Maths talk is more than simply describing the steps when solving a problem (“First, add the ones, then the tens. If you need to regroup, do that.”). Maths discussions are focused on the process of working towards a solution, understanding how others’ think about that process, and developing a plan for similar problems. Students should be pushed to think beyond an explanation of steps to an explanation of process, including making errors and how those were resolved. They should also be encouraged to use different methods and tools when solving a problem, then sharing these ideas with others to build a bank of strategies. How can engaging in maths talk be done successfully?
Maths questions and story problems have the unique reputation of being the focus of many memes on how confusing they can be (Question: If you have 3 pencils and 6 oranges, how many clowns will fit in a car? Answer: Blue because ducks quack.). Now imagine a teacher repeating, reviewing, and restating terms and solution steps so that students finally understand. A scheduled one-hour lesson can easily take half a day! Now imagine that scenario in a virtual classroom. (I can already hear the crying…from teachers, students, and parents!) Thankfully, G Suite for Education has tools that can support Maths teaching and learning, while making the experience engaging, interactive, and successful.