I’ve had a wonderful last two days visiting some of my schools and engaging in conversations with students, educators and administrators about what they are learning about math. I’ve used an organizer to gather my learning and thoughts with 4 simple questions:
1) What are your students learning in math?
2) What are your teachers learning in math?
3) What are you, as a leader, learning in math?
4) How have you modified your leadership practices to impact what you are learning?
What I’ve seen and heard have me believing that we are making steady progress in mathematics. Our board math goal is focused on supporting and improving student thinking in Number Sense. In support of this goal, many of our schools have been using Number Talks with their students. In a Number Talk, based on the book by Sherry Parish, children are asked to communicate their mathematical thinking when presenting and justifying solutions to problems they solve mentally. These exchanges lead to the development of more accurate, efficient and flexible strategies. Across the 8 classrooms I visited, I saw consistent processes and procedures used: an intentional use of wait time for students to think about more than one strategy, a gesture used by students to demonstrate to the teacher the number of strategies they have used and a visual recording of a series of Number Talk threads. What really struck me was the labelling and naming of strategies for students. What we label and name gets noticed. See the tweet below:
One school has even invited parents into the learning they are doing about Number Talks:
So I’m feeling optimistic about math in board. I commend our students, educators and administrators for the hard work, dedication and focus they are giving to math and the math goal in their classrooms and schools.
If you want to learn more about Number Talks, check out this article: