After seeing how the children engaged in the general discussions in our previous trial Dmic lessons, my focus was to see how I could get the children to use more of the Dmic method of listening and speaking or sharing of ideas at the "pairs" level.
We discussed how to work as a group by listening and looking at the speaker, by thinking about what they had said and then agreeing or asking a further question if they needed to know more information. The children practised how to phrase questions and what to say when they agreed with what their partner said. They also practised re voicing. These are all necessary skills for group work.
Hooking the children into the problem went well. A child had brought a pie to school the previous week but couldn't eat it all. We talked about how they enjoyed pies but one pie was too much for them to eat. How could they fairly share a square pie with a friend? We unpacked the problem, discussing the terms so that everyone understood what was required of them. During this discussion we again practised re voicing and listening.
The children needed encouragement to work in a small group without a teacher guiding them. It is quite a different way of learning for them (and for the teacher!). They needed reassurance that it was expected that they talk to their partner and that they needed to ask - "What do you think?" , "How do you think we could do this?" to gain information.
Two of the groups were more successful at the pair level talking between themselves and coming to an agreed answer. The other two groups found it difficult to focus but reminders that they needed to ask their partner kept them working. Group sharing went well.
On reflection I will need to think carefully about groups, perhaps have a smaller number of groups so that I can hear their thoughts more easily and keep those focused that need reminders.
I had hoped the children might have seen they could use a similar method of folding or cutting their pretend pie to demonstrate the "equal share" that was used in previous solutions to the pizza problems.
Having a mentor to talk through the lesson and problem solve as issues arose was invaluable and encouraging.