Stop, Look, Think and then Go! Teaching the CCSS Practices in Guided Math Groups
The Math CCSS practices are about teaching children how to stop and think before they start doing math problems. They work hand in hand with the content. They should be taught explicitly alongside with the content. You should make posters of the practices and talk about them as you teach the content. Dr. Phil Daro (one of the writers of the Math CCSS) talks about “delaying answer getting” so that students can learn the math. Dr. Bill McCallum tells the students “Don’t just do something, stand there” in the same spirit of getting them to THINK first! So, in all of our teaching, we have to get them to Stop, Look at the problem, Think about it and make a plan and then go for it! Do the math and be sure to explain their thinking! Also, we have to get them to check it in a different way than they solved it!
To do all of this, scaffolds work great. How are you scaffolding the thinking in your classroom? Do you have posters heralding these ideas. Do you give the students graphic organizers so they can show their thinking in a clear and orderly manner? How do you delay answer getting and get students to lay out a pathway. (The other day in one of my schools we actually drew out a pathway and drew pictures showing all the steps along the pathway to solving the problem…modeling it, writing an equation, explaining our thinking, checking a different way and writing the answer).