NCTM – Number Talks in the Middle School Classroom

I’ve been intrigued by number talks since I took Jo Boaler’s course over the summer. Kristi Cohen and Sheila Yates did a great job breaking them down and giving concrete examples of both high-quality questions and facilitation techniques to get students talking about math.

My big takeaway from the session was the power in being explicit about the goal of a number talk. Kristi and Sheila broke down number talks into questions that push students to compute precisely (36 * 15, 3/4 + 3/4), vs questions that push students to estimate and simplify (6,472 / 0.98, 31% of 692), vs questions that ask students if an answer makes sense (2% of 572 = 101, 7,914 / 8 = 65). I really like this principle — as I have considered incorporating number talks into my classroom, I realized more and more that my goals were probably overly ambitious for a quick daily warm-up. Being explicit with students about the goal of a number talk could make a big difference in making sure all students can have a high-quality learning experience.

I would add to the types of questions Kristi and Sheila brought up working with patterns  — Fawn Nguyen has some incredible resources here and here on this topic.

Still need to figure out exactly how I want to incorporate this into my class.

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