Get kids talking, explaining and deepening their understandings with this partner coaching structure. Check out Word Problem Showdown for more details about why this matters and works.
Partner Coaching: Thanks to some teachers at my school (Morgan, looking at you!) I was re-introduced to Partner Coaching. This idea was developed by the Math Collective in NYC…visit them here: www.mathcollective.org. You can read more about partner coaching and how to break it down on their website (including resources for partner discussion and prompting), but I’ll share my takeaways and the nuanced differences between the Showdown and Coaching.
In Showdown, one goal is having a final solution to build stamina (to finish) as well as showing your thinking in clear, logical ways. In Partner Coaching, students DO NOT need to “finish” for this to be successful, although we want them to be confident going into their final round when they are coaching. It’s stamina building, not not only for finishing, mainly for persevering. Additionally I found that the more challenging the problem, the better. So skip ahead to the word problems at the end of your unit to have them thinking deeper even before you “get to it” in your lessons.
- Basically I split the class into Coach A group and Coach B group. Both groups had the same problems, but for one they had to become the expert in order to coach their rookie. We discussed how a coach never plays for his/her players, so it’s not about telling, but asking questions and pushing students to clarify and explain their ideas. For the first part, they sit at coach tables (all students working on the same problem) and work independently. They may struggle, and that’s okay. Teachers should confer to help students as needed. Then students share their thinking with their coach group to compare and rethink their approach.
- Then the whole class stops, flips their papers and works on the rookie problem. They will almost definitely not finish this one. But make sure they have time to do something that they can discuss with their coach.
- PUT ME IN COACH! Now they meet up with their rookie. The rookie always talks first (this is where the prompts will come in handy) and the coach asks questions to push the discussion and thinking forward.
- During part 1, students definitely struggled to solve–it was great to see so many students trying this and trying that. In part 2 and part 3 there were so many AHA moments between students! It was awesome! I hope you try one or both of these out today!