Number Talks: Great way to start the day

11 Nov

I’ve been doing a lot of professional development lately in preparation for common core. Everything from monthly meetings at the district office to a week with Silicon Valley Math Initiative this past summer. Also I am taking a Stanford MOOC called: Constructive Classroom Conversations, where I am waking up to the fact that my students need to learn how to talk to each other, and this class is providing me tools to teach them and ways to measure success (I’ll do a post on this later).

A common thread to all these PD sessions is for students to articulate their thinking and to listen to other students’ thinking in order to expand their own.  I’ve incorporated Number Talks into the start of my classes (especially on Mondays since I’m not checking homework on Mondays). My students and I like these because most feel comfortable participating because there’s no one right answer, and there’s lots of aha moments.

Number Talks is when you pose a math problem, math dilemma, or other math visual to the students, and they are challenged to think about a strategy for solving the problem mentally or to form an analysis on the problem.  Next you have them share their thought-process with the class, often after they have shared it with their partner. Also you get feedback on students’ progress by having them do a thumbs-up close to their chest (way better than raising their hand since students aren’t pressured).

These are the topics/sources I’ve been using for my Number Talks:

If  Number Talks are new to you, I highly recommend learning about them and introducing them into your classroom.  There’s lots of resources about them on the internet, and even youtube videos.

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