In Kinder, our Number Talks are growing steady. After starting this about a month ago, I am feeling a lot more confident. The routine is set and my little ones get very excited to share their thinking and their thinking surprises me every day. They are learning to use more than one strategy, they are learning to agree or disagree with respect, and more importantly (and this is a bonus with Number Talks), kindergarteners are learning to quietly draw their thumbs up sign instead of shouting their answers.
In this month, I have used dots and ten frames starting with quantities below five and slowly growing up to ten. While a group of students can easily do quantities over ten we still need to reinforce, refine their five-ness knowledge (as demonstrated in the pics).
Recording students thinking is the part that I am least confident. Are students really making mathematical connections or lucky guesses? Are they learning strategies from their classmates? Are students growing in number knowledge? I tend to be almost over optimistic of the growth my students make (I like to think cup half full) but I also don’t want to miss the need to strengthen their basic mathematical skills (that keeps me up sometimes). So we keep going back to five-ness and try a different, new arrangement, or a different mode. Soon, we will be adding rekenrecks (I should have done this already, I know) to add to our repertoire of Number Talk tools and increase our five-ness talks.
I am very excited to see how will number chats be at the end of this year. How their mathematical skills will grow and how far will they go to express mathematical thinking.. till then lets keep talking about numbers!