Collecting, Representing, and Interpreting Data
by Linda Dacey and Rebeka Eston
Linda Dacey’s and Rebeka Eston’s Show and Tell: Representing and Communicating Mathematical Ideas in K–2 Classrooms is an excellent instructional resource for primary school teachers and educators.
In the Preface, the authors point out the importance of understanding ways in which “mathematical representation and discourse supports the growth of mathematical ideas” for primary school students and their teachers. Throughout the book, Dacey and Eston provide a variety of explanations, stories, student work, and classroom scenarios to assist teachers in strengthening mathematics discussion or “show and tell” in the classroom.
In Chapter 1, Dacey and Eston introduce show and tell as a way of teaching and learning during mathematics investigations. Through these math investigations, show and tell is the representation and communication of thinking that occurs as children work through math scenarios.
Next, Dacey and Eston explain how show and tell is incorporated into math learning and when, where, and how it works in the classroom. They also give some background on how we represent and communicate ideas. Their discussion includes students’ abilities to process verbal and visual information and the importance of providing varied methods for student communication during math investigations.
The authors provide a concise plan for successfully incorporating show and tell during math learning. The approach is broken down into three parts: understanding task, working on task, and debriefing.
In Chapters 2 through 8, Dacey and Eston take the reader through show and tell during classroom scenarios and overviews of each mathematics strand. In Chapter 9, they focus on seeing and hearing during math learning. “When teachers train their eyes and ears to see and hear what children show and tell about their mathematical ideas, they gain a better understanding of the developmental and cognitive needs of their students.”
Through their discussions of show and tell, Dacey and Eston explain that show and tell holds children accountable, provides a means for them to document their thinking, and allows them to understand their own thinking more clearly. The insights that teachers are able to gain lead to the identification of students’ strengths and weaknesses which then inform teaching strategies and instructional plans. As highlighted throughout the book, this teaching method allows teachers to support the learning of each child while celebrating the learning shared by all!
I recommend this book for any educator interested in exploring how classroom discourse can strengthen mathematics understanding in primary school classrooms.