Facilitating Deeper Learning: Weaving CueThink Into A Math Workshop

Using CueThink for Guided Math groups and independent station rotations in a Math Workshop promotes a goal-driven cycle of targeted small group instruction, independent practice, and reflection on goals to create new ones. Read on to learn how to empower students to take an active role in their learning.

In our first blog series on the Math Workshop, we detailed how to gradually introduce CueThink to your students using the structure of a Math Workshop. Investing a bit more time in the beginning to clearly set expectations and gradually release responsibility to students results in the creation of high quality thinklets and annotations. Student learning in a #makemathsocial environment is enhanced for the majority of the year because students openly communicate questions and ideas and receive high quality, timely feedback from peers.  

The Cyclic Process of Using CueThink In Guided Math Groups and Independent Stations

Once your students are familiar with creating thinklets, incorporate CueThink in Guided Math groups and independent station rotations. Use a cyclic process of Guided Math instruction → Technology Station → Guided Math instruction to facilitate goal-driven targeted small group instruction, independent practice, and reflection during small group instruction. Use a Guided Math session to focus students on one specific goal each time they create a thinklet. The Technology Station provides students with scaffolded independent practice centered around their selected goal. Use another Guided Math session to reflect with students on their independent practice and determine the next course of action to achieve their goal, or select a new one.  

Students visit the Technology Station 3-4 times within the cycle, depending on the length of your rotations. Throughout the cycle students will complete their thinklet, view and annotate peers’ thinklets, and make revisions to their own thinklets based on  peers’ annotations. Students focus on thinklet creation in the first visit (and second if needed). Dedicate the next session to view and annotate peers’ thinklets. Use the final session to make revisions to thinklets based on peers’ feedback, to encourage math as a process of creation, reflection and revision. The goals students selected during Guided Math group are worked on in the Technology Station during the visit that correlates to the process they are working on.

Carry Out The Process

Empower students to take an active role in their learning. Work with students during Guided Math groups to identify one area for improvement to work on independently during the Technology Station. This promotes student agency and a growth mindset by encouraging students to see problem solving as a cyclic process of creation, reflection and revision.

Refine thinklets students already created during the Technology Station or begin thinklet creation during a Guided Math group that students will finish during the Technology Station. Reflect with students on their work in the Technology Station during the Guided Math group to further their growth or select a new goal. Goals can be focused on any of the Four Phases of problem solving and annotations. Listed below are 30-minute lesson plans focusing on a variety of problem solving goals that can be addressed in Guided Math groups.

  1. Unpacking the Problem by Noticing and Wondering

  2. Estimating an Answer

  3. Choosing the Best Strategy to Solve a Problem

  4. Writing a Plan to Solve the Problem

  5. Organization of a Solution to a Multistep Problem

  6. Fostering Mathematical Communication

  7. Written Feedback to Encourage Revision


Conclusion...Your Next Steps

Integrate CueThink into your station rotations and Guided Math groups to improve your students’ problem solving skills and math communication. Within the station rotation model, students visit 3-4 stations a cycle. At one station, students create thinklets either individually, or in pairs. In a second station students view and annotate peers’ thinklets. Use other complementary independent stations such as a Technology Station that focuses on skills practice, an Independent Work Station that provides students with differentiated work, and a Math Games station that coincides with the current unit of study’s content and skills, or spirals to review past units and prerequisite skills of upcoming units of study. Finally, station rotations allow for teachers to work with small, targeted Guided Math groups. Guided Math groups can address students’ misconceptions, missing prior knowledge or enhancing problem solving skills using the themes listed above.