What is Numbered Heads Together?
According to Intervention Central, Numbered Heads Together is, "an instructional technique built upon peer collaboration that provides the supports and structure necessary to promote effective teacher questioning and student responding (n.d.). Numbered Heads Together is known to be an effective and useful strategy for students with emotional disturbance, also known as emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD). Intervention Central states, "teacher questioning during wholegroup instruction is a key method that instructors use to monitor student understanding of content (n.d.)." It is important students are allotted sufficient wait time when formulating responses. Numbered Heads Together requires teachers to offer this wait time and offers an opportunity to provide feedback to students as they are working and as answers are given. If a student's response is incorrect, there is opportunity to provide correctional feedback and justification. Questions asked while using this strategy can be closedresponse or openresponse questions.
Procedure during wholegroup instruction (according to Intervention Central):
1. Create teams. Divide class into 4person teams. Each team should include students of a variety of ability levels. Students assign themselves numbers 1 through 4 in their groups. In teams with fewer than 4 students, one student has two numbers. Teachers can also assign students' numbers for them.
2. State a question. Pose separate queries to the class. After each question, tell students to "put your heads together, think of the best answer you can, and make sure than everybody in your group knows that answer."
3. Allow thinktime. Give students 30 seconds to discuss an answer in their groups.
4. Elicit student responses. Randomly select a number from 14 and say, "All number (1, 2, 3, or 4) students who know the answer, raise your hand." Call on one student with hand raised and ask him or her to give the answer. Say, "How many (1, 2, 3, or 4) students think that answer is correct? Raise your hand." Additional students with hand raised can be called on to elaborate on a previous student's answer.
5. Give teacher feedback. Give feedback about the answer, such as verifying that it is correct, elaborating on the answer, or providing corrective feedback for an incorrect response.
Tips: Teachers can create standing groups to allow for more rapid transition into student teams. A checklist can be posted that reminds students of appropriate NHT behaviors that can be reviewed.
Procedure during wholegroup instruction (according to Intervention Central):
1. Create teams. Divide class into 4person teams. Each team should include students of a variety of ability levels. Students assign themselves numbers 1 through 4 in their groups. In teams with fewer than 4 students, one student has two numbers. Teachers can also assign students' numbers for them.
2. State a question. Pose separate queries to the class. After each question, tell students to "put your heads together, think of the best answer you can, and make sure than everybody in your group knows that answer."
3. Allow thinktime. Give students 30 seconds to discuss an answer in their groups.
4. Elicit student responses. Randomly select a number from 14 and say, "All number (1, 2, 3, or 4) students who know the answer, raise your hand." Call on one student with hand raised and ask him or her to give the answer. Say, "How many (1, 2, 3, or 4) students think that answer is correct? Raise your hand." Additional students with hand raised can be called on to elaborate on a previous student's answer.
5. Give teacher feedback. Give feedback about the answer, such as verifying that it is correct, elaborating on the answer, or providing corrective feedback for an incorrect response.
Tips: Teachers can create standing groups to allow for more rapid transition into student teams. A checklist can be posted that reminds students of appropriate NHT behaviors that can be reviewed.
Student Profile
In my third grade field experience classroom, there is a student with emotional disturbance (ED) who often has a difficult time staying ontask and following directions during instruction. Most of the time, when presented with a new activity in any content area, this student asks if it is a partner or group activity. When he is allowed to work in a group or with a partner, he tends to be much more involved and motivated in the activity at hand. The Numbered Heads Together strategy would highly benefit all students, especially this student specifically, because it involves a high degree of collaborative work with classmates. This strategy would actively involve this student in the process of questioning and responding to a presented question or learning task. This student also excels when given a structured learning environment, which Numbered Heads Together also provides. The tip to create standing groups to allow for more rapid transitions into student teams offered on Intervention Central would work well for this student because it would involve him preparing right away in order transition into student teams.
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 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.