By: Kristin Hunter-Thomson
Inside is different than outside
While a statement of the obvious, we often forget to teach our students to apply that to their thinking with data.
Research shows that we process and understand information better when we actually say it out loud and hear it, rather than just saying it to ourselves inside our heads. This is why Turn & Talk is such a great teaching technique, and why we often say “the best way to learn something is to teach it.”
Saying our conclusions out loud first
The Teaching Channel, Success at the Core, and Chris Blea a science teacher from Sylvester Middle School put together a great video of what it looks like in the classroom. Check it out!
As you are watching think about:
- When in the process are the students talking out loud through their thought process?
- How are the students talking through their conclusions before writing them down?
- What guiding questions and support is Ms. Blea providing to the students to help them talk about their data analysis (rather than analyzing it for them)?
[The video can also be accessed here.]
What can we take from this?
There are many things that you may have noticed in that great video. But let’s focus on the students and talking out their conclusions from the data.
Ms. Beal focused the original conversation regarding their data to be around key aspects of making sense of the data. Then she walked around to facilitate their learning through conversations. She also asks them to literally read questions from the datasheet out loud, this helps all the students hear the question and think about their answers.
For the students: As they talked with one another, and Ms. Beal, their conclusions and understanding of the data evolved.
For the teacher: She is able to hear how more of the students are where they are at in their understanding of the data.
Put talking to your advantage in your classrooms, and help your students make more sense of the data!