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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Number Talks Book Study: Part 3

Welcome to week 3 of our book study on Number Talks.  This is a great book for K-5 classroom teachers, special educators and math specialists.  It is also a great book for administrators and other educational professionals to read to learn more about what good math teaching looks like.  

Join me each Sunday as we discuss the week's reading and make connections to our own teaching practice.  Leave a comment on this blog post or head over to Facebook and leave your thoughts there.  If you have your own blog and want to write a post about it on your own blog, just leave the link in the comments section.   

Posting Schedule
Part 1: January 11th Chapters 1 & 2
Part 2: January 18th Chapter 3
Part 3: January 25th Chapter 4
Part 4: February 1st: Chapters 5 & 6
Part 5: February 8th: Chapters 7 & 8
Part 6: February 15th: Chapter 9
Thank you to all who participated last week!  We certainly had fewer comments than the first week but I am sure this is because folks got busy!   If you missed last week, no worries, just catch up as you have time!

Chapter 4 How Do I Design Purposeful Number Talks in the K-2 Classroom?

This chapter is full of ideas and specific examples of number talks.  I like how it is broken into sections by grade but remember that you may need to do some number talks from a previous grade or even the grade above to meet the needs of all your students.  If you and your students are brand new to number talks, it is often a good idea to start with something easier than your students current grade level and move up as they get more comfortable.  If your students are not familiar with 10 frames, rekenreks or dot images, start with some of the Kindergarten number talks even if you work with older students.  If your students have never been asked to explain their thinking or to listen to a partner explain their thinking, this all might come as a shock to them but it is usually harder for the teacher to make this transition than the students.
I particularly want to talk more about the dot images section in the K number talks.  I love using dot images with kids and can't believe I ever taught primary without these.  They are such a great way to build fluency with numbers and really lay the foundation for working with composing and decomposing numbers which is vitally important to students being successful with developing fluency of addition and subtraction facts.  As an interventionist, I often find that first and second graders whose teachers have identified them as needing more work with addition and subtraction facts are the kids who need more work with dot images and other models like 10 frames and rekenreks.  When I pull intervention groups from the classroom or work in classes during Guided Math time, I often will do a number talk with a small group.  By sometimes doing small group number talks, I can differentiate instruction and get to really watch how kids are solving problems. 

I love all the models discussed and used in number talks.  Rekenreks are powerful tools and if you don't use these in your classroom yet, than you should!  There are free virtual versions and they are easy to build student size versions using pipe cleaners, cardboard and pony beads.  Ten frames are also fantastic and there are so many ways to use them in the classroom.  In addition to ten frames, I use a double ten frame (aka 20 frame) to extend the power of this model to larger numbers.  These models are important to have in every K-2 classroom and you will find yourself using them again and again during number talks, math centers and for individual student practice.  

Please share your thoughts about this week's reading and K-2 number talks in general in the comments below!  


  1. I love using the dot cards. My first graders can usually tell me how they know, and it can be revealing. One time a stuggling student really impressed me by responding with the correct number. When I asked how she knew she said because the dots made an H like the first letter of her name, and she always remembered that one was 7.
    Not very fancy

    1. It is amazing how much we can learn about our students during number talks.

  2. I have rekenreks. I just need to learn how to use them better.

    1. There are so many ideas in this book for using rekenreks!