Discourse is the mathematical communication that occurs in a classroom. The discourse in the mathematics classroom gives students opportunities to share ideas and clarify understandings, construct convincing arguments regarding why and how things work, develop a language for expressing mathematical ideas, and learn to see things from other perspectives (NCTM 1991, 2000).
Students who learn to articulate and justify their own mathematical ideas, reason through their own and others’ mathematical explanations, and provide a rationale for their answers develop a deep understanding that is critical to their future success in mathematics and related fields.
Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics (NCTM 1991), identifies communication with discourse as a key component, as one of the six standards for teaching mathematics.
Whether your math classroom is online or face-to-face implementing Flipgrid in your math classroom can help you to provide important opportunities for students to learn what mathematics is and how other students do it.
There are three ways that you can use Flipgrid to create a culture of discourse in your mathematics classroom.
Turn and Talk
Traditionally, Turn and Talk has been done face-to-face with a shoulder partner. This can also be done with Flipgrid. Instead of having the students use a shoulder partner. You can ask them to turn and talk to their Flipgrid shoulder partner.
The Flipgrid shoulder partner is the person either to the right or to the left of them in the grid. You’re probably asking yourself, ”What about the two students on the end?” Well, these students would be considered Flipgrid shoulder partners either to the right or to the left. If you folded the grid the ends would meet and where they meet those students would turn and talk to one another.
Virtual Gallery Walk
The Flipgrid Virtual Gallery Walk is similar to a traditional gallery walk. In a traditional gallery walk teachers put the students into groups of four or five students to walk around the classroom to provide written feedback on their classmates’ work.
Flipgrid gallery walks are a little different. Students can either be given the option to choose another student’s grid to provide video of feedback or the teacher can assign grids to students.
In the student’s video next to the green message bubble you can see that two students have provided video feedback to this student. Gallery walks are fun and engaging for students; if you choose to do a virtual gallery walk you have to make sure that the expectations for peer to peer feedback are clear.
The last but probably the most important way that Flipgrid can help you to create math discourse in your classroom is through an open sharing activity.
An open sharing activity is when the students take a concept or skill and explain their thinking. For example, my students were struggling converting fractions greater than one whole to a mixed number.
After reteaching this skill, I decided to give the students seven halves as the stimuli for their Flipgrid activity. For this Open Share, the students had to first write down the steps for converting seven halves to a mixed number. Writing down their steps first helped my students to logically sequence the steps first and use their script to explain the steps in their Flipgrid video.
One powerful aspect of the open share is when the students are given the opportunity to compare how they explained and solved their problem versus another student. This was my goal for my students but we didn’t quite make it there yet.
When implemented correctly in your math classroom Flipgrid can create a classroom culture that embraces mathematical discourse. If you’re not using Flipgrid give it a try today!