Number Talks

A Poem Inspired by Learning Together

We tell a story about a mother who is seventy-four
and a daughter who is forty-nine,
adding up time and
along the line between them.

We share an open array of numbers,
imagining parts and wholes,
our strategies exposed by quantities
of numbers decomposing and
constant relationships in our minds
–before even holding a pencil.

Hand over heart we tap
until we see a place
in a string of familiar anchors
and friendly landmarks.

We can count back to see the value, partial
products of flexibility now.

Voices of facts and concepts
and ways to solve
burst with numerate enthusiasm
and joy, seeing how the teacher
draws our thoughts
together on a whiteboard.
We gasp at its simple magnitude.

© Jessica Outram

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