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I love to talk. Do all teachers love the sound of their own voice like me?

It took me years to learn to stand back and let my students do most of the work. Thru trial and error I learned that the most authentic learning comes when I pose a question and let my students devise and execute a plan to solve it with minimal help from me.

I have my students sit in groups so collaboration is a quick transition. I use daily fluency chats so my students have practice with math talk. I want to hear rich vocabulary and concise explanation of different number sense strategies being used from my students. Not only is their understanding strengthening, but I am able to formally assess my students on a daily basis. Like writing, verbal explanation takes time for students to master. The more practice students have the more accountable talk you will hear.

For the first few weeks model your own thinking. Encourage students to find alternative ways of solving one problem. Teaching math fluency thru number sense is a great topic for accountable talk because of its diversity. There are countless ways to solve problems which naturally promotes discussion.

Below is a prompt my students completed and their responses.

Student A: I subtracted 33 from each number to get an equation of 300 – 134. Then I was able to mentally subtract because I made a multiple of 100 (300). I got the answer of 166.

Student B: I added 67 to each number, to make 400 – 234. My answer is 166.

Student C: I added 67 to just 333 to make 400. Then I subtracted 167 from 400 to get 233. Then I subtracted 67 from it to get 166.

Student D: I changed 330 to 300 and 167 to 170. 300 – 170 = 130. I then added back the adjusted amounts of 33 and 3 to equal 166.

This discussion is far more meaningful than any “drill and kill” worksheet containing math facts. Students are mastering facts and building problem solving skills.

My Math Fluency Alternative Curriculum contains resources for implementing accountable talk in your math block. Click here to view this resource.

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