been reading and attending workshops on Making Thinking Visible. (You can purchase the book here). The text written by Ron Ritchart, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison contains strategies, or as they refer to them - routines, for getting students to show their thinking. When we know what and how the students are thinking about a topic, it helps us clarify misconceptions or expand on their current understanding.
Much of our work this year has centered around literacy. I decided to step outside of my comfort zone, and try one of the strategies outlined in the text called, "See, Think, Wonder" during math. I used this thinking routine as an opener for a math lesson on line plots.
This thinking routine involves projecting an image, then asking students to name what they see, what this makes them think, and anything they are now wondering. You can do this aloud as a whole class by writing down their thoughts on chart paper as shown below, or having students complete this routine independently. I chose to do this as a class because I wanted to see how the students thoughts would build off of each other. Pictured is the chart that contains the student thinking based on the line plot. Excuse the messy writing; I was trying to keep up with all of their thoughts!
It can be tricky for students to differentiate between what they see and think. I often paraphrase what they're saying with, "Oh, so what you're thinking is that..." Using this routine is a great way to introduce a new topic, and get students thinking about math conceptually. We want our students to be doing the thinking, after all!