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ERIC Number: EJ859518
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-1326-0286
Time for Talk: The Drawing-Telling Process
Smith, Tracey; MacDonald, Amy
Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, v14 n3 p21-26 2009
When children start school, they bring with them a variety of background skills and informal knowledge that can enrich their learning of new concepts and ideas. A major tenet of many learning theories is that the more children are able to connect a new concept with their existing knowledge and understandings, the more they feel confident and able to engage actively in a new task. Such informal understandings can provide rich information for teachers but only if, and when, students have the opportunity to show what they know. Currently, there are a number of useful programs across educational sectors that assist teachers to identify children's mathematical ability as they enter their first year of school. Although the information gained from these early assessments is undeniably valuable, their focused nature means that they may not allow students to demonstrate the richness of their background knowledge. Also imperative for a balanced approach are forms of open-ended assessment that complement existing assessment processes by revealing additional information that may not be gained in a diagnostic interview. In classrooms, teachers are continually making decisions about students' knowledge and understanding of mathematical concepts in order to plan relevant and meaningful learning activities. It makes sense for teachers to give students opportunities to show what they know in multiple ways. To do this effectively, teachers need to develop strategies for tapping into the ways in which their students are making meaning. This requires students to be able to represent their internal understanding in external ways. Eliciting students' drawings or work samples is one established way of representing internal understanding externally. However, current work related to multiliteracies emphasises the importance of giving students a variety of opportunities for making meaning using multi-modal methods. When a teacher begins a new topic in mathematics, for example, he or she is aware that the extent of students' prior knowledge will vary greatly depending on their social and cultural backgrounds. As a consequence, it seems important that teachers do not limit the ways in which students can represent what they know. In this article, the authors discuss how open-ended tasks can complement existing methods for identifying students' prior mathematical understanding. They describe how a combination of drawing and telling can help teachers better to discern and respond to students' developing understandings of clocks. (Contains 4 figures.)
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia