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In the Moment

Conferring in the Elementary Math Classroom

Talking to students about their work, while they work, is a powerful way of supporting learning. 

In the Moment offers research-based guidance for conferring with your students in math, supported with online videos showing math conferences in action. Jen Munson explains how, in just a few minutes, a math conference provides opportunities for supporting productive struggle, helping students grow their ideas, and differentiating instruction.

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Full Description

Conferring in math supports students' learning

How do we support all students’ mathematical sense-making and move their thinking forward in the midst of problem solving?

Talking to students about their work, while they work, is a powerful way of supporting learning. We often engage in these conversations with our readers and writers, and these interactions are just as needed in mathematics. What does it look like to talk with students about their mathematical thinking so that their thinking grows?

Practical, research-based guidance for getting started

In the Moment offers research-based guidance for conferring with your students in math. Jen Munson explains how, in just a few minutes, a math conference provides opportunities for supporting productive struggle, helping students grow their ideas, and differentiating instruction.

You’ll learn about:

  • the process of conferring: eliciting, interpreting, and nudging
  • creating the conditions for conferring in your classroom
  • responding to your students’ thinking in the moment of a conference
  • addressing unique challenges teachers face when conferring in math
  • using conferring as formative assessment.
Enhanced with online videos showing real math conferences and teacher reflections, this comprehensive, student-centered approach to conferring helps you step into your students’ mathematical lives to support their learning, communication, and participation. It provides the guidance and support needed to get started with conferring and see it become a crucial part of your teaching.

Contents

Foreword by Jo Boaler: The Most Important Moments

Introduction

  • Conferring Here, There, and Everywhere
  • How to Use This Book

Chapter 1 - What Is a Math Conference

  • What is a Math Conference?
  • The Conferring Process
  • Common Questions
  • Reflecting on Your Own Practice

Chapter 2 - Setting the Stage: Creating the Conditions for Conferring

  • Choosing Rich Tasks
  • Setting Norms
  • Common Questions
  • Reflecting on Your Own Practice

Chapter 3 - Eliciting and Interpreting: What Are They Doing?

  • Stance
  • Eliciting and Interpreting Student Thinking
  • Common Questions
  • Reflection on Your Own Practice

Chapter 4 - Nudging: Growing Student Thinking in the Moment

  • What Is a Nudge?
  • Deciding How to Respond: Five Types of Nudges
  • Moves That Support Nudging: What Do I Say?
  • What Nudges Sound Like: Five Vignettes
  • Common Questions
  • Reflecting on Your Own Practice

Chapter 5 - Common Challenges

  • Three Signs a Conference Needs a New Direction
  • How to Get Back on Track
  • Common Questions
  • Reflecting on Your Own Practice

Chapter 6 - Using Conferring as Formative Assessment

  • Four Ways to Use Conferring to Inform Instruction
  • Keeping Records
  • Common Questions
  • Reflecting on Your Own Practice

Chapter 7 - Learning to Confer

  • Structures for Learning to Confer
  • Who You Can Learn With: Working Alone or Together
  • Resources for Learning
  • Common Questions
  • Reflecting on Your Own Practice
  • Closing Thoughts

Appendix: Sample Conferring Notes Template

Samples

Reviews

"So much of what is important in classrooms happens inside interactions between teachers and students. This book is all about those moments, and because of this it is a rare treasure."

—Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University, co-founder of youcubed.org, and author of Mathematical Mindsets

"Jen Munson’s In the Moment is a brilliant book about conferring with student mathematicians—and a brilliant book about conferring in general, too!"

—Carl Anderson, author of A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Conferences and How’s It Going?

"In the Moment celebrates the power of listening to our students talk about mathematics. If you are looking for tips to get started with conferring in math or guidance to refine and expand your skills, look no further than this book."

—Susan O’Connell, lead author of Math in Practice and Director of Quality Teacher Development

"Throughout In the Moment: Conferring in the Elementary Math Classroom, Jen Munson invites us to explore an underappreciated, yet critical part of classroom instruction in which teachers and students learn together in the moment. She celebrates students' mathematical thinking and puts forth the insightful idea that a stance of curiosity is the key for teachers to be able to access and grow students' thinking."

—Vicki Jacobs, Yopp Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Education, UNC Greensboro