Top Topics on Twitter: All About the Students

Here’s what your peers were most interested in on social media in the past month. These popular articles were all about the students.
December 2018, Volume 42, Issue 4

Here’s what your peers were most interested in on social media in the past month. These popular articles were all about the students: helping students respectfully disagree with each other, building a sense of play around math problems to encourage students to engage and collaborate, and supporting literacy in science classrooms.

Agree to disagree?

Teaching students to respectfully share differing opinions in early grades was a top topic on Twitter. In “Teaching Students to Disagree Productively,” Brittany R. Collins offered these four strategies to help students agree to disagree:

  1. Encourage students to listen without responding.
  2. Invite students to share another person’s point of view.
  3. Have students debate against instinct.
  4. Guide students to seek common ground.

Play With Your Math

Building a sense of play around math problems encourages students to engage and collaborate, says Harry O’Malley in the well-received “Turning Math Into a Game” article. He highlights a model for gamifying math, breaking it out into the following four phases:

1. Introduction. Students are grouped into competitive teams and introduced to materials that will be used in the game. They’re told two quantities to be measured and which one they’ll be responsible for guessing. He includes some possibilities: the number of knots in a string and the length of the string, the distance a light sensor is from a light source and the amount of light it is receiving, and the number of rotations a wheel has turned and the distance it has rolled.

2. Physical exploration. Students play multiple rounds of the game, trying to guess the value of one of the quantities when they know the value of the other. They then jot down their thoughts so they can share them with other students.

3. Student presentation. After students make their guesses for the last round, the teacher holds a student-led discussion about their insights and strategies. The best discussions, says O’Malley, are the ones that make connections between the intuitive methods and the formal methods.

4. Formal learning. The teacher gives students direct instruction on how to model the relationship using a predetermined method that applies to the course they’re teaching.

Supporting Literacy in Science Class

Literacy isn’t just for English classes. There are many ways to incorporate literacy strategies in science education, says Sarah Kesty in “Supporting Literacy in the Science Classroom.” She breaks out these strategies into three groups.

1. Rethink literacy. Ask students to think critically when reading science reports, challenge them to connect multiple sources of media and analyze their bias, and ask them to write or speak about science findings from a review of research or their own experience with an audience in mind.

2. Embed supports. This is a key method to support skill development without taking away content time, says Kesty, who recommends including multiple types of sources, embed writing supports, and annotate the prompts.

3. Readers below grade level. Some students can discuss science topics but struggle to access material they have to read. Kesty suggests having them engineer a text and use technology to expose students to texts.

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