**What is math talk?**

Math talk is simply talking about math! There is nothing about math that is off
limits to talk about! Talk about math
concepts. Talk about math
discoveries. Talk about math mistakes. Talk about math vocabulary. Talk about how students approached a problem
or different ways they solved a problem.
Talk about it all! Math
discussions can be had in small groups or as a whole group. Teachers, we have to be the ones to
intentionally facilitate this and teach our kids the importance of talking
about math.

If you haven’t read Classroom Discussions in Math, I highly
recommend that you pick it up! After reading it for a graduate course, I was hooked on math talk! The
authors (along with many other math gurus) make a strong case for why it is
critical and necessary for kids to talk about math in the classroom.

In order to have the most productive math discussions, we
have to teach our students how to talk math in a way that is beneficial for
their learning and the learning of others.
As we head back to school in the fall, one thing I absolutely plan to
incorporate into the first weeks of school is teaching students

*why*and*how*to talk about math.**Why do we talk about math?**

•
Talking about math allows us to share our
thoughts.

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Talking about math helps us clarify our own
thoughts.

•
Talking about math helps us understand what we
do and do not understand.

•
Talking about math prepares us for the future.

Students will be more willing to participate in math
discussions if they understand why they are doing it. When we talk about math, it forces us to
organize our own thinking so that we can share our thoughts with others. When we listen to others talk about math, it
gives us the chance to compare our reasoning with the reasoning of others and
decide how they fit together (how’s that for Mathematical Practice #3?). Math talk teaches us how to interact with
each other in a positive way, while working towards a common goal.

**How do we talk about math?**

I plan to come up with our math talk expectations together
as a class, but I will be sure to guide students towards several key ideas.

•
We will be kind and respectful at all times.

•
We will all participate in math
discussions.

•
We will listen and respond to the ideas of
others.

•
We will support one another so that we all can
learn.

It is important that a “safe” environment is established so
that students feel comfortable sharing their ideas. Students must understand that listening is
just as much for their own benefit as it is for the speaker. We cannot learn if we do not listen. We cannot contribute to the conversation if
we have not first listened. Math talk
works best when everyone is working together towards learning.

I hope you are convinced how powerful incorporating math
talk into your daily routine can be for your students’ learning! I can’t wait
to share with y’all the activities I have planned for the first weeks of school to set
the stage for a year of amazing math talk! If you're ready for some fun, check out Math Talk in the Classroom (Part 2)!

References:

Chapin, S. H., O'Connor, M. C., Anderson, N. C., & Chapin, S. H. (2013). Classroom Discussions in Math: A teacher's guide for using talk moves to support the common core and more, K-6.

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