# Number Talks Cheat Sheet

Number Talk Quick Start Guide

What does Number Talks look like?

• Students are near each other so they can communicate with each other (central meeting place)
• Students are mentally solving problems
• Students are given thinking time
• Thumbs up show when they are ready
• Teacher is recording students’ thinking

Communication

• Having to talk out loud about a problem helps students clarify their own thinking
• Allow students to listen to other’s strategies and value other’s thinking
• Gives the teacher the opportunity to hear student’s thinking

Mental Math

• When you are solving a problem mentally you must rely on what you know and understand about the numbers instead of memorized procedures
• You must be efficient when computing mentally because you can hold a lot of quantities in your head

Thumbs Up

• This is just a signal to let you know that you have given your students enough time to think about the problem
• If will give you a picture of who is able to compute mentally and who is struggling
• It isn’t as distracting as a waving hand

Teacher as Recorder

• Allows you to record students’ thinking in the correct notation
• Provides a visual to look at and refer back to
• Allows you to keep a record of the problems posed and which students offered specific strategies

Purposeful Problems

• Start with small numbers so the students can learn to focus on the strategies instead of getting lost in the numbers
• Use a number string (a string of problems that are related to and scaffold each other)

Starting Number Talks in your Classroom

• Be prepared to offer a strategy from a previous student
• It is ok to put a student’s strategy on the backburner
• Ask a question, don’t tell!

• Who would like to share their thinking?
• Who did it another way?
• How many people solved it the same way as Billy?
• Does anyone have any questions for Billy?
• Billy, can you tell us where you got that 5?
• How did you figure that out?
• What was the first thing your eyes saw, or your brain did?
• What are Number Talks and Why are they

Students need to understand that:

• Numbers are composed of smaller numbers.
• Numbers can be taken apart and combined with other numbers to make new numbers.
• What we know about one number can help us figure out other numbers.
• What we know about parts of smaller numbers can help us with parts of larger numbers.
• Numbers are organized into groups of tens and ones (and hundreds, tens and ones and so forth.)
• What we know about numbers to 10 helps us with numbers to 100 and beyond