Resources and Tools for Elementary Math Specialists and Teachers

re: Convince Me

This discussion is part of a collection:Learning Math Through Problem Solving

Wendy Petti offers a strategy for handling incorrect responses from students. The strategy “Convince Me” (in the ML catalog) defers judgment, encourages sense-making, can lead to other avenues of inquiry, foster student “ownership” of mathematics, and be a helpful introduction to making a proof. Can you suggest other teaching approaches that foster some or all of these?


The resource Writing in Math Class is included in the Mathlanding catalog. It promotes student judgement and reasoning and gets students to express their ideas even when they are shy or unsure. Collecting these journals and providing feedback to students will build their confidence and build a relationship with your students that is often lacking in math classrooms.

In my classroom I have used the strategy "You be the Teacher". In this activity students are asked to lead a warm-up activity that reviews learning from the previous day's lesson. Students like it because they get to hear a peer explain something and sometimes it just sounds different coming from a peer than from a teacher. Its also good because we get a variety of solutions shown on some days and that helps the students to realize that sometimes there are many ways to arrive at the same answer.

Strategies to position students to talk and explain are great! I wrote an article for the CMC ComMuniCator that focuses on the need for more "student talk" in the classroom. It's cataloged here:
I totally agree with Uncle Bob's comment that "when you teach it, you understand it better yourself." In an Ignite! talk I did in early December I went one step further and quoting John Holt who once said, "The biggest enemy to learning is the talking teacher." Holt also said, "We learn to do something by doing it." It's my opinion that students need to exercise their mental, verbal, and written "voices" to be learning.


Great thoughts and contributions, Suzanne. For more resources that foster learning by doing, one might search the STEM category in the ML catalog.

Great idea, Beth. Many people say that when you teach it, you understand it better yourself. It also helps to set up that 'community of learners' that we hear about.