If you're using the Common Core State Standards, you know there is a lot of focus in mathematics on building the underlying skills needed to support skills needed to flourish in a new, technology based economic environment. At the same time, they want students to acquire a stronger number sense as well as some operational fluency. Not much, eh? There is also an emphasis on mental strategies grouping and "decomposing" inside ten (actually, Math Standard 1OA.6.) How do you do that? You need new tools. I have found in the new math tool kit some ideas that build on my students' need for visual representations and manipulatives.
Searching online for resources, I found a great site sponsored by the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative, called Inside Mathematics. Not only do they provide activities aligned to the Common Core State Standards, they also provide video exemplars of the strategies that they recommend. I found it was a really good way to see how "Math Talks" are implemented in all sorts of classrooms, including inner city schools. I hope you'll check it out, and perhaps find some strategies to support your instruction.