One of my 5th grade teachers stopped by and asked for a resource to bringing subtraction number talks into her classroom. My copy of Making Number Talks Matter, by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker was on my desk, so I handed it to her, and said, “Check out chapter 4.”
I dropped into her room a few days later, and the students were trying out the “round the subtrahend to 10 and adjust”. Some of the students were catching on, and some were still confused. Careful questioning by the teacher found that the students who were confused were stuck because they were still trying to perform the standard algorithm in their head.
I didn’t get a chance to drop in again for a couple weeks, but there was no more confusion! Not one single student was trying the algorithm in their head. They were all using multiple strategies, proving their answers and questioning each other. A “safe space” has been created so that students are free to say “I don’t understand” or “I don’t agree”.
Most students had now put several strategies in their math toolbox, some had only mastered one–but it was mastered.
The room was energizing and happy. I love seeing smiles, and hearing “I get it” in math class!
#mathquestions #mNTmTch #dearteacher #mathtalk