Conferring in the Math Classroom

A Practical Guidebook to Using 5-Minute Conferences to Grow Confident Mathematicians

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In Conferring in the Math Classroom, Gina Picha focuses on simple, yet transformative ways teachers can use math conferences, short conversations between teachers and small groups of students at work, to guide instruction, assess understanding, and build strong math thinkers. In this practical guidebook, Gina offers teachers accessible structures and generative moves for conferring that allow them to notice and name students’ mathematical strengths and help them build towards new understandings.

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Some of the most powerful moments in math class come from short, but intentional conversations between teachers and students immersed in a math task. But how do we plan for these conversations? What are the best questions to ask? And how do we honor students’ current ideas while also nudging their mathematical thinking forward?

Gina Picha takes on these questions and more in her innovative new book, Conferring in the Math Classroom. In her practical guidebook to conferring, Gina focuses on simple, but transformational ways that teachers can use math conferences to guide their instruction and build strong mathematical communities.

Inside Conferring in the Math Classroom you’ll learn how to:

  • implement effective math conferences that include the three essential elements of (1) listening and observing, 2) naming students’ strengths, and 3) encouraging students to share ideas.
  • select and facilitate the two kinds of math conference--Within the Task and Beyond the Task.
  • notice and name students’ strengths in order to help them develop positive math identities and build on what they already understand.
  • ask powerful questions to better understand students’ thinking and move them forward in their learning.
  • utilize easy-to-reference If-Then charts organized by grade-level and math topic to help you get started with conferring right away.

Gina’s practical and accessible approach to conferring gives teachers the tools to engage in powerful conversations that grow mathematical thinkers and strong classroom communities.

About the Author(s)

Gina Picha, Ed.D. received her master’s degree in education from Aurora University and her doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University-Austin. Gina has worked in education for the past fourteen years teaching kindergarten, first grade, fifth grade, and as an elementary instructional coach, k-12 curriculum specialist and k-5 district math coordinator. She is currently an elementary mathematics curriculum writer living in Austin, Texas with her husband, Deric and two sons, Nolan and Cort.


Table of Contents



Section I: Math Conferences: What Are They?

      Chapter 1: Defining Math Conferences

      Chapter 2: The Similarities and Differences Between Math and Literacy Conferences

      Chapter 3: Types of Math Conferences

Section II: Effective Questioning: What Types of Questions Elicit Students’ Thinking?

      Chapter 4: Questioning to Promote Thinking and Understanding

      Chapter 5: Selecting Questions for Specific Purposes

Section III Focusing on Strengths and Inviting Conjectures

      Chapter 6: Conferring from Students’ Strengths

      Chapter 7: Nudging Student Thinking and Inviting Conjecture in Beyond the Task Conferences

Section IV Planning for Success: What Should You Consider Before Conferring?

      Chapter 8: Building a Math Community that Fosters Positive Math Identities

      Chapter 9: Planning for Data Collection and Analysis

      Chapter 10: Planning for the Tricky Parts

Appendix A: If-Then Charts

Appendix B: Conferring Scenarios

Appendix C: Conferring Notes Template


Product Details

Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Media: 160 pp/paper
Published: 11/2022
Item No: 1513
ISBN: 978-1-62531-513-7
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
Hashtag: #ConferringinMath