Math can be a challenging subject, but with the right approach and tools, it can also be a fun and enjoyable experience. One such tool is number talks – a technique used to help students build mental math skills and develop a deeper understanding of math concepts. In this blog post, I will be sharing some tips on how to launch number talks in the upper elementary math class. Check out last week’s blog post here.
Understand the concept of number talks
Number talks are short, daily math conversations that focus on mental math strategies. During number talks, students are encouraged to share their thinking processes and solutions to math problems. Understanding the concept of number talks is the first step to launching them in your math class.
As with any new technique or tool, it’s important to start small. Begin by introducing one or two number talk problems each day and slowly increase the number of problems as your students become more comfortable with the process. Remember, number talks are about quality, not quantity.
Give students a clear outline
Before launching number talks, give your students a clear outline of what to expect. Explain the purpose, benefits, and expectations of number talks. Share the rules for participation, set time limits, and let them know that mistakes are okay.
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Use a variety of problems
It’s important to use a variety of problems during number talks to keep students engaged and challenged. Mix up the problems by using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. You can also incorporate problems that require students to use different strategies, such as estimation or rounding.
Encourage student participation
During number talks, encourage all students to participate. Make it clear that everyone’s ideas are valuable and that there are no right or wrong answers. As students share their thinking processes, encourage others to build on their ideas and ask questions.
By using number talks, upper elementary students can build mental math skills, develop a deeper understanding of math concepts, and improve their overall math performance. Remember, starting small, giving clear outlines, using a variety of problems, and encouraging student participation are key to launching number talks successfully. With consistent use, number talks can transform math class from a dreaded experience to an enjoyable and exciting one.