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Number reasoning and problem solving are the topics in this “think aloud” lesson
8, 7, 6
Title – Math Think Alouds
By – Marcy Winograd
Primary Subject – Math
Secondary Subjects –
Grade Level – 6-8
Standards: Number Sense/Number Reasoning
Objective: Students will solve a problem by thinking aloud with a partner. Students will improve their problem solving and literacy skills by using key signal or transition words to prompt their thinking.
Anticipatory Set: What are some of the strategies you use to win a game? (after brainstorming) We’re going to develop a strategy for solving a math problem. It’s called the Think Aloud.
Materials Needed: pencil, paper, overhead projector, copies of the following Math Think Aloud Prompt Sheet.
Math Think Aloud Prompt Sheet:
1. The problem says …
2. What am I trying to solve? I am trying to figure out …
3. The important/essential information is …
4. What strategy will I use to solve the problem? The strategy I will use is …
5. I am going to think aloud each step of this strategy. (Helpful starting words; first; second; the order of operations is; in order to; third; next; I know that if I do _______, I must do ________; after this; then; finally; Does this answer make sense? Let me work backwards and see …; Does this answer make sense if I read the problem over again?
1) The teacher uses the Math Think Aloud Prompt Sheet to model his/her thought process while solving a problem on the overhead.
2) The teacher asks students what they noticed about his/her thought process and charts their responses.
3) The teacher passes out the Math Think Aloud Prompt sheet and engages students in adding starting sentences/phrases to the sheet.
4. The teacher and students do another problem together, using the overhead and student-augmented Math Think Aloud Prompt Sheet. The teacher engages students by asking questions and involving them in solving the problem.
5. Students take turns in pairs, role-playing the teacher and student thinking aloud the same problem, then a new problem.
6. Students debrief the process, sharing with the whole class how the Think Aloud helped them clarify their thoughts and solve the new problem.
Student Self-Assessment Rubric:
4- I used many of the words/phrases on the prompt sheet to think through the problem. My partner said
s/he could follow my thinking virtually all of the time because I broke down the problem step by step. I solved the problem.
3- I used some of the words/phrases on the prompt sheet to think through the problem. My partner said s/he could follow my thinking most of the time because I broke down most of the problem step by step. I was able to solve the problem.
2- I used few of the words/phrases on the prompt sheet to think through the problem. My partner said s/he
could only follow my thinking some of the time because I did not clearly break down the problem step by step. I may or may not have solved the problem.
1- I used few, if any, of the words/phrases on the prompt sheet to think through the problem. My partner said s/he could rarely follow my thinking because I did not clearly break down the problem step by step. I did not solve the problem.
Independent Practice: Students teach and practice the think aloud process with a family member. They write a reflective paragraph on the clarity of their thinking and teaching. Did they use the prompt sheet?
Did their family member understand how to solve the problem? Did thinking aloud help the student deeper his/her understanding of the problem?
E-Mail Marcy Winograd !