On Your Marks. Get Set. Number Talks

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!

About gfletchy

K-8 math consumer trying to listen and learn each day. Stay thirsty my friends!
This entry was posted in Estimation, Fact Fluency, Strategy Development, Teacher Content. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to On Your Marks. Get Set. Number Talks

  1. Cleargrace says:

    I love the strength that number talks give my students (I teach high schoolers; this year is Alg II). You have posted a great set of sources. I would add the counting circles to your list. This allows more mental math practice, and gets really interesting with high school age kids when you count by multiplying sqrt 2, or use odd decimals or fractions. I teach in Gwinnett County Ga and love the level of teaching collab and training. I would love to share more about the topics you explored this summer. Thanks!

    • gfletchy says:

      That’s awesome Cleargrace! I love the fact that you’re using Number Talks with your high school students…kudos to you!
      I was fortunate enough to conduct a MS workshop in Gwinnett last year and was super impressed with the level of collaboration that took place amongst your peers. Lots of great things happening there. If you need anything else or resources to share just ask and I’ll help out any way I can!

  2. Pingback: Inspired Thoughts on Number Talks | Math Minds

  3. Turtle Gunn Toms says:

    Hi Fletchy!
    Love this post, especially the just enough to be dangerous part…
    We’ve also posted a guide to Number Talks on the K-5 wiki. It’s part of the Effective Instructional Practices Guide, here: http://bit.ly/1wWaFJI We lifted it in it’s entirety from the Oakland Unified School District’s guide. Such goodness is meant to be shared, just like your thinking.

  4. gfletchy says:

    What an awesome document T and thanks for putting it right in front of my face! All the more reason to embrace Common Core.

    “All of us are smarter/better than one of us!”

  5. Gail says:

    Awesome blog! Loved the resources in Turtle Gunn Toms’s comment. Thanks, guys! I’ll be sharing this with teachers in my district.

  6. mwiernicki says:

    Excellent stuff here, as usual. The best part is the 3 things you learned the hard way! Great post. Love the passion! Keep pouring the Kool-Aid my friend!

  7. Pingback: Number Talks: Two Perspectives | Five Twelve Thirteen

  8. Pingback: Secondary Number Talks (I’ll convince you with ducks) – saravanderwerfdotcom

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