It is always so fun when I have the chance to hang out with my #MTBoS friends in person! This summer Max was in town, so I not only got to have lunch with him but also meet his amazing wife and puppy! Of course, during lunch, we chatted a lot about the math work we are doing with teachers and some of the routines we are finding really valuable in their classrooms. From these two topics of conversation, Number Talk Karaoke emerged.
We both agreed that while Number Talks are invaluable in a classroom, it can be challenging to teach teachers how to use them in the classrooms. As much as we could model Number Talks during PD and show videos of them in action, it is still not the same as a teacher experiencing it for themselves in their classroom with their students. There is so much to be said for practicing all of the components that are so important during the facilitation with your own students.
That conversation then turned into two questions: What are these important components? and How do we support teachers in these areas? We discussed the fact that there are many books on mathematical talk in the classroom to support the work of Number Talk implementation, however the recording of student explanations during a Number Talk is often left to chance. What an important thing to leave to chance when students often write mathematics based on what they see modeled. We brainstormed ways teachers could practice this recording piece together, in a professional development setting, where students were not available.
Enter Number Talk Karaoke.
During Number Talk Karaoke, the facilitator:
- Plays an audio recording of students during a Number Talk.
- Asks teachers to record students’ reasoning based solely on what they hear students saying.
- Pair up teachers to compare their recordings.
- Ask teacher to discuss important choices they made in their recording during the Number Talk.
Max and I decided to get a recording and try it out for ourselves. So, the next week, I found two of the 3rd grade teachers in my building who were willing to give it a go!
They wanted to try out the recording piece themselves, so they asked me to facilitate the Number Talk. They sat in the back of the room, with their backs to the students and SMARTBoard so they could not see what was happening. All they had in front of them was a paper with the string of problems on it.
Before seeing our recording sheets below, try it out for yourself. In this audio clip of the Number Talk, you will hear two students explain how they solved the first problem, 35+35. The first student explains how he got 70 and the second student explains how he got 80.
- What do you think was really important in your recording?
- What choices did you have to make?
- What question(s) would you ask the second student based on what you heard?
The talk went on with three more problems that led to many more recording decisions than the ones made in just those two students, but I imagine you get the point. I have to say, when I was facilitating, I tried to be really clear in my questioning knowing that two others were trying to capture what was being said. That makes me wonder how this activity could be branched out into questioning as well!
Here was my recording on the SMARTBoard with the students:
Here are the recordings from the two teachers in the back of the room:
We sat and chatted about the choices we made, what to record and how to record certain things. We also began to wonder how much our school/district-based Number Talk PD impacted the way we record in similar ways.
Doesn’t this seem like a lot of fun?!? It can be done in person like mine was, or take the audio and try it with a room of teachers, like Max did! <– I am waiting on his blog for this:) Keep us posted, we would love to hear what people do with this!