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Planning for Grade Level Work Sessions

Tomorrow is a day filled with grade level work sessions focused around starting number talks in classrooms.  We will be using Sherry Parrish’s book, Number Talks, to help frame each of the conversations as we discuss the purpose of number talks–to help students build mental math and computation strategies.

We will select an operation, a focus strategy, and the set of number talk problems that will fit the group of students in each of the classrooms where we’ll be working.  Each of the grade level conversations will then focus on making some predictions about the strategies the kiddos will use; which students will participate; how the level of participation might change during the number talk; and how kids use of strategy might change over the course of the number talk.

And, then we’ll try out each of the number talks we planned–fishbowl style.  I’ll facilitate the number talk with the kids and my colleagues will collect data, make notes about how kids’ thinking and ideas change over the course of the number talk, and record the various strategies kids use.  Afterwards, we’ll debrief the learning that occurred during the number talk:  what did we see and hear, why do we think those things happened, what did we learn, and what’s next. (Debriefing protocol based on the work of Barry Tambara.)

Tonight, I’m organizing the notes I made yesterday from the book Intentional Talk:  How to Structure and Lead Productive Mathematical Discussions by Elham Kazemi and Allison Hintz to include in tomorrow’s conversations, as well as, selecting some number talk problems that we might want to consider using.  The note taking/record sheet is all printed and ready to go.

Here’s one of the number talk problems that I predict might generate a variety of strategies as kids determine how many dots there are in total in the three ten-frame cards, by using the question structure from Sherry Parrish’s Number Talks:

How many dots do you see and how do you see them?


What strategies do you think the students will use to determine the number of dots?






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