1st Edition

Adding Talk To The Equation A Self-Study Guide for Teachers and Coaches on Improving Math Discussions

By Lucy West Copyright 2018

    For more than 20 years, Lucy West has been studying mathematical classroom discourse. She believes that teachers need to understand what their students are thinking as they grapple with rich mathematical tasks and that the best way to do so is through talking and listening. In this video-rich edition of Adding Talk to the Equation: Discussions and Discovery in Mathematics, she invites teachers into real-life classrooms where all students stay in the game, stay motivated about learning, and ultimately deepen their understanding.

    Designed for math teachers and coaches in grades 18, this self-study guide showcases elementary and middle school classrooms where teachers inspire even the most reluctant students to share their ideas. Through the stories of skilled teachers, West offers play-by-play commentary as they get more comfortable with new talk moves and learn to tune in and respond to students' math conversations. Although these discussions occur in math class, the strategies can be used to create a respectful, productive environment for any subject area.

    This video-based resource examines the importance of creating a safe learning environment; the value of thinking, reasoning, and questioning; the role of active, accountable listening; and the necessity of giving all students a you can do this message. West also emphasizes that slowing down, even in the face of time constraints, is crucial for creating a classroom where all students feel they have something to contribute. This guide includes transcripts of the case studies, with insightful commentary from West that gives you a window into her thinking and the complexities of the work she is doing with teachers, as well as her reflections on missed opportunities.

    Introduction; Grade 5: Introducing Basic Talk Moves; Grade 1: Basic Talk Moves With Young Children; Grade 4: Getting Reluctant Learners To Speak; Grade 3: Multiple Talk Moves in Action; Grade 6: Well on the Way to Academic Discourse; Conclusion


    Lucy West has worked in education for more than thirty years, starting as a second-grade teacher in New York City, then serving as the director of mathematics for District 2, the deputy superintendent of Region 9, and assistant principal of PS 234. Currently, she is the founder and CEO of Metamorphosis Teaching and Learning Communities, which is dedicated to partnering with districts to design and enact effective professional learning initiatives that result in increased student learning through improved instruction. Lucy is also the coauthor of Agents of Change: How Content Coaching Transforms Teaching and Learning and Content-Focused Coaching: Transforming Mathematics Lessons.