Don't Look But Listen


Tip: Don't Look But Listen

How do I do it?
Paperclip two manila folders together to make a visual barrier.  Give the same materials to each person in the pair.  In this case, a slip of paper or a sticky note and a pencil.   Next, one person is the "talker" - they write a math problem on their paper and say it to their partner. The "listener" tries to write the problem and answer on their side of the visual barrier without peeking!  It’s important for the pair to debrief when they are done (a lot of higher-order thinking happens here).
You can also give students a list of key vocab (on the board or differentiated on a post-it for individual students) that you expect them to use when communicating with their partner. (The materials can be anything you are studying (e.g. a pile of key math vocab cards; a blank graphic organizer; math manipulatives; a compass and protractor, etc.)  You can also create rules where students are not allowed to use certain vocab or even the words that are on their materials.  Experiment and be creative with a few ideas and you’ll get the gist!

This is an important activity to give students the opportunity to practice speaking and listening as they communicate about important mathematical concepts that they are studying.  Listening comprehension is an especially important area that we often do not address in the language learning classroom, especially in math.


Math Common Core Mathematical Practice Standard 1&3
Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen


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