Dear Teacher: My reflection about number talks #mNTmTch

Dear Colleagues,

I am involved in a fabulous book study with fellow teachers and educators from around the world–over 500 of us!  We are studying the book Making Number Talks Matter, by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker.

I was first introduced to some of the ideas behind number talks  many years ago, but they were called “number routines”. Regardless of what they are called, and small differences in how students will navigate through a number talk, they still give students their voice back.

My goal the last few years has been to talk as little as possible.  I will ask questions, and clarify information or problems, but I try to let the students do most of the talking.

Number talks allow this to happen without changing very much in my classroom.  Originally, I used them as a warm up, but the more I used them, the more I found that number talks are powerful tools that allow for great learning to take place!  This week, I have been challenged to explain my “WHY?”    Why number talks?

Some of my reflections:

  • Students get a chance to talk to each other, which provides practice in listening and speaking.
  • Students must clarify their own thinking, and it requires them to use precise language to make their thinking clear to others.
  • Students hear alternate strategies or thinking from their peers, and then are challenged to try it themselves.
  • Students get practice and more practice on using the relationships between numbers to solve problems.
  • Students get practice in describing and analyzing place value relationships.
  • Students have the opportunity to practice composing and decomposing numbers to make new relationships between numbers.
  • Students have fun!

Having fun during math has recently become important to me.  I have noticed that when students are having fun, behavior issues decrease significantly-sometimes even vanish!  When I say “Time to clean up”, it is music to my ears when students say “What?  Already?”   As a bonus, they seem to remember for longer, and are able to access previously learned material better when they had fun exploring in math.

I’m really excited to get into some classrooms now, and play with some numbers with students during number talks now!

#mNTmTch        #numbertalks          #studentvoice             #studentthinking       #mathisfun


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