Modelling and Language

I was modelling a math lesson the other day and the teacher who was observing took notes of everything I said. She typed it up and sent it back to me. I found it fascinating to see my own words reflected back to me. Great reflection. I highly recommend it.

  • I want you to show me eight circles (also demonstrate self)
  • Vocalised how each person did it… rows, lines, groups
  • If you were going to erase two, which two would you erase? Don't do it yet… just show me which ones you will erase.
  • Ok now Erase.
  • What made you do it that way? What made you choose those circles to erase?
  • Was their an easier way to do that?
  • Can you now draw ‘12’ crosses for me.
  • Mine is organised like… how did you organise yours?
  • Can you organise yours a bit more easily?
  • How can you arrange 12 crosses differently?
  • How many do we have here? 12. I'd like you to write 12 here.
  • All students write the number 12.
  • Then I'm going to write this little sign here -. 12 -.
  • What does this sign mean?
  • Now tell me how you're going to erase 5. Which 5 will you take away? Tell me first.
  • Now do it. Now how many are left?
  • Write on your own board 12-5=7
  • What does this sign mean? “=”
  • Talk and discuss the shape of the crosses that are left… oh, Jesse, I see you have 3 in 2 rows. Haru, you have 2 in 5 rows etc
  • Now we are going to do something a little harder…
  • Please draw 13 triangles. Keep it organised, so it's easy to see the number of triangles.
  • Verbalise. What have you got rosa? 4/4/4/1, Jesse 4/5/4, 6/6/1 etc
  • Let's write the number 13. Notice a child making it back to front, number, erase and say, oh sorry I erased your work, can you do it again? If repeats, use little dots to show shapes.
  • If I ask you to erase 4 of 13, show me which will be the easiest to erase… the easiest way to erase 4.
  • Ok erase them now. How many have you got left?
  • How do we write that? 13-4=9.
  • Before I was asking you to do subtraction on the white board. Now I want you to do that in your head. Can you see 9 circles in your head. Organise them in the easiest way. Can you take away 4 of them? Tell me what you have.
  • Ok, now let's use our fingers. Show me 8. Show me how to take away 2. There are 2 ways to take away two. Show me another way.


  1. Those are really good and specific questions Craig! Many of them are concept questions too. Which grade did you take this Math class?


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