I've been very excited about what I'm learning about students' understanding of mathematics through the use of the Show Me app. This is a free app that allows students to record what they are saying and writing on the iPad. It's wonderful. I've had several students record their thinking about a specific math concept. I'm able to listen to what the student says, how he/she says it (sometimes I hear a sigh as if the student is thinking hard about what he/she is trying to do), and I can see what the student writes on the iPad to support his/her thinking. The students are highly motivated to make sure that their recording is clear, correct, and makes sense. I hear students recording their thinking more than once because they didn't like their first or second recording. It has taken only a few minutes to show the students how to use the Show Me app.
The students that I am working with are students who have been identified through the RTI process and are receiving extra math support two times a week for about 40 minutes, outside of math class. They are eager to use the iPad (no surprise here!) and seem to be very engaged with trying to show their thinking about mathematics. They've demonstrated many of the Mathematical Practices from the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. I hear them trying to make sense of the math, persevering until they have a recording with which they are satisfied. The students are modeling mathematics through the ability to draw on the screen of the iPad. I hear students attending to precision as they record their thinking about specific problems. I've been able to learn more about a child's mathematical knowledge and misconceptions through the work that is recorded with Show Me.
I've been impressed with the changes from one recording to the next from a particular student. The progress is noticable in his voice on the recording. I can hear confidence as he talks about his work. I can also hear when he knows he hasn't correctly solved a problem. Sometimes he's made another recording in which he tries to correct his mistake from the previous recording. These repeated recordings offer me insight to the child's thinking and the progression of his thinking.