Math Talk… Moving from a Classroom to a Classroom Community

As educators continue to reflect on their practices in the classroom, one of the crucial components of the modern mathematics classroom is the shift from being teacher-centred to student-centred. One key element of this student-centred classroom is the integration of tasks and prompts to provide students with opportunities to not only engage in mathematics problems, but a focus on mathematics conversations, discussions, and ‘fights’.

“Asking good questions and encouraging students to build on one another’s thinking gives students voice and enables them to become more critical thinkers in mathematics.” (Making Space for Students to Think Mathematically, 2015)

Each of the prompts and resources below can be used to help teachers provide a safe space for taking mathematical risks, allow for exploration, and promote collaborative learning through the development of a math talk learning community. Even more importantly, these prompts can help develop this classroom community at all levels from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and beyond!

Daily Overview Math.png Daily Overview Math

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 11.52.12 AM.png Estimation 180

Developing number sense through a focus on estimation and reasoning of everyday math applications.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 11.59.59 AM.png Eyes on Math

Using images to stimulate classroom math conversation and reasoning around K-8 math concepts.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 11.44.49 AM.png Fraction Talks

Developing fractional and spatial reasoning through prompting images and diagrams.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 11.43.16 AM.png Graphing Stories

Focusing on the connection between real life applications of distance/time, height/time, etc…, and analyzing these relationships through the lens of graphical analysis.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 11.46.12 AM.png Open Middle Problems

Prompting students to explore different number or algebraic combinations to find the smallest/largest/etc… value of an expression.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 12.04.00 PM.png Number Talks

TVDSB Number Talks Resource

Short daily math prompts focused on using mental math strategies to develop number sense and computational fluency.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 11.46.23 AM.png Solve Me Mobiles

Developing algebraic reasoning through puzzles based on balancing shapes and numerical values.

tmwyk_header.png Talking Math With Your Kids


Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 11.46.41 AM.png Visual Patterns

Developing algebraic and spatial reasoning through the building and analysis of visual patterns.

wodb_logo.jpg Which One Doesn’t Belong?

Inspiring the analysis of given shapes, numbers, graphs, or equations to determine similar and differing properties and characteristics.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 11.14.00 AM.pngChDldu6U8AA5K0T.jpg-large.jpeg Would You Rather Math

Using mathematical reasoning to decide between two situations or paths.

Why Focus on Developing a Math Talk Community?

  • “Mathematical conversations …occur not only between the teacher and the student, but also between students within the classroom learning community.” ~ Asking Effective Questions
  • “To be successful, grand conversations require a safe and inclusive classroom environment that can support students in freely expressing their ideas and opinions and collaboratively constructing meaning.” ~ Grand Conversations in the Junior Classroom
  • “Dialogue that is centred on student solutions and interpretations supports the idea that concepts and ideas are connected to one another and that there are multiple ways to view a problem or interpret a text.” ~ The Third Teacher
  • “Develop a culture of listenership where students (and the teacher) listen to every student in a nonjudgmental, inquisitive and attentive way.” ~ Communication in the Math Classroom

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