Resources and Tools for Elementary Math Specialists and Teachers
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CCSS Practice Standard 3

What should we consider first?

Practice Standard 3 requires students to “construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.” Teachers need to model and set parameters for healthy and productive classroom discussions. Often this skill is not taught thoroughly, if at all, because of time constraints or behavior management issues. When students learn to defend their thinking and critique the reasoning of peers from a young age, they are more likely to maintain and improve this behavior in later years.

How will these resources help?

Student discourse may look different in each classroom, and may require teachers to implement “discussion rules” and model tone and questioning practices that are appropriate for their own situations. The videos demonstrate lessons during which students explain their reasoning and reflect upon solutions of their peers. The articles describe classroom experiences in which students engage in constructing arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others. They include suggestions for how to increase student discourse, encourage students to construct viable arguments, and assist students as they learn to critique the reasoning of others. The resources also provide strategies for prompting students to defend an answer, define a concept, or create a rule.

The importance of discourse

Valuable student discourse requires children to think about problems in a variety of ways and to defend their solutions against the critique of their peers. Student discourse promotes a higher level of thinking than merely stating answers or answering knowledge-based questions. Students can arrive at a “correct answer” but still not understand the concept; by defending their answer they may deepen their own understanding and demonstrate that understanding to the teacher. This process may enable classmates to gain a better understanding of the concept, confirmation of their own thinking, or an appreciation of other ways to arrive at the same answer.

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Created:02-25-2013 by Mrs. V
Last Post:03-03-2013 by Uncle Bob
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Created:02-18-2013 by Suzanne Alejandre
Last Post:02-18-2013 by bethb
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Created:02-06-2013 by bethb
Last Post:02-08-2013 by bethb

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