I have been modeling number talks across the grade levels at my school site. I had a particularly spectacular response to the problem in 2nd grade. I was using a string from the Number Talks book by Parrish.
There has been some concern by the 3-5 teachers that students see the “=” sign as a signal to go, or get an answer, so, for the first problem, I wrote:
19 + 1 is the same as ____________. I was expecting the students to say “20”, and eventually, they did. What I got first was amazing!
19 + 1 is the same as 10 plus 10! 19 + 1 is the same as 15 + 5 and it continued on. Eventually one student said that those sentences all said the same thing as 20!
When I asked 19 + 5, I got the same thing. Several other responses, and then they started saying things like- 20 + 5 is 25, then take away 1, because 19 is one less than 20.
As we worked our way down the string, adding 19 + 9 and 19 + 25, they continued to decompose and compose the numbers with ease.
These students are a great example of how powerful number talks can be, and how important it is to plan every word carefully! I’m convinced that starting without the = sign made the difference.