Through this number talk process, students are given a problem that the teacher records on the board of in a notebook. Then the students solve the problem mentally using strategies other than standard algorithm. While students are thinking, they will use silent signals to indicate the various strategies that they have come up with. After some time, I give students the opportunity for students to turn and talk to share their answer and how they got it by manipulating the numbers. After students turn and talk, I call on a few students to share their answer. I may get 1 or 2 options at this time. Usually having the opportunity to discuss with a classmate weeds out the incorrect responses. Finally, I call on a few students to defend one the answers that were previously given. I will hear from maybe 3 specific students about the particular strategies they used to solve the problem. But what about the other 22 students? I am not sure if they are able to answer that question accurately. I have no idea whether they have the number sense to decompose the numbers, using other computation facts, or use compensation to make “friendlier numbers.”
This is why I have implemented a new number talk routine within the classroom. When I am focusing on a particular strategy, I will explicitly teach this strategy and give students opportunities to practice it with specifically designed number talk problems. Then, I can assign a number talk as a formative on Google Classroom. From this point students are to create an Explain Everything presentation that allows them to speak and record their screen at the same time. This allows the students to show how they solved the number talk problem, yet also provide explanation as to WHY they are doing the steps they did. Students are successful at creating the videos because they have used this app over the course of the school year for different projects. Attaching it to Google Classroom was something new. Students have to “Add” the file that they “Export” from Explain Everything.
Now, I have access to all 25 of my students thinking and I can assess them on a variety of things such as the use of math vocabulary, accuracy, and efficiency (correct use of strategy).
As of right now, I have only gone through this process about three times. I have shown several examples to the class when I have felt that students did an excellent job demonstrating their math knowledge. This gives the students an idea of what is expected for this assignment. In addition, I would like to create a rubric that can be used to assess the students on their skills and provide them feedback quickly rather than typing private comments.
Here are some examples of number talks made by my students: