I am excited to report that they seem to be working!
A student commented today that when others "link to and build on" (one of the criteria we shared) to what she is saying, she feels like she is learning something new. :)))
Another student corroborated this by adding excitedly that "even when someone disagrees with me, so long as they do it calmly and give me reasons, I feel like I am learning more!"
How delighted I am that my pathetic first attempts at using the Smart Board and introducting oral language in a coherent manner are not in vain. I hope to keep up the momentum this year and see if it makes a difference not just in math, but in all subject area, and even in their social skills in general.