What is Numbered Heads Together?
Numbered Heads Together is a listening and speaking strategy that involves students working collaboratively in groups to answer a question posed by the teacher. Students are assigned to numbered, equal sized groups of 35. Each individual student within each group is also given a number, meaning a student might be student #3 from group #5, for example. Once all groups are created and students are assigned numbers, the teacher asks a question or assigns a task. Students work together in their groups to discuss and determine an answer to the question. During this time, each individual student can offer their thoughts and ideas. All group members should be prepared and able to answer the given question. The teacher chooses a group and student number at random using a spinner, dice, cards, etc., and the student chosen shares out to the rest of the class what their group discussed. A high degree of student interaction occurs in Numbered Heads Together, as each student must be ready to respond to the question. According to Wright, the most important and beneficial listening and speaking that students will do is through interaction with the teacher, their fellow ELLs, and proficient English speakers with the sociocultural contexts of their classroom, school, and neighborhood (2015). Researchers agree that interaction plays a highly important role in English language development. In Numbered Heads Together, all students have the opportunity to practice listening and speaking skills, which is especially important for students who are ELL. Students are required to use their oral English skills to solve authentic tasks which supports highlevel and meaningful learning experiences.
Visual Representations
The video above shows Mrs. Hine's second grade class participating in Numbered Heads Together after reading Meet Rosina by George Ancona. Students have been talking about what is most important to remember in a story. Prior to giving directions, Mrs. Hine gives each student a number written on a slip of paper and has numbers 14 for each group. Students think about the important details they would want someone who didn't know Rosina to know or remember about her. Then, students work in groups to discuss and agree on one answer. Mrs. Hine repeats the question students should be answering multiple times. She has number one from each group share their group's answer and records this on a postit note. She then posts these on a web graphic organizer.

The image above shows an anchor chart that can be used to as a reminder of the steps in Numbered Heads Together. This could be used when introducing the strategy to students by describing each numbered step. Pictures could be added to this anchor chart to better support students who are ELL by showing what the classroom might sound like, look like, or feel like during Numbered Heads Together.

In the video above, Numbered Heads Together is described as an effective strategy for content review prior to a test or assessment or to liven up classroom discussion. The video suggests displaying a multiple choice, review, or application question on a PowerPoint. This way, students can refer back to the question during discussion. If there are differing answers, it is important to investigate students' reasoning and explain the correct answer. A variation with a large group is to have a recorder write the group's answer on a whiteboard. Advantages of this strategy described in the video are all students participate in a lowrisk environment, it involves collective answering through group collaboration, and it's high energy.

Content Area Examples
Reading Numbered Heads Together can be used in reading to determine key details of a story or in analyzing character traits, as shown in the video above of Mrs. Hine's second grade class. Students might also answer questions related to the setting, problem, and solution. This strategy can be effectively used in asking a variety of comprehension questions during or after reading. Because Numbered Heads Together is flexible, questions posed to students can have a range of complexity, depending on students' ability levels. Questions posed can also be tailored to relate to any text students are reading and teachers can monitor students' comprehension and the use of learned strategies by observing student responses.
Math In math, Numbered Heads Together can be used to when solving a variety of math problems. This strategy can be used after presenting a new type of problem. If students are unsure of which steps to use in solving a problem, students can put their heads together with their group members to discuss different strategies or steps that could be used in order to find the answer and justify their reasoning as to why those strategies or steps will lead you to the correct answer. This strategy can also be adapted in math by presenting a review problem and having students collaborate with group members to come to agreement on the solution to the problem. Students' thinking can easily be monitored as students share out their group's solution.
Writing Students can participate in Numbered Heads Together to evaluate a piece of writing based on a given rubric. Students can work in their assigned groups to read through the piece of writing together while comparing the rubric. Students can discuss ways of scoring the writing piece based on the rubric and can come to an overall consensus of each score the piece receives. As students respond by sharing out to the rest of the class, a rationale should be included to justify why the group assigned the particular score or scores to the writing piece based on the rubric. This fosters students' ability to justify their reasoning by evaluating thinking. Using Numbered Heads Together in this way also demonstrates what students should do when editing and selfassessing their writing.
Science Numbered Heads Together can be used as a review to prepare for a test, quiz, or other type of assessment in any content area. In science, students can spend time working in their groups to study the material that will be on the assessment by reviewing notes, textbook pages, projects, in class activities, or other coursework. Teachers can create review questions that students work together in their groups to solve, or students themselves can create science review questions for other groups to solve collaboratively. Questions posed may or may not be on the assessment. By using Numbered Heads Together in this way, teachers can formatively assess where students are at and what needs to be focused on during the review to ensure students are successful on the assessment.
Math In math, Numbered Heads Together can be used to when solving a variety of math problems. This strategy can be used after presenting a new type of problem. If students are unsure of which steps to use in solving a problem, students can put their heads together with their group members to discuss different strategies or steps that could be used in order to find the answer and justify their reasoning as to why those strategies or steps will lead you to the correct answer. This strategy can also be adapted in math by presenting a review problem and having students collaborate with group members to come to agreement on the solution to the problem. Students' thinking can easily be monitored as students share out their group's solution.
Writing Students can participate in Numbered Heads Together to evaluate a piece of writing based on a given rubric. Students can work in their assigned groups to read through the piece of writing together while comparing the rubric. Students can discuss ways of scoring the writing piece based on the rubric and can come to an overall consensus of each score the piece receives. As students respond by sharing out to the rest of the class, a rationale should be included to justify why the group assigned the particular score or scores to the writing piece based on the rubric. This fosters students' ability to justify their reasoning by evaluating thinking. Using Numbered Heads Together in this way also demonstrates what students should do when editing and selfassessing their writing.
Science Numbered Heads Together can be used as a review to prepare for a test, quiz, or other type of assessment in any content area. In science, students can spend time working in their groups to study the material that will be on the assessment by reviewing notes, textbook pages, projects, in class activities, or other coursework. Teachers can create review questions that students work together in their groups to solve, or students themselves can create science review questions for other groups to solve collaboratively. Questions posed may or may not be on the assessment. By using Numbered Heads Together in this way, teachers can formatively assess where students are at and what needs to be focused on during the review to ensure students are successful on the assessment.
References
Cafedurhamcollege. (2010). Numbered Heads Together. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLHDHlVhcug
Ewingtj. (2009). Numbered Heads Together 0001. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8uYS48BIUw
H, C. (2013). Numbered Heads Together. Pinterest. Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/46302702391585179/
Numbered Heads Together Cooperative Learning Strategy. (2015). Teacher Vision. Retrieved from https://www.teachervision.com/groupwork/cooperativelearning/48538.html?page=1
Wright, W. (2015). Foundations for Teaching English Language Learners: Research, Theory, Policy, and Practice. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon, Inc.
Ewingtj. (2009). Numbered Heads Together 0001. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8uYS48BIUw
H, C. (2013). Numbered Heads Together. Pinterest. Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/46302702391585179/
Numbered Heads Together Cooperative Learning Strategy. (2015). Teacher Vision. Retrieved from https://www.teachervision.com/groupwork/cooperativelearning/48538.html?page=1
Wright, W. (2015). Foundations for Teaching English Language Learners: Research, Theory, Policy, and Practice. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon, Inc.