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Welcome to Table Talk Math. This week, we're highlighting the work of Sadie Estrella.
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Table Talk Newsletter #18


A few years ago, a good friend of mine led me to the work of Sadie Estrella. Sadie has served as a math coach and teacher in Hana, Hawaii, and has spent a lot of time talking about Counting Circles. She now works for Illustrative Mathematics as a lesson writer, bringing in her wealth of experience in the classroom and coaching role. What are Counting Circles? Sadie is here to tell us all about them!

96, 97, 98, 99, 100!  

Everyone loves to count together!! 

And the dinner table is a great place to do this.  Counting around the dinner table is similar to counting circles, a number routine I use in classrooms to build math fluency.  Counting circles is exactly what it sounds like, you count around “a circle”.  Whether your table is round or rectangular you can pick a number to start counting from and an amount to count by in order to start choral counting (counting together in unison) around the table.  Here are some ideas to start with:
  • Start at 10, count up by 5. “15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40…
  • Start at 8, count up by 10, “18, 28, 38, 48, 58, 68…
Stop after a few times around the table and ask if there were any patterns anyone noticed.

Feel like you are getting good at it?  Now you can try something a bit different.  Don’t count all together around the table, instead have each person say their own number as you count.  Stop after a couple rounds and ask question like these:
  • Did you notice something about the numbers you said every time? What about the numbers others said every time?
  • What number do you think you are going to say if we went one more time around?  2 more times around?
Ready for a challenge? Here are a few that should get the wheels turning:
  • Start at 26, count down by 8. “18, 10, 2, -6, -14, -22, -30...
  • Start at 128, cutting each number in half. “128, 64, 32, 16...
If you are worried about wrong answers, come to an agreement on how you will communicate that you don’t agree with an answer someone shares.  Here are some suggestions:
  • Can you check your answer please?
  • I disagree with your answer.
  • That is not the number I would’ve said.
The main focus here should be around counting, having fun, looking for patterns, talking math and enjoying time spent with each other around a topic that is making a comeback as the new hot topic.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on Twitter (@TableTalkMath) or reply to this email. 

Thank you for taking the time to improve math fluency for children, one table talk conversation at a time. For previous newsletters, please check out www.tabletalkmath.com/previous-newsletters
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