Saturday, October 12, 2013

Let's talk about Number Talks

Last year our principal taught us about Number Talks. We had several lessons throughout the year and she would model number talks or use a video to show us how "to do" number talks with our students. I dedicate the first 5-10 minutes of the Mathematics block for Number Talks. During Number Talks, the students are gathered on the carpet and I show cards with ten frames or dots with different configurations. I ask questions such as "How many?" and "How do you know?" or "How do you see it?". When they have an answer they put their thumb up and place it in front of their chest. I will ask several students to share their answer before we count the dots. I ask advancing questions such as "How many would there be if I added one more dot?" or "If I took away one dot?". Our favorite lately is "How many more to make 10?".  You can use your fingers to cover up a few dots on the card and then ask the questions again. We discuss 3-5 cards everyday.
Another great way to get everyone involved is to ask the students to show how many are on the card by holding up that many fingers.  Then ask them to show that many another way using their fingers. (students might show 4 fingers using one hand, then 2 fingers in one hand and 2 fingers on the other).  Students can come to the front of the group to show the different combinations.

The easiest way to store these materials is a basket so it is mobile.
I like a variety of materials!

Here is what is included:
These picture cards are great to use at the beginning of the school year to introduce number talks. I did have to enlarge them using the document camera.

I made the dot plates using paper plates and dot stickers. The dot cards came from the Number Sense Guy. His store is at Teachers Pay Teachers. The link is here.

I used the traditional ten frames when we started Number Talks at the beginning of the school year. Now I am using the smaller ten frames because they show the dots in different combinations. The ten frames with the yellow background were purchased from the Number Sense Guy. The ten frames with paddles have magnetic circles for dots. On one side is a single ten frame and the other has a double ten frame. These are great to quickly illustrate the same number in multiple ways (you would show 7 counters and ask them how they see it, then move the counters into different spaces and ask them how they see 7 now). These were purchased from Amazon.

I keep Math Practice charts and cards with questions in the basket also.
The large Math Practices Posters are from Math Coach's Corner TpT Store (link).
The smaller prompting cards are from Number Sense Guy (link).
The yellow card was given to me at school.

I look forward to Number Talks everyday. I view that time to be similar to our Morning Message that begins the Literacy Block in the morning. It is so interesting to hear my students discuss numbers and it helps me to assess where they are with number sense every day.


  1. Thank you for the wonderful idea! This will definitely be used in my math block immediately. Where can I find the math practice charts and questions that you have in the bottom picture?

    1. Thank you-I got the large ones from Math Coach's Corner and the smaller ones from Number Sense Guy. The long yellow one I got from my school. Have fun!


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