Number Talks

Number Talks

What is a number talk?

Article: Number Talks Overview & Teacher Role

This summary sheet outlines what a number talk is and gives an overview of the routine along with a description of the teacher's role during a number talk.

Video Ruth Parker & Cathy Humphries--Making Number Talks Matter

Meet the authors of Making Number Talks Matter as they discuss the power of number talks.


Book Study Resources for Making Number Talks Matter

Study Guide

Chapter 1

Article: Number Talks Overview & Teacher Role

This summary sheet outlines what a number talk is and gives an overview of the routine along with a description of the teacher's role during a number talk.

Article: Number Talks Build Numerical Reasoning

This NCTM Teaching Children Mathematics article by Sherry Parrish, the author of the book Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies, Grades K-5, includes part of a transcript from a multiplication number talk and describes the key components for successful number talks.

Article: 13 Rules That Expire

This article from NCTM’s Teaching Children Mathematics outlines 13 “rules” that elementary students are often taught that do not hold true mathematically, such as “subtraction and division make numbers smaller” (½ ÷ ¼ = 2, and 2 is greater than 1/2).

Video: Number Talks--Building Numerical Reasoning

When you have time, but little energy, this 1-hour video of Sherry Parrish, respected author of Number Talks, might be just the thing as she talks about how to strengthen students’ accuracy, efficiency and flexibility with mental math and computation strategies.

Video: Number Talks - Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies

Teacher testimonies to the power of number talks in helping students develop number sense.


Chapter 2

Article: Use Number Talks to Boost Math Reasoning

This article by the Cathy Humphries and Ruth Parker, authors of Making Number Talks Matter, supports the reading from the first two chapters of the book.

Blog: Math Reasoning Stages

Kristin Gray reflects on a list of “stages of math reasoning” that might offer teachers some ideas about how to help students “construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others” (SMP 3).

Site with 3 Articles: Math Reasoning Strategies--Whole Numbers, Decimals, Fractions

Three separate articles from Scholastic list mental strategies that use reasoning for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division with whole numbers and calls out strategies that aren’t appropriate for the numbers at hand with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions.

Article: Tips for Implementing Number Talks--Primary

Just like it sounds, this article from Math Perspectives offers tips for successful number talks in the primary classroom.

Article: Tips for Implementing Number Talks--Intermediate

This article from Math Perspectives offers tips for successful number talks in the intermediate classroom.

Chapter 3

Reference Sheet: Summary of Guiding Principles for Number Talks

This sheet summarizes the principles outlined in Chapter 3 of Making Number Talks Matter.

Blog: Beginning Number Talks

Without describing specific student responses, Shelly Craig reflects briefly on three Number Talks, explaining why she selected subtraction problems and the general ups and downs of the sessions.

Blog / Video: Number Talks and Safe Classroom Culture

Often student misconceptions arise during Number Talks, and addressing those mistakes in a positive, safe way for the student can be challenging. Crystal Morey, a middle school teacher, shares what happened in her class and debriefs with Ruth Parker, co-author of Making Number Talks Matter.

Website and Handout: Effective Questioning

The San Francisco Unified School District offers a set of questions grouped by the Standards for Mathematical Practice to stimulate classroom discourse.

Book: The Danielson Framework for Teaching Evaluation Instrument

Use this guide to review Danielson components 2a Creating an environment of respect and 2b Establishing a culture of learning as you think about what effective teaching looks like in these areas.

Video: Math and the Danielson Framework

This 3-minute video describes the important elements for a culture of learning in a mathematics classroom.

Chapter 4

Reference Page: Addition & Subtraction Strategies

Georgia K-5 Mathematics Support offers this clear, well-organized at-a-glance sheet of addition and subtraction strategies that are supported by Number Talks.

Online Article: Why I Like Using Open Number Lines (Though I Don’t Like the Name)

Marilyn Burns talks about the usefulness of the open number line as a subtraction model.

Blog: The Meaning of Subtraction

Fifth grade math specialist Kristin Gray reflects on a Number Talk and shares how she used a talk to dig deeper into students’ understanding and extend their thinking.

Blog: I Love Number Talks!

Elementary math specialist Carrie Forsthoffer describes a subtraction Number Talk with fourth graders (247-98), including how she got into hot water and how she found her way back out.

Chapter 5

Reference Page: Multiplication & Division Strategies

Georgia K-5 Mathematics Support offers this clear, well-organized at-a-glance sheet of multiplication and division strategies that are supported by Number Talks.

Power Point: Properties of Operations—Multiplication

Need a little review on the five properties of multiplication (commutative, associative, distributive, zero, and identity)? This PowerPoint presentation (source unknown) will walk you through each quickly and easily to bring you back up to speed.

Article: Fluency without Fear

This article from Stanford professor Jo Boaler's youcubed.com site shares research-based evidence on the best ways to learn math facts. It’s a great article to read and discuss during a PLC.

Video: How to Learn Math Session 5.1—Conceptual Learning, Number Sense

This video of Jo Boaler explaining research evidence on developing fluency pairs well with her “Fluency without Fear” article. Watch at least the first 7.5 minutes with your team for some great food for thought.

Chapter 6

Power Point Slides for Number Talks

Henry County Schools in Georgia make available a series of Power Points for elementary teachers to use with addition and subtraction Number Talks.

Reference Page: Addition and Subtraction Strategies At a Glance

This page outlines a variety of addition and subtraction strategies to draw out during number talks with examples for each.

PowerPoint: Properties of Operations—Addition

Need a little review on the three properties of addition (commutative, associative, and identity)? This PowerPoint presentation will walk you through each quickly and easily to bring you back up to speed.

