by C. Elkins, OK Math and Reading Lady

Hi! This is Part 2 regarding ways to do number talks using dot cards. This post will feature **random dot cards**. See the last post for strategies with **ten frame dot cards** and some background information about why and how (click HERE).

My pictures below feature dot cards provided via an extra purchase from this great resource regarding Number Talks. I blacked out the number in the small print at the bottom of each card because I was using them online and didn’t want the magnification to show the number. When showing them in person, the number is too small really for a student to notice or I can use my hand to cover it when showing the card. Anyway . . . that’s for those of you wondering what the little black smudge was. Here’s an amazon link to the cards which you can get digitally for $19.95 (279 pages worth): Number Talk Dot Cards

My previous post (linked above) also listed 2 resources for ten frame and random dot cards. Here is another one you might like and is great to use with partners as well. I’ll describe an activity with them below. Dot Cards for Number Sense ($2 from mathgeekmama.com)

You may like checking out mathgeekmama for other wonderful FREE resources.

**Random Dot Cards**

While I refer to these as “random” dot cards, it really doesn’t mean the dots are just scattered willy-nilly. The dots on these cards are still organized, but just not on ten frames. When using these cards, the goal is for students to “see” patterns with the dots to aid their subitizing and quick recall of number pairs. You might start with dot dice first, then look for these on the dot cards:

- groups of 2
- groups of 3 (such as triangles)
- groups of 4 (such as squares)
- groups of 5 (like on a dice)
- groups of 6 (like on a dice)
- doubles
- near doubles

I also often point out to students how I mentally “move” a dot to visualize one of the above scenarios. This will be shown in the pictures below with an arrow.

**Procedures for whole group (either in person or on Zoom):**

- Flash the card (longer for more dots).
- Students put thumb up (I prefer thumb in front of chest) when they have decided the amount.
- Randomly select students to tell you how many they saw. No judgement yet on who is correct and who isn’t.
- Then ask the VERY important question, “How did you see it?” This should elicit various responses which will help reinforce different ways numbers can be decomposed.
- If desired with in-person sessions, you can have students pair-share their response first before calling on students to tell you. This way all students get a chance to share their way with a ready listener. Click on this link for a way to silently signal “Me too” in sign language. I find this very helpful especially for those students who want to respond — and helps avoid the “he took my answer” complaint.
- Record the different responses on a chart tablet.
- On the occasions where there are limited responses, here are some options:
- Ask students if they see a way another student
*might*have seen it. Be prepared — you might get some amazing (or long-winded) responses. - If students don’t see something I think it worth mentioning, I might say, “Here’s a way I saw a student think about this one last year.”
- Or you could just show the card another day to see if there are some new responses then.

- Ask students if they see a way another student

**What do you see with these? . . . Plus some examples:**

**How do you see these? . . . Plus suggested outcomes:**

**Procedures for individual or partners (great for online tutoring or class center activity)**

- Flash the card (longer if more complicated).
- Student tells you how many. If not correct, show the card again.
- Ask, “How did you see them?”
- If the card is laminated, circle the parts the child describes.
- Tell how you (teacher) saw it.
- Ask, “How might another student see it?” This gets them to see other possibilities.
- Record responses.

With the activity I mentioned earlier from mathgeekmama.com, this is a great with partners. I would recommend dot cards with no more than 8 dots for this activity:

- Start with a stack of dot cards (face down). Provide a blank laminated square to record dots on.
- Partner 1 selects the top card and flashes it to partner 2 (perhaps 2-3 seconds).
- Partner 2 uses a laminated blank square to try to draw the dots (with dry erase marker) to match what partner 1 showed them.
- Both students reveal their dot cards to see if they match.
- Switch roles and repeat.

As an individual activity, provide the laminated dot cards and a dry-erase marker. Circle the dots. Write a math problem to match it. Take pictures to record answers. (Recommendation: Do this after you have already modeled it during a Number Talk session.)

Take care. Share your experience with using dot cards for Number Talk sessions. I love success stories!

**Interesed in personal professional development, or PD for your grade level team or school? Please contact me for special rates. I can meet via Zoom for just about any need you have (math or reading). I’d love to help!**