Maximizing Math Conferences

I hope everyone is having a great summer!  If you’re like me, thoughts are starting to swirl around in your head for the next school year.  (We go back early – 8/13.)  Today I would like to share a great book I read this summer about math conferences.  I like how I’ve done my conferences in the past, but I know they should be better.  With that said, let’s get to it!

Maximizing Math Conferences
The book is called Conferring with Young Mathematicians at Work, and it is awesome!  The book covers general topics such as comparing writing conferences to math conferences as well as specific topics like conferring to develop an understanding of fractions.  
At the end of each chapter, there is a QR code, so you can see the concepts put into action.  For example, after reading the section on what to do when students are stuck, I watched this video.  The combination of reading and watching helped bring the concepts to life, and I immediately found actionable steps I could take to improve my own conferences.
An awesome mentor text for math conferences - includes links to videos with conferences in action
Key Points
While I read the book, I took notes of ideas, things I was doing right, and steps I could take to improve my math conferences.  Here are a few of the key points I plan to keep in mind for next year.
*Focus my talk on questioning over just getting students to the correct answer.
*Make sure conference questions are open-ended.
*Enrich by having students go beyond showing their work and have them defend their answers.
*Challenge students to justify each step in the process.
*Continue to compliment students on their thinking.
*Focus on the next step (no matter where students are currently).
*Use a continuum.
*Use quotes from mathematicians to encourage students to try “juicy problems”.  Hard=Fun!
*Continue to reinforce a growth mindset.
***My plan for future posts is to go more in depth with how I plan to implement some of the key points from my reading.  I will share any related resources with you as I create them.
Thank you!
Teaching blogger for elementary teachers

Mary Wingert, licensed educator (K-12 Special Ed. & 1-8 General Ed)

I started teaching in 1993.   I have taught special education, fifth grade, and fourth grade.  I moved to second grade in 2015, and I am still there today.  

I believe in teaching strategies that are effective, differentiated, and engaging. I am looking forward to building a community of teachers who feels the same!  Read more here.