Monday, March 9, 2015

Number talks, dot cards and subitizing, oh my!

Hi All!

This year my district is really investing time into Number Talks (Math We have been to a few trainings, watched videos and tested them out on each other. Now we are doing them with the kids! If you haven't heard of Number Talks, they are 10-15min student led classroom discussion in which the kiddos reason their way through math problems. It looks a little different at each grade level, but the idea is the same.

In first grade, my goal is for the students to develop strong number sense, communication and math courage (being brave enough to be different and knowing that they may not always be right) during Number Talks. I currently do them 1-2 times a week and hope to work them in more often as the kids become familiar with our classroom routines.

Most of the time of the time (80%) have them on the rug in a "U" formation. This allows me to see everyone and for them to look at the speaker when another student is talking-the whole eyes on the speaker thing- perfect for building that communication!

Now we Number Talk!

Right now we are working on subitizing (looking for groups). They are usually quick to pull out combos seen on dice. Subitizing helps them think of combinations to make a whole and reinforces that we can solve the same problem different ways.

I flash them the card. I usually give them between 3-5 seconds before I take it away. Then I ask them "How many dots did you see." If I think they will all/most have the correct answer I solicit it whole group in a whisper; as the answer in this version of Number Talks is not quite as important as the process of finding the answer. If I think they may have differing answers, I have a few share their answers.

Then, we begin the reasoning and constructing of arguments. Right now we are only working on reasoning with math language and agreement. :) They can agree with someone using a special hand signal if they solved the same way.

I ask for one kiddo to explain how they counted and I notate. Then I solicit a different way and notate. And so on.

Once we have discovered all the ways or have exhausted their ways, we are done! Then I use the math talk to identify skills that appeared (one kid counted by 2s, one child is still counting each one) and use that information to guide my math workshop.

Do you Number Talk?


1 comment:

Ann Riddledom said...

That's convenient when all the children are on the rug and you can see everyone. I wrote about it at There are good classroom games as well there.