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How to get your kid talking about math

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
A lock growing out of a tree?

A lock growing out of a tree?

That’s what I found on the trunk of a holly tree in my neighborhood!!

Who did this and what does it mean? It is completely intriguing to me – a door lock that looks like it’s been grafted onto (or growing out of) this beautiful tree!

A lot of times, kids can feel that talking about math is like a door they just can’t open all the way.

Maybe they know some of the words, but really expressing what they understand or asking about what they don’t understand – that might feel like just a tiny sliver, like they can only open that door a crack.

I want to share a powerful question I use all the time to get kids to open up about talking about math.

This is especially helpful when you want your kid to explain something back to you to really check that they understand.

After spending some time working through problems together, I will ask, “How would you explain this to your best friend?”

A lot of the time that is all it takes to get them talking. Instead of worrying about not using the right “math words” or making a mistake, they’re able to connect to the feeling of just helping their best friend.

Occasionally, a student will be totally tongue-tied even with this question – and that’s OK. That usually just means they need to spend more time doing the concept together before trying to explain it to someone else.

Also, kids can even use this technique if they are completely by themselves. This can actually be a bridge towards encouraging students to talk themselves through problems more, like we talked about in my recent post about talking math out when you’re in doubt!

Do you want your kid to experience math as an intriguing, fun puzzle, instead of a monster in the closet? Is the pain of your kid’s math challenges actually causing you pain as their parent? Are you ready for high-level one-on-one support?

Email me at rebecca@zooktutoring.com, or give me a call at 617-888-0160, and we can set up a special appointment for us to have a complimentary hour-long call to get clear on what’s going on with your math situation and investigate if the way I work would make sense for you.

Checking out this mysterious holly tree that the lock "grew" out of

Checking out this mysterious holly tree that the lock “grew” out of

Related posts:
Is multi-sensory learning hard-wired into humanity?
When in doubt, talk it out
When a math problem just takes for-EV-ah
What to do when your kid makes a math mistake

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