I Have A Real Hard Time With Number Talks And I Need Help
Well it could be, but I’ll elaborate 🙂
So I really do like the concept of number talks. Using things like Fawn’s http://www.mathtalks.net/ and http://www.visualpatterns.org/. Using Sara’s Visual Pattern strategy. Doing dot talks and having the kids use a thumbs up and then additional fingers to indicate how many ways they can visualize or find the solution. I think it’s great and I want to do it all in my classes. But I just haven’t been able to get it to work. It’s always just like 10% of the class that is actually into it, others just putting a thumbs up so I can move on and then saying “I don’t know” when I ask them to share. These number talk days also take the longest out of all my warm ups, probably because I want to go farther into them than most students want to. And it kills me because we’d get great work done on the patterns or number talks, but really it would be me and a few other students and the others would just be checked out, waiting for me to finish so they could copy it down.
As I’m writing this, I am realizing Dylan just basically posted about the same thing, and he actually put out a possible solution. Thank you Dylan. The issue I see in my classes for Dylan’s method is that it just takes a lot of time. I no longer have the luxury of the 90 minute block. I have 50 minutes, and that’s not a lot of time. But it might be a good idea to try this with partner work for a little bit next semester. Maybe I can shave it to 1-2 minutes on your own, 1 minute partner share, 1-2 minutes full class discussion? Maybe I just stay satisfied with not getting to the formula in the warm up unless we fly through it.
I will say this, though: I have way more students engaged in the visual patterns than in the number talks, like which is greater out of 88 x 36 or 86 x 38. I think numbers just freak some kids out.
I really really really want to keep doing visual patterns at least in my warm ups, but I just don’t know if I can make it actually happen for all of my students. Any other helpful hints? Does anyone else have this experience?
Thursday – Debate with Would You Rather Math and Which One Doesn’t Belong
Friday – Reflection (one good thing, what you learned, what you need help with) and a different warm up each week. Set, counting circles, graphing stories, other fun things from Lisa and Jessica’s TMC16 session. That could be a terrible idea or maybe it’ll be great. I don’t know. We’ll see.
I want to go back to having a sheet for warm ups. Here’s what I have so far. What do you guys think I should change? I’ll make it all pretty this weekend.
For the month of May, I offered students the chance to submit their own Daily Warm Up. There were 14 school days in May before final exams and I received 15 from students! I only allowed 4 Questions warm ups because I knew those would go quick. I required students to submit a picture or video, give a reason for why this is a good warm up, and give at least two possible responses for the warm up. They could submit Questions (only 4), Estimation, Would You Rather, Which One Doesn’t Belong, or something else. Estimation was the most common. I only got one Which One Doesn’t Belong.
Here’s an example from a student:
She said it’s a good warm up “because you have to use problem solving and there’s the cds for comparing”. She provided the real answer of 4.4 lbs and an underestimate of 1 lb and an overestimate of 20 lbs. She was so proud of this warm up and it was great to see students in the class trying to get information out of her so they could guess closest!
I also had one student submit the game Make 24. My students had so much fun playing it! It’s kind of like Set where students want to find the answer first, so it was a little tough to keep people interested once other students started raising their hand – would have to put some procedures in place if I had this as a warm up next year. But I think this could be a great warm up to reinforce the order of operations and mental math!
The best part about this was that students took pride in their work and other students could see that it wasn’t that difficult to do but got a lot of recognition for being great.
Je suis tellement impressionnée par mes étudiants.
I’m not sure if this counts as a “strategy”, but what has always been working for me is my warm up routine. No matter which class, my warm ups consistently get students ready for the day and engaged in the mathematics. In the past, my warm up routine looked like this. I’ve tweaked it this year and I will be tweaking it a little for next semester, as well, but it really still is working.
After seeing results, have students from each choice share their reasoning
Wednesday: Questions – every student in the class is called on to come up with a mathematical question about whatever has come up
Funny story about this one as an aside (skip this bullet if you just want the tried and true warm ups): I teach a remedial Algebra I class that meets every day and some of my students sometimes say inappropriate things in class because they just have no filter and care very little about the consequences of what they say. Well one Wednesday, I had a couple of other adults in my room (social worker, history teacher, substitute teacher for another teacher) and the random image that comes up is this one. I was so so so so worried about what this could turn into but my students know (and make sure I know) that we work with what comes up first at random. So I let it stay there and was ready to be fired the next day, but my students really blew me away. Every one came up with an awesome and appropriate question that had nothing to do with the fact that six women were in their underwear. Questions like “What is the average height?”, “What is the difference between the height of Diane and Solveig?”, and even, “How many more hairs does Liz have than Nikki?” (from a student who said their question was stolen). The social worker came up to me after we were done and said she was very worried with how I would proceed with this one but she was impressed at how well these students handled it – she didn’t know if it would have been the same with these students even in a health class. 🙂
Give students 15 sec to think, ask for an under- and overestimate, very quick discussion about those
Then, ask every student for their estimate and list them on the board
See if anyone wants to change theirs at the end before showing the answer
Do another one if there’s time (sequels are awesome)
These warm ups have still been great and I’m seeing engagement from students ranging from remedial Algebra I to Calculus!
I do want to tweak it a little bit, though. Since I’m on an A-B block, my students usually will see a full week’s worth of these in two weeks. I started with going through doing it where my A classes had the same warm up as my B classes, but I found it hard to make sure I was getting everything into the rotation (because of my lack of organization). However, I don’t like this day-of-the week thing because if there’s ever a day off of school, they’ll have the same days twice in a row. So I think that this semester I’m going to stay more organized and just go day by day with the warm ups and then try to add a few more in. I want to actually get rid of the Mindset Moment as a warm up and put it on days when I hand back assessments (which is still about every other week so the students won’t freak out – this is the one that has the least clear engagement and I know students are starting to not take these seriously as warm ups). I’m going to add in Visual Patterns, Set, Number/Dot Talks, anything else I see. I’m excited to see where this goes.