Tuesday, October 28, 2014

BOOM! Number Talking


Hey Kinder Friends,
We are moving right along and having a little fun with Number Talks during our math block. I wrote in the beginning of the year that boom we came back to school with a mandated block schedule. Boom, boom, boom just like that.
For a while I struggled with exactly where in that block I would put my Number Talks. I finally decided to add it to the last 15 minutes of my block schedule so that I could always end our math block with some discussion and discussing what we noticed and how we all arrived at our thoughts. It works for me because I do not want to miss this time so I am on the lookout and ready when this time approaches each day. And I love that I need just a few simple things to get ready for this each day.
Chart Paper
Or A White Board
Markers or Dry Erase
Math Tools
In the area that I Number Talk, I have these materials on hand.
So, where are we with Number Talks and what are we doing exactly.
 Let me back up a minute.
We have had Number Talks going since school started but it was a bumpy ride in the beginning. We had a big, large, gigantic class until a few weeks ago. So, in the beginning we were getting used to the routine of Number Talks. In the very beginning we started each session with a book but now it depends on what we are doing during Number Talks. Sometimes I have a book that fits and sometimes I just don't but one thing is for sure...I am always on the lookout for books that could help build our math discussion.
But the focus is on the mathematical discussion and building a math community.
So that we can learn new ways of thinking and looking at things, new strategies for approaching mathematical ideas and problems, building mathematical fluency and understanding that numbers are flexible. I did spend a lot of time in the beginning just getting to know the children and I spent a lot of time just listening to their thinking. I also invested time in discussing our math community and setting up the expectations for the talk.
 We sit and we listen to each other respectfully and share our thoughts with each other.
Yes, it was just that simple in the beginning. I knew my large class would eventually break down and I didn't want to wait for that to happen before introducing this part of our day. I always begin with telling the kids a story of how I loved to count everything as a kid. We then discuss useful ways we count in the classroom and the children guide it from there.
I haven't formally introduced our Number Talks hand signals yet. Like I said, I had a large group until recently so I waited. No big deal. I think we are ready for it now. I am already dreaming of the day when our signals are in place.
Our Number Talks do not always coincide with our current math topic...and that is ok. But sometimes it does and that is ok too. As I was in the library I found a new book...
Boom! Boom! Boom!
At first glance, I was going to use this book for Science and talk about sound but as I was taking a look at it, all I could think about was the math topic of...one more. We were deep in discussion about one and two more last week when our math vocabulary words were more and less. During our math block we are comparing numbers and still discussing more or less. So the book does a nice job to help facilitate a discussion about 1 and one more, 2 and one more and so on.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
 You will need to read this book before using it in Number Talks because there is a great opportunity here right inside the book. Reading this book before being with the kids helped me to generate a few guiding questions. Because this book has so much to offer to a discussion, I might jot a few ideas down and place on a sticky note inside a few pages of the book before reading with the kids.
Did you notice one more?
How many end up in the bed before it breaks?
How do you see it?
How do you know?
How did you figure that out?
What could you do to be sure you knew exactly how many ended up in the bed?
What math tools could help you out?
How did the math tool help?
Some of our favorite math tools are number lines, ten frames and we are moving on to rekenreks.
So, where do we go from here?
As we move forward with Number Talks we will be learning our hand signals and we will begin recording our talks on chart paper during our sessions. We will also incorporate more math tools and continue building upon those foundational discussions. If you haven't started Number Talks this year you are not too late. It's never too late! You can join in the fun.   
 Even when I am out of the classroom Number Talking can still take place and this is one of my favorite ways to keep it going if I have to be gone. What I love about it is that there are several rounds of these images and the guided questions are on the slides. Anyone can advance the slides and ask the questions. The kids love it when you go a bit faster than before!
By request printable student number lines are now included and programmable hand signals as well. If you have not downloaded these updates please download again and grab them! For more information click on the images above.

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