So in our journey of trying to get the kids to communicate their thinking in mathematics, we turned to the use of video in our classrooms to really learn about what works and what doesn’t. So when we got together with our elementary partners and teachers, we did some co-planning, co-teaching, and we videotaped all those sessions. And it was really nice to go back and watch the video to see exactly what worked. So, you know, when we came out of a session, we always said, “Well, that was kind of good, or that was kind of bad,” but it wasn’t until we watched the video back we could see those exact talk-moves in place, and the teachers could look at it and say, “Yeah, yeah, you see how I said that, and look at how the communication of the kid improved.” We also learned how to get the kids to talk better in groups. We saw a video of them—the first attempts at group work—and they were, you know, distracted and off-task and things like that, and they weren’t even listening to, you know, their chairs weren’t in the right direction; they weren’t listening to the people speaking at the top of the class. Of course there’s not a lot of communication happening—they’re not even paying attention; they’re not listening. So we learned from that video, and then we learned better strategies to do that in the classroom. And then, you know, we had our success—was at the end of the year—we went back into that classroom and videotaped the same students performing a similar task, and the kids got right down to it; they worked well together. And seeing that video, seeing that on video really gave us the confidence of what we’re doing is working, and that’s something that, you know, that we really, really enjoyed. We did it in our elementary classerooms too, so we got to learn—you know, hours of video of these kids doing mathematics—and so we got to learn the strengths of what they were able to do, and so when they came into our high school classroom, you know, we could use that video evidence to really support all the work that we’re doing. And it’s been a really interesting part of the whole journey that we’ve been on, and getting the kids to talk more in math, communicate their thinking, and we’re seeing this year that it’s resulting in improved achievement, which is something we’re really proud of.
Return to School Story