Sunday, October 30, 2011

Daily Assignment #88: Modeling Thinking Aloud

Modeling Thinking Aloud is a strategy a teacher would use to demonstrate effective strategies students might use when solving math problems, reading a difficult text, decoding a word, solving an analogy, what is needed for graduation, how to take a multiple choice test,or any other task.  The teacher verbalizes his/her  thinking as they work through a problem.

For example:    suppose during math class you'd like students to estimate the number of pencils in a school. Introduce the strategy by saying, "The strategy I am going to use today is estimation. We use it to . . . It is useful because . . . When we estimate, we . . ."
Next say, "I am going to think aloud as I estimate the number of pencils in our school. I want you to listen and jot down my ideas and actions." Then, think aloud as you perform the task.
Your think-aloud might go something like this:
"Hmmmmmm. So, let me start by estimating the number of students in the building. Let's see. There are 5 grades; first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, plus kindergarten. So, that makes 6 grades because 5 plus 1 equals 6. And there are 2 classes at each grade level, right? So, that makes 12 classes in all because 6 times 2 is 12. Okay, now I have to figure out how many students in all. Well, how many in this class? [Counts.] Fifteen, right? Okay, I'm going to assume that 15 is average. So, if there are 12 classes with 15 students in each class, that makes, let's see, if it were 10 classes it would be 150 because 10 times 15 is 150. Then 2 more classes would be 2 times 15, and 2 times 15 is 30, so I add 30 to 150 and get 180. So, there are about 180 students in the school. I also have to add 12 to 180 because the school has 12 teachers, and teachers use pencils, too. So that is 192 people with pencils."
Continue in this way.
When reading aloud, you can stop from time to time and orally complete sentences like these:
  • So far, I've learned...
  • This made me think of...
  • That didn't make sense.
  • I think ___ will happen next.
  • I reread that part because...
  • I was confused by...
  • I think the most important part was...
  • That is interesting because...
  • I wonder why...
  • I just thought of...

    At the end of the Think Aloud, process what you did with the students.  Ask, "What were the strategies I used?",  "What did they sound like?",  "What did they look like?"
    As the students respond chart the strategies.

    When it is time for the students to do the task on their own refer to the strategies on the chart. Encourage the students to verbalize their thinking as they do the steps in the task.

    I recommend writing a script for yourself.  In this way you will remember to include all the strategies you want the students to use.  Within the script include false starts and  confusions, it will be more like what the students might do when they are on their own. 

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