In my classroom, I started using counting circles to be a solution to the problem of students not being able to perform mental math or have any mental math strategies. Counting circles has worked great for me but I’m ready to start expanding. A friend of mine recommended buying Pamela Weber Harris’s new lesson and activities book that stems from her first book Building Powerful Numeracy for Middle & High School Students. I purchase the new book and start thumbing through it. I realize that she refers to her first printed book a lot. This gets to thinking….I realize that I barely read any of it and it is sitting right there on my shelf! So I got to reading!!!!!
This book is the expansion that I’ve been looking for. Every move in this book is deliberate and calculated. She discusses numeracy and the importance of it in our students’ math education, in order for them to be successful for more advanced mathematical concepts.
The part that I loved about this book is that she gives you sets (number strings) that you could use for specific strategies and/or specific classes. She expands the number strings into Pre-Calculus and students (and teachers) see the application of strategies throughout different courses.
How do I see myself using this resource?
In December, I presented Number Talks to the curriculum coordinators in our complex area. They were K-12 curriculum coordinators and my number talks session mainly focused on using number strings from Sherry Parrish’s book. Not until my secondary teachers asked me about their grade levels did I make the connection to Pamela Harris’s resource and that I had her book for teachers to borrow in our professional resource library. I borrowed out the books and looked through mine again and now I feel ready to start working with secondary teachers in implementing number talks as daily routine in their classrooms. Pamela’s original book has the number strings I would use for my daily routine but her new book, Lesson and Activities for Building Powerful Numeracy, has amazing lesson and activities that you can just use straight from the book! These are my favorite types of resources to purchase as a teacher because you can just use the activities right from the book which minimizing the adapting teachers have to make. BUT…..She doesn’t stop there!! She also has sample dialogue between student and teacher for various activities in the book. This is the best help for a teacher who needs that extra support to get their students discussing mathematics and/or explaining their reasoning.
I can’t wait to start sharing this new addition to my counting circle routine and to also help teacher who are ready to stop the blame game in their classrooms!
Enjoy fellow teacher friends!