# Student-Led Number Talk

As I read Max Ray’s (@maxmathforum) book, “Powerful Problem Solving,” I can’t help but reflect on my own classroom experiences.

In the chapter about Communication and Community, Max writes,

“Modeling good listening skills and acting like a dinner party host (bringing together interesting people with good ideas, asking questions or providing activities to help them start talking, and then backing out of the way and encouraging them to talk to one another) go a long way in helping students pick up on the idea that their peers have useful things to say.”

At the end of the year my students began asking if they could “do a Number Talk” with the class and record it with their ipad to watch later. I hadn’t thought of this, but thought it would be interesting to see how it went so, “Sure!”  Before presenting, they had to show me the string of problems designed with a purpose and the questions they would ask the class as the number talk progressed. Wow, do you learn a lot about yourself and their role as active listeners when they start planning!

This was their string and questions….

When I looked at this, I was so surprised to see they DO really listen to the questions I ask during class. Don’t get me wrong, they always are such great communicators/listeners during class, but I never knew how much they internalized the questions themselves. It is my hope they keep these questions in the back of their mind as they continue future math work, both in groups and individually. How cool to think that as a student is working on any math problem, they are continually thinking things like, “What strategies could I use?” or “Does this always work?” Metacognition at its finest!

They designed a string in which they said partial products (distributive property) was the goal. It obviously was, however the decimal point movement when multiplying by 10 also arose since we had done previous work with multiplying by powers of 10. They did a beautiful job and the rest of the students were such amazing participants.

Another student had filmed the talk for them on their ipad and it was so interesting to watch them later go back, watch it, and talk about what they should have said or how funny something they said sounded. It was such a great experience for all of us and definitely something I will build more regularly into my class next year!

– Kristin

This was their revised/follow-up one since the x10 didn’t really capture their intent…they wanted to try another!