Today was the first day of school, and the students were awesome! Sixth-graders come into the school very excited and a little bit terrified. They had a lot of information to process today, and they did great! Just under half of my students knew what Number Talks were and I was excited to hear that they were happening in elementary schools. Maybe we can get a group of teachers together and talk about Number Talks and trade thoughts on what works well and where we need help. I would love that! We started with a simple dot pattern for our talk today so the students could focus on the procedures rather than worry about doing a calculation. I love seeing how students look at the number are able to express what they see. Hearing from students in this way is such a rich source to understand what they understand about numbers. And there was 100% participation in the activity, which is another thing to love about Number Talks. Below are the pictures of our talks from the four classes I teach. Last year, I did these on the whiteboard, but then if I forgot to take a picture, I didn’t have a record anymore and if I forgot to erase the whiteboard before the next class came in, I would have to come up with a new problem for the next class! I think having a paper record will be helpful as I look at the progression of each class.
I was reading Sara VanDerWerf’s blog about Number Talks last week and found it really inspirational. Also, I ran across Fawn Nguyen’s blog post from last year, and while it talks about Visual Patterns rather than Number Talks I think it speaks to some of the same ideas involving seeing student thought and challenging them. Her blog post covers a sixth-grade classroom if her students can do it, so can mine!