After putting on your math lenses, look around the room and look for opportunities for “power-chats” incorporating math ideas. Not every verbal exchange about numbers is necessarily powerful, and a power-chat should raise the child’s level of thinking but should not be on a level that is too high. Here are a few general pointers on what power chats should be like.
|How-To for Power-Chats||Power-Connect Questions
(to connect with the child’s thinking)
|· Construct a math scenario/situation related to a child’s interests
· Don’t make it too easy or too difficult, but raise the thinking level whenever it seems appropriate.
· At some point (perhaps even at the onset of the chat), let the child take the lead.
· Make errors occasionally and see if the child catches them.
· Continue only if the child is having fun.
|· What do you suppose would happen if…?
· What will you do next?
· I wonder…
· How can we check to see how close your guess is?
· Why do you think that?
· How did you figure that out?
· Do you have any ideas about how we might begin?
 This list is adapted from Family Math for Young Children (Coates & Stenmark, 1997)
 This description summarizes the concept of one of Vygotsky’s Zones of Proximal Development.