With an emphasis on math within the classrooms, I thought that this would be a great time to talk about math talk. Math talk is quite simple, and you already do a lot within your classroom without thinking about it. With ECERS-3 being a more prominent these days one way to increase your scores is to enhance math in your centers and to add math talk as you go through your day.
• Teacher-Child Interactions Around Number Sense: The more you talk about numbers with children in everyday contexts and settings, the more they learn about numbers. (connections between numbers and quantities)
• Math Communication: Math talk, opportunities for children to share their reasoning out loud, is significantly essential to young learners’ mathematical growth.
• “Good fit” interactions during play. The teacher provides the “just right” amount of support that is aligned with what children are doing increases mathematical thinking.
• Engage children in talking about numbers, counting, measurement, size, and shape throughout the day.
• Find ways to encourage math talk in every center in the classroom.
• Ask children to explain how they solved a math-related problem.
• Encourage children to talk about their thinking when they make a mathematical mistake.
• Encourage children to utilize math talk more than just in the math center. When you line up or if they are helpers, have them count how many children are here and how many items they may need.
• Talk about more or less, bigger and smaller. These are all math concepts that we can teach our children at a very young age.
Here are some examples of math talk;
Infants: When a dad hides his face behind his hands and says, “One, two, three, peek-a-boo!” his baby learns to anticipate seeing his dad’s face as a result of the counting (even as an infant).
Toddlers: An aunt walking down the street with her toddler nephew says “Let’s count the light poles! I see one light pole! OH! I see another! That is two! Do you see another one?” That’s math talk.
A mother cooking with her child says, “How many more times do I need to stir the brownies?” and then “OK, I stirred them five times. How many more times do I need to stir?”
Preschoolers: Preschool children are capable of some fantastic mathematical thinking. Parents can discuss simple addition problems—such as “I wonder what four plus four is”—and let the child think about it and work it out. The key here is to engage in discussion, not rapid fire question and answer sessions. Preschoolers need time to work out the problem on their own. Soon they will begin asking you questions. One morning my 4-year-old told me that eight plus eight was sixteen. I asked him how he knew, and he showed me using his fingers.
Even wrong answers provide opportunities. Another time my son told me three plus three was five. I said, “Really, show me.” Then he put up three fingers on each hand and began to count. As he started to count his fingers, he stopped and said, almost to himself, “Whaaaaaat?? It’s six!” Letting children talk through their solutions and math thinking is very important. Try not to correct them or interrupt them. Sometimes just being quiet and listening is the best thing we can do.