Sunday, June 16, 2013

Number Sense Routines-A Book Study

Today I will be joining Tara over at Little Minds At Work to discuss Chapter 1 in the book, Number Sense Routines, by Jessica F. Shumway.

In this first chapter, the author outlines just what number sense is.  It is important to tell yourself that number sense, in and of itself, is complex and that it has many layers.  As you work with your littles in your classroom, you will see each working at a different level of number sense. 
A little with strong number sense will demonstrate the following...
- A sense of what numbers mean.
- An ability to look at the world in terms of quantity and numbers.
- An ability to make comparisons among quantities.
- Flexibility, automaticity, and fluidity with numbers.
- An ability to perform mental math.
- Flexibility with problems.
- Automatic use of math information.
- An abiltiy to determine reasonableness of an answer.
- An ability to decide on a strategy based on the numbers in a problem.

As you can see from this list, number sense is something that takes time to develop and strengthen.  The author states that it is a goal for students to "build understanding and to become numerically literate."  We, the teacher, want our littles to apply number sense and to know when to use skills and strategies. 
Chapter 1 wraps up with a brief section about the need to give littles ample oppotunities to work on their number sense.  This means to use number sense in general and to discuss their number sense ideas and strategies with their peers.
Tara posted a few questions for us to answer after reading this first chapter.  Here are my answers to those questions.
1. What is your current comfort level with teaching number sense?
Number sense is where my owls struggled the most this year, at least, this is what the data collected from MAP testing showed.  At this point and with reading more about number sense, I am now aware of how complex it is.  I feel like I will be able to provide my owls with more direct support, but am not 100% comfortable with all that is "number sense."

2. What have you already started in your classroom to build number sense?
This year, we did play around a bit more with dot plates, five and ten frames, and just brainstorming the different ways to display numbers.  I have a feeling that this is just the tip of the number sense iceberg.

3. What have you considered adding to your classroom that will give your students that much needed "multiple exposures" component?
As I read this first chapter, I'm thinking that my calendar time or even morning work time could use a good number sense push.  A daily piece that focuses on the qualities mentioned above.
Make sure to stop by Tara's blog to read what others have learned during this book study or to share along with us.


  1. Erin,
    I agree, I will need to have a bigger number sense push during my calendar time as well! :)

    Little Minds at Work

  2. I haven't read this book but have you read any of Kathy Richardson's Developing Number books? They have great station and small group ideas for developing number sense. One thing I'm going to do next year during my calendar time is an estimation jar, where we estimate then count as a group!

    Carolina Teacher

    1. Danielle,
      I have not read any of her books. Thanks for the recommendation. I love the idea of an estimation jar. I'm thinking that it would be neat to have the kiddos estimate as a way to take attendance each morning and then we can count it out at calendar time. :)

  3. Hi, thanks for the thoughtful post. Number Sense is much more important than most people realize - not just as an end unto itself but because it is a necessary foundation for children to succeed in Arithmetic and beyond (both the math knowledge - and any problems - are cumulative). Here's a short video about Number Sense and its importance:

    We'd be happy to talk to any teachers who are interested in this topic.
    Thanks again for the post!