Monday, September 22, 2014

Number Sense Conversations

I've put the elevator speeches to rest. Today's two minute speech went well... I think. As one event concludes, I'm excited to resume my ongoing thoughts about number sense and students.

Working with teachers and students, I can't help but be inundated with thoughts about things I miss, look forward to, and will be challenged with this year in and out of the classroom. However, there's one thing I crave more than anything else, and that's working with students, which usually entails having number sense conversations with students.

Today, I had rich number sense conversations with students in Math 7, Math 8, and high school Algebra classes. As I sit here and put the finishing touches on the slides for my upcoming conference workshop, Get Students to Argue in Class With Number Sense Activities, I can't put to words how valuable it is to allow students to talk about math in math class. That's an oversimplification, but we seriously need to provide our students with opportunities to talk to each other, even argue with each other. Mathematical Practice 3:
Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Steve Leinwand sums it up best:
These nine words may be the most important words in the entire Common Core effort. 
Last December at CMC North, I was honored to give an Ignite talk about something I'm passionate about: number sense and student conversations. It's titled: Number Sense: I Don't Like This Game Anymore.

Students are hungry for number sense conversations in math class. I really do believe. If you don't believe me, just put up this picture in your class and ask your students, "How long would it take to use all of that?" Then ask them to convince you of their conclusion.

As October quickly approaches, I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming conference this school year. In the meantime, I hope to post more about number sense.

Number Sense,

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your post about the importance of student conversations in math class. I especially enjoyed the quote you included from Steve Leinwand. In professional development yesterday, our trainer referenced Lev Vygotsky in our discussions about the importance of students talking about their mathematical ideas. She said that according to Vygotsky "language is an accelerator to thinking and understanding." I love the word accelerator in that phrase. It is wonderful to realize that if I create opportunities for student conversation during class that I am actually helping my students increase their understanding at an increasing rate.