I’ll start off by saying that I’m definitely not a Number Talks guru and over the past 4 years I’ve learned just enough to be dangerous!  The first day of school is less than 12 days away and my summer is over!  Thankfully I’ve had the opportunity to spend it with hundreds of brilliant educators across Georgia.  A lot of this time was spent discussing and planning the implementation of Number Talks which is super exciting!

If you don’t know what it is….go to the source! Sherry Parrish (the author) published a solid Number Talks article back in 2011 for Teaching Children Mathematics.

You can also check out a Number Talks Webinar I hosted with my dear friend at the DOE @turtletoms.  There’s some of really useful resources that we push out in the first 10 seconds that might be worth your time.

Since implementing Number Talks I have watched it morph into what I can only explain as sheer AWESOMENESS!!!!  If you’re planning to implement Number Talks there are a couple of things I learned the hard way, so I thought I’d share:

  1. Number Talks must be done with fidelity if students are to become computationally fluent, which means EVERY DAY!  On the first day of school I suggest getting them in…getting them fed…do a Number Talk…then send them home!!!  Computational fluency is not built on Fridays.
  2. The key to Number Talks is in the number string.  It is not a single problem that is put on the board and discussed.  That is @fawnpngyen‘s MathTalks  which I absolutely love and use as well. Using 3-4 expressions that are similarly related allow students to connect and immediately employ invented strategies repeatedly.  The repeated use of strategies is what builds automaticity.
  3. Number Talks in isolation does not work.  Students must be encouraged to use their “Number Talks Strategies” outside the 10-15 minute block.  Maybe if we encourage the use of Number Talk strategies more frequently then we could Stop Using Base-Ten Blocks to Teach the Algorithm.

Stay thirsty!

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