At the beginning of a new math topic, during the exploration, and again at the end I like to have class discussions to check in on our learning and progress. We just gather at the class whiteboard and I will pose a question, give my learners a chance to think about it, discuss it, and then present their thinking. I record our ideas. Here some examples from our recent fraction learning:

1. I set up the chart and ask them to fill it out. We talked about patterns.

2. Here is another chart I set up (How many ways can we make a 1/2?), and we filled it out together.

A student asked how many can we come up with? And we limited it to a denominator no greater than 100. We had a lot of fun, and then we talked about how we knew we had them all. We discovered that the denominator had to be even, in order to have it be a 1/2.

3. Here is just a “brain dump” where we listed all the things we learned about fractions.

After we have these discussions, learners take time to respond individually in their math journal and we also add information into our math dictionary.