Monday, May 4, 2015

Number Talks with buddies

For the past two years I have been preaching Number Talks as the gateway drug to Common Core. I am absolutely certain that if I can get 85% of my teachers regularly using Number Talks, then our students will experience a growth in math achievement this district can only dream about.

Inherent in a number talk is the dynamic that the teacher is sharing some of her leadership with her students when the students share their methods with one another. As a result, number talks allow students to persevere in mentally solving the problem (SMP 1) and then explain their method and critique the methods shared by other students (SMP3).

Some of my student teachers at the university, familiar with number talks, have shared their excitement about lessons they were teaching when a student asks a clarifying question and suddenly a number talk breaks out.

Sometimes more learning happens during a spontaneous number talk than in the actual lesson!

A 1st grade teacher just shared with me a new format for a Number Talk that she accidentally invented. Here is her email...
Just wanted to share with you that my class got together with their buddy class (5th grade) on Wednesday. I decided to do a few number talks with them. It was sort of a last minute activity, BUT, with that being said, it turned out great! The little buddies and big buddies had a great time discussing the math problems. It was a great listening/speaking activity as well. The little ones would explain to the big ones how they solved it, etc., and then vice versa. The big ones would also help the little ones if needed. It was a good activity all around.
What a great idea: Conduct many mini-number talks between an older student and a younger student.

Give it a try and let me know what happens! Here is my Number Talks website: