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I put my son on a plane back to Connecticut this morning (sniff, sniff…), so my winter break is now officially over.  Even though I’ve been back in school since the 7th, I’ve been a bit relaxed with my blogging, but it’s time to get cracking again!

Our district bought each campus a couple of fabulous resources for developing number sense this year–the It Makes Sense books.  There is one for ten-frames and a relatively new one for the hundreds chart.  Both books feature quick and easy, yet powerful, routines and games for building number sense.  One activity I particularly liked is in the hundreds chart book and is called Look, Quick!  You know how much I love dot cards and subitizing, well this activity is the next logical step.  You flash shaded 10 x 10 grids and students tell you the number they see and how they see it. The book provides a blank grid and the instructions are to shade the numbers.  I thought that would take too long and be a bit cumbersome (I like to keep the class moving…), so I created shaded grids for the numbers from 10 to 100 that can be quickly flashed.  You can grab them at my TpT store.

The key to this activity is having students not just tell what number they see, but also to explain how they see the number.  For example, look at the first grid above.  Think of different ways students might know that number is 48.  Now think about how much valuable information you’d collect from the explanations.  Consider these explanations:

• It’s 48.  I knew it was 48 because it’s 2 less than 50.
• I knew it was 48 because I saw 4 rows of 10 and then I counted 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48.
• I saw 4 rows of 10.  Two squares weren’t shaded on the last row, so I knew that was 8.  So it’s 48.
• There are 4 rows of 10.  Then I saw 5 and 3 more, so that’s 8.  It’s 48 all together.
Don’t all of these students have different levels of number sense?  But you wouldn’t know that if you only asked what number they saw, because they all saw 48.  Ah, the power of Number Talks.