STAND & TALKS. The best thing I ever did to get students talking to one another. By Sara Van Der Werf

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Welcome fellow Recovering Traditionalists to Episode 160: Tips for Getting Kids to Talk in Math Class.

Before we get into the episode, this week’s positivity comes from an email we received about the Virtual Math Summit.  On the day this episode gets released there’s only today and tomorrow to watch the replays from the summit.  So if you are registered don’t forget to go watch them. 

If you are interested in watching any of the past 8 years of summits, they are inside the Build Math Minds PD site.  You can become a member at 

During the summit there were actually a lot of ideas given by multiple presenters on how to get kids talking more in math class.  In fact, at the end of Day 1, one person posted this in the chat:

After the summit, I was doing some research about sentence stems and happened upon a blog post by one of my favorite Math-y people, Sara Van Der Werf. The post is about something she calls Stand & Talks and even though it’s from a few years ago, it is still so relevant.  I’ll link up the blog post on the show notes page which is so that you can read the whole thing for yourself…and she even linked up a webinar she did about Stand & Talks on that page.  

One of the most touted ideas that’s supposed to get kids talking in math class has been Think/Pair/Share or sometimes called Turn & Talk.  If you’ve ever done that in your classroom you know it doesn’t quite work the way it’s supposed to in theory.  So, Sara details out this one instructional move that just tweaks the Think/Pair/Share idea: 

Now, Sara might do this a bit differently now…maybe I can get her to do another session for a Virtual Math Summit…hint, hint, Sara…I know you are a busy lady but I do love learning from you!  So anyways…as with anything you learn, you need to take it in and think about how to apply it to your classroom and use it with your students.  I do love that it’s getting kids up and moving, which we’ve learned from Building Thinking Classrooms is a very important thing.

Go check out her blog post and if you’ve got time go watch the webinar she did on Stand & Talks as well.  Her website is

Until next week my Fellow Recovering Traditionalists, keep Building Math Minds.

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As you start off the school year, I want you to keep in mind what is really important as we're trying to teach mathematics to our students.