Sunday, 10 December 2017

Peer Teaching: Multiplying Decimals

The Power of Peer-Teaching

We have been inquiring into multiplication strategies and analysing which are more effective than others.

We are now at a point where we continue to add wonderings to our wonder wall about how we could apply those strategies to decimal numbers.

So, today we combined our wonderings of multiplying decimals with visualising what we are doing when we multiply them.

We had groups of 4 and we began using the 'chalk talk' visible thinking routine. In this routine, a large paper is placed in the centre of the group. Each member writes their ideas, wonderings and understandings on the paper at the same time. It is a silent discussion. The members are encouraged to read what others have written and respond by helping them understand, ask a question for clarification or to add on their idea etc.  It is a powerful strategy that ensures each child has an equal amount of 'talk time'; it also allows each child to have an opportunity to collect their thoughts and think how to best communicate their understandings.

To tune into our learning today, we did a 'chalk talk' about decimals. Sample below: 

After our chalk talk, as a class we shared some ideas that emerged. We could only share what someone in our group had shared. We use that strategy a lot especially with 'talk and turn'. I like to think that if the children are encouraged to only share the ideas of others, then they start to listen more intently to their partners. Some very interesting discussions about decimals emerged and we added some more wonderings to our wonder wall to investigate later.

I then posed the question:

How is visualising numbers helpful?

Turn and talk.

The children shared some of their understandings with their partner and then we discussed as a whole class some things our partners told us that we thought were interesting.

From these routines, we had already tuned into what our learning will involve today:

1. Decimal numbers

2. Why we should value visualising numbers.

We often peer teach in our class and we constantly reflect on our peer teaching so we are now at a point collectively where we understand how peer teaching is helpful to our own learning and we are using much more effective and creative strategies when we do it. 

I explained how we are going to inquire into different ways we can visualise multiplying decimals. 

Each group member was to watch a YouTube that explains a different strategy for multiplying decimals.  It was their responsibility to understand the strategy well because their group members will be depending upon them. This sense of responsibility to others instantly engages the children. 

I showed the steps on the data screen that we would follow:

Inquiring Into How To Multiply Decimals

Step 1: Watch and learn

Step 2: Prepare: How will you teach the strategy?
What could you do to engage your group?
Be creative in your approach.

Step 3: Practise teaching the strategy by yourself.
Reflect on what you could do to improve.

Step 4: Teach your group the strategy

Step 5: Ask for feedback from each group member on how well you taught
the strategy.
Each group member will use the '2 and 1' feedback routine:

           ° Two things you did well
           ° One thing you should focus more upon next time you peer
              peer teach

Partner A
Partner B
Partner C
Partner D

Base 10 materials

Hundred grids

Hundred grids

Only whiteboard

From the beginning and throughout, every child was completely engaged in their learning. Lots of creative ideas emerged and lots of reflecting happened as they thought about effective ways to teach their group members.

Samples of what the peer teaching looked like:

Listening to the '2 and 1' feedback the children were providing to each other about their effectiveness in teaching was formative to me, but more importantly informative to the children who will be able to expand upon that in future peer-teaching activities.

We grouped together at the end for an oral reflection.

I asked:   What do we think or feel about our learning today?

All the children felt proud in what they had achieved. A lot commented on how they deepened their understandings of what decimals are or what happens to decimal numbers when we multiply them. Others remarked on how they could evaluate the effectiveness of some of the strategies compared to others. Everyone agreed that visualising was very helpful to understand what we are doing when we multiply decimals. A few commented on how they learnt more creative ways to peer teach.

Finally, all the children agreed that they really enjoyed the learning and that is always key to effective learning and mores to help children develop their passion for mathematical thinking.

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