I introduced number talks at my school on last year and they have made a difference in many classrooms. I know they can for you too! I have put together a list of tips that will help you as you continue your number talks journey. In this post, you will learn my top 5 tips for better number talks.
1. Set a Timer
Number Talks should be between 5-15 minutes depending on the amount of time you have in your math block. Number Talks are very engaging and sometimes you can lose track of time. Setting a timer will keep your math block on track. You can always continue a number talk over to the next day if you are not finished. If you need a timer resource, check out the free online timer here.
2. Develop an Ongoing List of Strategies
Your students need visual reminders of the strategies you have taught them and that they already know. As you introduce strategies, add them to a strategies anchor chart. When students are prompted to use strategies during number talks, they can refer to the chart to help them solve the problem. A struggle I have seen as a teacher is that most students choose the same strategy. This is a great way to get more diverse strategies from students. Check out the example below!
3. Set Expectations
It is important to establish an inviting culture and climate for number talks. Before beginning, make sure to set expectations as a class. These expectations should be discussed and explained by the class. Check out the example below!
4. Plan and Rehearse Number Talks
When you do a number talk in real time, it can be hard to record on the spot. I have found that rehearsing and planning before hand makes it flow better. I am also able to think of strategies students may use and practice recording the strategies. I have a freebie number talks planning template for you! Check it out here!
5. Student Math Conversations
Allowing time during number talks for students to have math conversations enables students to think deeply about math. You can establish math talk partners and change them periodically. Below you can see some of the accountable talk stems I use for number talks. They are editable and available in my TPT store.
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