Chapter 7

Reference Page: Multiplication and Division Strategies At a Glance

This page outlines a variety of multiplication and division strategies to draw out during number talks with examples for each.

Chapter 8

Blog: Math Talks Fractions

Fifth grade teacher Anne Walker describes several fraction addition Number Talks she conducted with her class.

Booklet: Maths4Life Fractions Booklet

This booklet from the UK for teachers helping students understand the concept of fractions suggests teaching approaches and would fit nicely into PLC teamwork thinking about the teaching of fractions.

Article: Teaching Fractions According to the CCSSM

Teachers of grades 3-7 seeking better understanding of the CCSS-M are given guidance in this lengthy paper. Rather than reading the full article, consider using this document as a reference when planning for specific fraction-related standards, either independently or in a PLC.

Chapter 9

Web Page: Getting Started with Effective Math Talk in the Classroom

One of the challenges of doing Number Talks is fostering student-to-student communication. This page shares a variety of tips and resources from Shametria L. Routt, including posters to hang in your classroom.

Article: Creating Math Talk Communities

Actionable tips help teachers create a learning community that fosters mathematical discussions among students in their classrooms.

Chapter 10

Video: Silent Signals in the Classroom

This two-minute K-5 video from the Teaching Channel highlights the use of silent signals to maintain student engagement, several of which might be helpful during number talks.

Talk Moves

Several helpful talk moves to increase student engagement during number talks are modeled in this two-minute Teaching Channel video, including repeating, adding on, and revising. While a fourth grade classroom is featured, the moves are appropriate K-12.

Videos of Number Talks

Protocols for Video Viewing

The following protocols can be used with any number talk video.

Routines

This protocol helps teachers identify the presence or absence of the number talk routines outlined in Chapter 2 of Making Number Talks Matter by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker.

Reflecting on the Lesson

Connecting to the number talk planner in Appendix A of Making Number Talks Matter by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker, this protocol encourage teachers to consider the questions and recording strategies modeled in the video.

Guiding Principles for Number Talks

This chart lists the guiding principles of number talks as defined in Chapter 3 of Making Number Talks Matter by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker to allow viewers to record teacher moves aligned with each principle.


Kindergarten

Kindergarten



Beyond Fingers: Place Value & the Numbers 11-19 (8 min)


Math Solutions Number Talks K-2 Rekenreks (5 min)



Quick Images: Visualizing Number Combinations (6 min)

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First Grade

First Grade


Second Grade

Second Grade

Math Solutions Number Talks 2.2 Addition 16 + 15 (3 min)


Number Talks Mental Math 2nd Grade 006 (5 min)


Third Grade

Third Grade

Third Grade Mental Math (6 min)


3rd Grade Number Talks 2015 (5 min)


3rd Grade Amber Taylor Number Talk Multiplication (8 min)


Mental Math, 3rd Grade in Spring (13 min)




Fourth Grade

Fourth Grade

Reasoning About Division (7 min)


Fifth

Fifth Grade

5th Grade Division Number Talk (5 min)


Middle School

Middle School

Jo Teaching a Dot Card Number Talk (6 min)



High School

High School

Number Talk 70 – 34 (14 min)


Other

Other

Originally from the Stanford University online course “How to Learn Math for Teachers and Parents," this video features Jo Boaler leading a number talk with college students solving 12 x 15.


Resources for Classroom Implementation of Number Talks

Dot Card Images

This set of dot cards is ready to use for Number Talks.

Article: Number Talks for K-2 Teachers

This series of tips includes suggested Number Talks to do with each grade level.

Smart Board Resources K-5

This set of Smart Board Resources for Number Talks is ready-to-use for grades K-5.

Document: Number Talks--Kindergarten

Based on the book Number Talks by Sherry Parrish, this document from shares an overview of number talks before launching into lists of strings for a variety of computational strategies and models appropriate for kindergarten.

Document: Number Talks--First Grade

Based on the book Number Talks by Sherry Parrish, this document from shares an overview of number talks before launching into lists of strings for a variety of computational strategies and models appropriate for first grade.

Document: Number Talks--Second Grade

Based on the book Number Talks by Sherry Parrish, this document from shares an overview of number talks before launching into lists of strings for a variety of computational strategies and models appropriate for second grade.

Power Point Slides: Intermediate Level Number Talks

Henry County Schools in Georgia make available a series of Power Points for intermediate teachers to use with Number Talks, along with a suggested order for presentation.

Document: Number Talks--Grades 3-5

Based on the book Number Talks by Sherry Parrish, this document from shares an overview of number talks before launching into lists of strings for a variety of computational strategies and models appropriate for grades 3-5.

Middle School Number Talks

This site, hosted by middle school teacher Fawn Nguyen, shares number talks used with middle school students, along with examples of student responses and a page with suggestions for giving number talks in the middle school classroom.

Research Supporting Number Talks

Research Paper: Impact of Number Talks on Mental Math Computation Abilities

If you’re seeking research to support the use of number talks in elementary classrooms, this masters research paper describes the effects of number talks on fourth grade students’ mental math computation abilities.

Research Paper: Impact of Number Talks on Number Sense

Conducted as a masters project in Eastern Washington, this paper outlines the impact of number talks on first grade students’ number sense.

Related Resources

Article: Building Facility with Numbers: Grade-Level-Appropriate Expectations for Mental Computation (G3-5)

This article emphasizes the importance of having a variety of strategies to be fluent with mental computation.

Number Talks Webinar

This 42 minute webinar from Georgia K-5 Mathematics Support gives an introduction to Number Talks geared toward K-HS teachers.