Number Talk

number talk

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In this number talk, Liz O’Neill focuses on structured student talk with her first grade learners. Students are given a 2-second quick look at 3 ten frames and are asked to determine that number (23) mentally. Using sentence frames, students share with their partner what number they saw and how they saw it. She uses the nonverbal communication strategy of “private thumbs up” for students to share when they think they know the answer. O’Neill reminds students of sentence stems for them to share their ideas with their partner (e.g. “What number did you see?” “I saw the number ____” “How did you see it?). She also reviews “Four L’s” for partner sharing: “Look at your partner,” “Lean toward your partner,” “Lower your voice,” and “Listen attentively.” In their sharing, students use the sentence stems to engage in mathematically focused conversations. O’Neill calls the students back together and elicits different ways that students found the number. Students share their way for finding the number, and then O’Neill challenges them to create a number model that matches their response (e.g. “Two tens and three ones is 20 + 3 = 23”). This number talk is illustrative of Common Core mathematical practice standard 1 (“make sense of problems and persevere in solving them”), as the students make sense of the problem. Students also are asked to create a number model out of their response, connecting to Common Core mathematical practice standard 3 (“construct viable arguments & critique the reasoning of others”).

number talk

1st Grade Math - Quick Look With Ten Frames
Liz O'Neill, M.H. Tobias Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School District, Daly City, California


LIZ O'NEILL: And we're going to be using our base ten...our ten frames again, the ten frames. And...who can remind me, why do we call a ten frame a ten frame? Kaylani?

STUDENT: There are ten blocks.

LIZ O'NEILL: There are ten blocks or ten...? Ten squares. Very good. And when you see that frame with 10 squares, do you even have to count the squares, or do you just know there's 10 already?

STUDENTS: There's ten.

LIZ O'NEILL: Absolutely. Okay. Give me a private thumbs up when you have a number in your head. Private thumbs up. You ready? Our question will be...

STUDENTS: What number did you see? I saw the number, blank. How did you see it?

LIZ O'NEILL: And here again "I saw" or "I counted" blank. Either way is okay. Get to our partner. Let's remind ourselves real quick of our "Four L's." And...here we go. One, look at your partner, lean towards your partner, lower your voice, listen attentively. Tap your shoulder partner. The person with the shortest hair, ask the questions first.

STUDENT: What number did you see?

STUDENT: I saw ten on top, ten in the middle, and three on the bottom.

STUDENT: I saw 23 dots. Ten on the top, ten in the middle, and three on the bottom.

LIZ O'NEILL: I heard some really great thinking going on over here, and I was very pleased with every partner group -- you were all doing exactly what I asked you to do. But what I want to do is get some different ideas, so that we can hear different ways that we came up with our number. What number did you see?

STUDENT: I saw 23.

LIZ O'NEILL: Okay. Okay, so, "I saw the number..." Beautiful! And...how did you see it? I'm going to count by 2's. 2...

STUDENT: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23.

LIZ O'NEILL: All right, Kaylani, now here's the tough part. Because we have a lot of 2's there, I need you to give me a number model to match that. Oh, let's have Kaylani do it! This is her turn! Okay. Hang on a second. You know what? I'm going to lose track. You know what we're going to do here? We're going to do a little...to help us out, we're going to count how many 2's we have, how many partners we have, so we can keep track here, or else I'm going to totally lose track because my brain cannot keep track of all that. Let's count how many partner groups we have. 1, 2, 3. Okay, now let's count and double check to make sure we agree with this.

STUDENTS: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.

LIZ O'NEILL: What number did you see?

STUDENT: I saw 23 dots.

LIZ O'NEILL: Oops! I saw the number...

STUDENT: I saw the number 23.

LIZ O'NEILL: Okay. And how did you see it?

STUDENT: I saw 10 on the top, and 10 in the middle, and 3 on the bottom.

LIZ O'NEILL: Okay! And remember how you told me that? How did you describe that for me when you saw this 10 on the top? What did you call that?

STUDENT: Two tens and three ones.

LIZ O'NEILL: Oh! So you saw two tens and three ones. Okay. Two tens and three ones. Can you make a number model for me? What would we say for two tens? What would we call that? What number would we say?

STUDENT: 20...

LIZ O'NEILL: 20.

STUDENT: Plus...three equals 23.

LIZ O'NEILL: What number did you see?

STUDENT: I saw the number 23.

LIZ O'NEILL: How did you see 23?

STUDENT: I saw ten on the top, ten in the middle, and three on the bottom.

LIZ O'NEILL: Okay. So you saw 10 on the top, 10 in the middle, and 3 on the bottom. 10 on top, and 10 in middle, and...did I spell that right? Yes. And 3 on bottom. Give me a number model, please.

STUDENT: 10 plus 10 plus 3 equals 23.

LIZ O'NEILL: Okay. Let's double check on that.

STUDENT: 10, 20, 23.

LIZ O'NEILL: 23. Okay. Katherine, do you still see 40? Or, what number do you see now, Katherine.

STUDENT: I see the number 23.

LIZ O'NEILL: Okay, so you're good? You see 23 now? You're good? All right. If Katherine's good, it's all good.