Thinking Allowed: Helping Students Organize Out Loud to Solve Math Problems
When students verbalize what they know, it helps them to reflect upon and clarify the problem and focus on one step at a time
When students verbalize what they know, it helps them to reflect upon and clarify the problem and focus on one step at a time. “Thinking aloud” requires talking through the details, decisions, and the reasoning behind those decisions. Struggling students, in particular, can benefit from slowing down the process, because it gives them time to fully comprehend the problem. Technology can help create problems with natural stopping points that allow students to practice this “thinking aloud” strategy—that is, to experiment, consider, and then decide their next steps.
Finding and understanding patterns is crucial to mathematical thinking and problem solving. It is easier for students to understand patterns when they organize their information. Struggling students may find it helpful to organize information in a problem because it requires a student to think more deeply about each piece of information and how those pieces fit together. Technology can significantly enhance organizational tools and provide support to students.
More to Explore
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Resources on PowerUp
- View Tech Matters Blog Posts on Thinking Aloud
- View Tech Matters Blog Posts on Organizing
- Mathematics Think-Aloud
- Using Mathematics Think Aloud: A Field-Identified Teaching Strategy for English Language Learners with Disabilities
- Effects of self-explanation as a metacognitive strategy for solving mathematical word programs