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Tool: Analyzing unexpected student comments

At times unexpected comments and questions from students can push the class forward. At other times they might derail an entire lesson. Use this tool as a lay-beside to look for instances of unexpected student comments. Mary Kennedy* identified these as off-script rather than off-task comments because they can come from students who have otherwise been attentive and participating.

Analyze a sketch

Record all unexpected student comments/questions:


Students' off-script, but not off-task, comments

How do you feel about this comment?

How did the teacher respond?





























See Using mathematical misconceptions in discussion for examples of such comments to help you consider responses to them when they arise.

*from Kennedy, M. (2005).  Inside teaching: How classroom life undermines reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 96.