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Math Talk - Promoting Higher Level Thinking

Can't remember if I've told y'all about the very cool Math training I went through last year.  Very intense.  I learned a lot.  I spent at least 3 hours a month all year learning about 2nd grade math.  Best part: the class was split into 2 equal shares - mathematical thinking and fostering math talk.

For real, it has changed me, as both a teacher and a mathematician.  Example: I now always calculate tip in my head.  (Really and truly, I was one of those folks who used the tip calculator on my phone... Not proud of it, just sayin.')  Another example, I never ever tell kiddos they "can't" take a larger number away from a smaller number.  Everyone know why?  Because a few years later, they'll be expected to learn about negative numbers!!  We'll be discouraging their mathematical thinking before it even begins.  Now I say, "If you subtract a larger number from a smaller number, you'll have to work with a negative number, and you won't be learning about those for a few more years, so let's see if we need to ungroup instead."

Truly, It's the little things that make a huge difference.  Like with Math Talk.  Here's a link to a little freebie I used with my awesome teammate Casey last year when we were both fostering math talk with cue cards for the kiddos to refer to.
Also, I created a huge bundle of Higher Level Thinking Questions for Math Talk.  Click the pic below to take a closer look and then try the preview to download 6 free cards to try in your classroom.
Click to Preview on TpT
To me, the concept of encouraging discourse in math is very similar to methods I have always used to promote higher-level discourse in ELA.  How do you foster Math Talk in your classroom?


  1. The math training that I've had in the past few years has totally changed how I think about and use math as an adult for sure. I totally understand! And yes, I've come to realize how important math talks are.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. I like the cards! I always try to answer kids with a question- I always want to hear what they think and their reasoning on why they think that or to just cause the kids to talk to their math partners about it.


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