Number Talks Cheat Sheet
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
 Start with specific problems in mind
 Be prepared to offer a strategy from a previous student
 It is ok to put a student’s strategy on the backburner
 Limit your number talks to about 15 minutes
 Ask a question, don’t tell!
The teacher asks questions:
 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
Strategies by Grade Level
Grade  Addition  Subtraction 
K 
Counting all/counting on Making tens

Counting back
Adding up 
1 
Counting all/counting on Doubles/near doubles Making tens Breaking up number into their place value Adding up in chunks

Adding up
Removal in parts 
2 
Counting all/counting on Doubles/near doubles Making tens Breaking up number into their place value Adding up in chunks

Adding up
Removal in parts 
3  Breaking numbers into their place value
Adding up in chunks Compensation Problem using a landmark number 
Adding up Negative numbers Constant difference Adjusting 1 number to make an easier problem Number line Part – whole box model

Repeated addition Skip counting Doubling and halving making an array as a model Partial products Using landmark numbers 
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