Making the Most of a Pairs Check

I was genuinely hesitant about using a pairs check in my classroom, because I was not sure my students knew how to “check” and give feedback. If we were practicing a new concept or skill, and it was new to everyone, how would my kids know what was correct or incorrect when “checking?” I know this study team/teaching strategy promotes the Mathematical Practice Standards of 1) Making sense of problems and persevering, as well as 3) Constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others. I also know that my students need to practice these skills regularly. Therefore, I decided to modify the pairs check for my students to provide detailed answer keys for them as they were “checking” their partners. The “checker” would have the answer, and would watch his/her partner work out the problem. I would encourage the “checker” to provide verbal feedback, such as, “You’re on the right track,” “Did you look at the last lesson?”, and “Do you need a hint to get started?” I would praise my students as they asked each other questions to move each other forward in this process. Then they would switch roles. I must admit…the first time did not go very well, but as my students got more comfortable with the process, it got better and better every time. Now, students look forward to a pairs check, so that they can teach and learn from each other. Below are some examples of the modified pairs check:

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