One of my goals this year was to really focus in on developing a strong number sense in my kindergarteners. I want them to really grow in their understanding of how numbers work, what they mean, and how they relate to one another and to the world around us.
As with most anything, the best way to become stronger at something is to practice! I wanted a fun, simple way to incorporate more number sense into our day, so this year I am working hard at having daily, meaningful number talks EVERY day!
Number Talks in Kindergarten
Each day, after the main calendar routine (which is pretty quick- you must keep everything at a good pace in kindergarten or I can promise you, you will lose them to floor rolling and carpet lint picking, just sayin’) we count the items in the “counting cup.”
I use a plain container – any jar type item would work.
Right now we are using counting bears, but I change up the items every so often (tiles, cubes, etc).
For now, since we are working with numbers 1-20, I line the items up on the windowsill for the students to see the entire amount.
We then turn and talk, and think aloud and share about all the ways we can represent that number of items.
Here is our example on the white board for the number 6.
The ways we represented 6 are: number word, numeral, tally marks, objects, and equation.
We get the equation by separating the items and looking at them in two separate places.
I take a certain number in my hand (3 in the example below, but 4 when we did our equation) and we count how many are left out.
I guide them through the understanding that the number of bears in my hand, plus the number left out, equals the number we started with.
I want them to visually see and practice the taking apart and putting together of sets as we begin to develop a sense of addition and subtraction.
We do a few take aparts and put togethers to further help them understand that no matter how I separate them, there are still 6 total bears. We then add the equation to our chart.
Related Resource: Kindergarten Number Printables
This may sound like it would take awhile, but I can assure you it does not! Our whole calendar routine, including the number talk is 10 min max!
Plus, with turning and talking they are having engagement with peers and furthering their understanding (turn and talk is another thing I am trying to incorporate more and more!)
Probably the most rewarding thing I have seen (besides their understanding of numbers) from these number talks is this – A student doing number talks with their friends during our daily center/free exploration time. Made my heart happy!
Do you do number talks in the classroom? Have any great tips or ideas to add? Share in the comments below! I would love to learn from you!