True or False? More Small Steps for Differentiation

If you’ve been following along, I’ve been on a mini mission to think of small ways that we can differentiate in our classrooms without having to create giant projects.  While giant projects are useful, they just aren’t practical day to day.

Today I introduced a game called True or False in a second grade classroom. Inspired by my Reasoning Puzzles, the students are asked to write true and false statements about a number or problem.  It is open ended so students can be as creative as they want. It can be set up as simply as being on a dry erase board (someplace in the front of the room) like this:


Then, in their notebooks (or in this case on some paper in a math binder), the students write true and false statements about the number/problem/shape. It may look something like this after a few days of different problems:


At the end of class for some great share time, the teacher can draw a random name and have the student write or read one of their statements. You could strategically choose one as well. At that time the students try to figure out if it is a true or false statement.


There are a few keys things:

  1. Switch up the problem daily or every few days to keep it fresh. It could be a number, a shape, money, an equation, etc.
  2. When the students try to figure out if it is true or false, they should explain their thinking. For example, in the one above, give them time to turn and talk with each other about how to make it a true statement.
  3. This is something that they can work on whenever they finish something early!
  4. This should be a quick closure to a lesson, or even just a quick review in anticipation for the next day. It should not turn into a long teaching 25 minute teaching moment. Sharing the statement at the end can be about 2 minutes!
  5. This isn’t meant to be graded. We don’t grade every single thing students read, so it is okay to let go of grading every math thing they do as well! Take the pressure off of yourself! This is all about the thinking.

The whole idea of this is to promote the idea of thinking (hello math practice standards), reasoning and writing about math. We want them to use precise language and to expand their thinking. The second graders today just ate it right up! Maybe your class will, too.


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