Are you looking for a new and engaging way to get students talking about math? Do you want an easy way to assess their reasoning and critical thinking skills?
In a “text talk” assignment, students will work in partners or small groups to complete a set of questions about one word problem. They must work together to discuss possible strategies and solutions. The catch? They must do it all WITHOUT TALKING! Anything they need to say to each other MUST be written down.
Text talk activities are really great for encouraging students to communicate and collaborate with each other. Because they can’t really interrupt each other, they tend to slow down, think more, and listen to each other better. It also forces them to really think about the reasons behind the processes, as well as the important math vocabulary. If you use different colored pens as I would suggest, you can be sure that each partner is participating and contributing to the conversation. Having to write everything down also makes them think about the most concise and efficient ways to explain themselves – they don’t want to write more than they have to! You can instantly differentiate these assignments by providing more or less assistance and choosing different partner groups.
How do I assess their work?
There are several ways to assess text talks. Personally, I tend to use them as more of a formative assessment, as they allow me to easily see in which areas the students are still struggling, and which areas they have mastered. I can also assess their understanding of the math vocabulary and have insight into their problem solving skills. I don’t usually take a number grade. However, you could definitely grade them for accuracy and/or effort, by using the provided rubric.
This product features five “text talk” word problems for students to complete, all centered around finding rectilinear area and perimeter.
They are very similar in difficulty, and would best be used in a third, fourth, or fifth classroom.
Tips / Suggestions:
♦ I like to have the students use different colored pens – this lets you easily see what each student has written.
♦ There is a good amount of white space for students to write on each page, but a lot of my students prefer to do the work on the sheet and answer the questions on lined paper.
♦ I generally circulate around the room while my students are working. If they have a question for me, they still need to write it down. I reply to them in writing as well!
♦ Don’t have time for a full text talk activity? These would also work well as independent practice.
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♦ Number Sense and Place Value Task Cards
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