A question I hear a lot amongst teachers, especially in the primary grades, is **“How do I create number sense with my students?”**. I admit this has been a challenge for me…there are so many suggestions out there…but number sense is so important. As a teacher who has taught older elementary kids, I can tell you that the best math gift you can give your students is a firm foundation in number sense while they are in primary grades.

**So how do we do it?** By giving our students consistent, daily practice in **representing**, **building**, and **drawing** numbers. In this post, I will discuss one of three ways that I found successful in creating number sense in my students. Please check out these companion posts to learn about the other two – **Number Sense, Pt 2**.

#### Number Talks

You might call this “**Number of the Day**“. Number Talks help students see math as more than memorizing facts. During Number Talks, it’s important to have students interact with different activities involving the number. You don’t need a lot of time…a short 5 minutes can be found at the beginning of your math block, during morning meetings, as a transition from lunch/recess, or at the end of the day before dismissal. Keep in mind that the idea is to make your Number Talk time consistent and engaging for the students.

###### Here are some of the activities I use in my Number Talks…

#### Whole Group Math

- Write the number word and numeral
- Circle the number – provide an assortment of different numbers. Call on a student to find the number and circle it.
- Draw a collection – easiest objects to draw are shapes.
- Sequence with 1 more/1 less – you can differentiate this with 2 more/less, 5 more/less, or 10 more/less
- Draw tally marks
- Draw ten frames

All parts needed to make this anchor chart are available in my **Number Posters and More 1-20 – Polka Dots. Grab a set HERE!**

**Student Follow Along**

Provide students with a whiteboard and marker to follow along with what is being done on the big chart. Or create a template of your chart and copy one for each student. Insert into a page protector and presto…instant whiteboard.

What I like to do is use my **Number Sense 1-20 Practice pages **during my Number Talks.

Just print and staple a packet for each student, then have them save the packet in their math folders for future use. **I particularly love this approach because the students are taking ownership of their learning by creating a reference resource they made themselves.** Many times during the year I will direct my students back to their Numbers Journal (as I call it) to answer a numbers question.

Periodically, I refresh their number sense skills with these seasonal Number Sense pages. They are perfect for independent work time during your math block. Students love the holiday/month themes and can’t wait to work on them. There is a different pattern for each month. Choose the numbers you are working on in class and make a new Numbers Journal for them!

You can find my seasonal packets here:

Or grab them as a bundle HERE!

I hope this post has helped you. Please feel free to share in the comments any ideas you have found useful in your Number Talks.