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Number Talks

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What young children know and understand can never be fully determined through paper and pencil tasks. Teachers can get much more complete and useful information if they watch and interact with the children while they are doing mathematical tasks. Number Talks are one such way to interact with the children. How the children respond reveals their level of understanding.

Number talks were developed for classroom teachers to engage students in “mental math” through grappling with interesting mathematics problems. Educators can use number talks regularly as introductions to the day’s mathematical practice, as “warm ups” for other lessons, or as stand-alone extended engagements with mathematical concepts.

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