Series Content Conversations: Strategies for ELLs: Engaging in Productive Struggle: Number Talks
Math.Practice.MP1
 Common core State Standards
 Math: Math
 Practice: Mathematical Practice Standards

MP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Mathematically proficient students start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for entry points to its solution. They analyze givens, constraints, relationships, and goals. They make conjectures about the form and meaning of the solution and plan a solution pathway rather than simply jumping into a solution attempt. They consider analogous problems, and try special cases and simpler forms of the original problem in order to gain insight into its solution. They monitor and evaluate their progress and change course if necessary. Older students might, depending on the context of the problem, transform algebraic expressions or change the viewing window on their graphing calculator to get the information they need. Mathematically proficient students can explain correspondences between equations, verbal descriptions, tables, and graphs or draw diagrams of important features and relationships, graph data, and search for regularity or trends. Younger students might rely on using concrete objects or pictures to help conceptualize and solve a problem. Mathematically proficient students check their answers to problems using a different method, and they continually ask themselves, \"Does this make sense?\" They can understand the approaches of others to solving complex problems and identify correspondences between different approaches.
Math.Practice.MP3
 Common core State Standards
 Math: Math
 Practice: Mathematical Practice Standards

MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Mathematically proficient students understand and use stated assumptions, definitions, and previously established results in constructing arguments. They make conjectures and build a logical progression of statements to explore the truth of their conjectures. They are able to analyze situations by breaking them into cases, and can recognize and use counterexamples. They justify their conclusions, communicate them to others, and respond to the arguments of others. They reason inductively about data, making plausible arguments that take into account the context from which the data arose. Mathematically proficient students are also able to compare the effectiveness of two plausible arguments, distinguish correct logic or reasoning from that which is flawed, andif there is a flaw in an argumentexplain what it is. Elementary students can construct arguments using concrete referents such as objects, drawings, diagrams, and actions. Such arguments can make sense and be correct, even though they are not generalized or made formal until later grades. Later, students learn to determine domains to which an argument applies. Students at all grades can listen or read the arguments of others, decide whether they make sense, and ask useful questions to clarify or improve the arguments.
Math.2.NBT.B.5
Common core State Standards
 Math: Math
 2: Grade 2
 NBT: Number & Operations in Base Ten
 B: Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract

5:
Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
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Discussion and Supporting Materials
Thought starters
 What tools does Ms. LaCour use to support her ELL students?
 What are the benefits of having students lead the number talk?
 How do number talks encourage students to try new math strategies?
In Partnership With:
School Details
Acorn Woodland Elementary School1025 81st Avenue
Oakland CA 94621
Population: 292
Data Provided By:
Teachers
Monique LaCour
Newest
TCH Special
Webinar / Engagement / Distance Learning
TCH Special
Webinar / Leadership / Distance Learning
TCH Special
Webinar / Engagement / Distance Learning
TCH Special
Webinar / Leadership / Distance Learning
118 Comments
Felise DeCastro Jan 15, 2021 1:24pm
What a fabulous learning community! I appreciate how Ms. LaCour has built in so many routines for the students to learn from each other and engage in the productive struggle. This piece around strengthening students' ability to take risks, make bloopers, and grow is critical. The selfreflection at the end of the lesson also supports students becoming more selfaware of themselves as learners (I wish I had this type of instruction in elementary school). Shout out to Acorn Woodland  what an amazing community of teachers and learners! I was lucky enough to do my student teaching there many moons ago.
Adam Orenstein Jun 16, 2020 3:07pm
The math lesson looks great. The teacher engages her students to solve a subtraction problem. Instead of showing one method through lecture as if that method is the only way to subtract, she has students work in groups and try different strategies. Then the students work together in their groups and evaluate each strategy. What the teacher is doing is what I was trying to do in a new course at my school tried called quantitative reasoning developed by Carnegie Math Pathways. That course involved a lot of group work and one of its goals is to teach the idea of productive struggle. Namely students must struggle and work hard to solve a problem, as the teacher in the video was showing. I really like how the teacher taught that it is also okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of productive struggle. I wish somebody taught me that when I was younger. This kind of encouragement is what I want to put towards my students when I teach. I want my students to not give up and work hard. I especially like how the teacher said she even makes mistakes. This helps relate her to the students.
Teaching to work together is important with the world as it is. It is very easy to collaborate thanks to advances in technology. Learning from each other and with each other is very engaging.
What also really stood out to me was the feedback with the sticky notes. Students give each other feedback, even themselves if they want to, and what the class can do to make the lesson better on the sticky notes. This will help students see how important feedback is and will help students learn how to give and receive constructive criticism. We all can improve in many ways. Feedback is how we learn to improve and fix what we did wrong.
Sara Davis Jun 16, 2020 1:53pm
I really liked that these students were told that they could solve the problem any way they wanted. For these students to use all the strategies they have been shown gives them power over their learning. Many times I have talked with teachers and their students can only do a problem one way to get the answer correct. This is limiting these students and they need to feel like they can do it however they feel comfortable. I also like the idea of a math talk. I have always thought that it is important for students to learn from each other and this is the perfect way to do that. It would work well for any level of student as well which is great.
Daniel Riseman Jun 16, 2020 12:34pm
Ms. LaCour is an inspirational teacher. I love how she empowers her students, allowing them to experiment with new strategies in small groups. Instead of forcing one way of calculating a subtraction problem, Ms. LaCour carefully watches as her students engage in a productive struggle to think of new ways to solve the problem. Ms. LaCour recognizes the vast potential of her students. As she says, "Students are going to learn a million times more from one another than just from a teacher providing input." By focusing on collaboration and teamwork, Ms. LaCour has created a compassionate and caring classroom. Students engage in academic conversations and debate; they never attack each other on a personal level. Rather, they support each other's thinking. Students recognize that they are all valued members of the learning community, "building [their] understanding together."
It is wonderful that Ms. LaCour views student mistakes in a positive manner. According to Ms. LaCour, "Mistakes help us to learn." As a result, she has built a classroom in which students are willing to take intellectual risks and push themselves because they know that their teacher will always support them. Students are highly valued members of the classroom community, and following lessons, Ms. LaCour provides students the opportunity to provide feedback on how the lesson went. Through such selfreflection and constructive criticism, students view themselves as equals in the classroom. By truly valuing every student, Ms. LaCour has built an incredible learning community in which students communicate clearly and effectively with each other.
Clare Sorokes Jun 16, 2020 12:20pm
I loved that the students were encouraged to use as many strategies as possible. Often I find myself only teaching one method to solve problems when I should be celebrating different methods. I liked that sentence frames were provided and that students had preassigned roles in the discussions to keep everyone involved. I have been wanting to use postit notes for exit tickets in my classroom and this was a great example of how I could incoporate them!