Number Talks

Origins of Number Talks

Number Talks were originally developed by Ruth Parker and Kathy Richardson.

The approach emerged in the 1990s through their collaborative efforts to enhance students' mathematical thinking and understanding of arithmetic concepts.

The number talks routine has been widely adopted and adapted by educators around the world to suit various teaching and learning contexts.


Benefits of Number Talks

Number talks are a short, powerful routine that can take only a matter of minutes to run. Used intentionally, they can be a valuable complement to any maths program.

Run regularly over time, number talks can: 

‚ú® create habits of reasoning

✨ foster developing number sense, and 

✨ build mathematical confidence.  

Number Talks are empowering learners of all ages around the world. And teachers too!

Start with Dot Talks 

 Dot Number Talks is an ideal place to start for all ages. Learn more here.

Number Talks in action

One of our favourite ways to engage in professional learning is to watch other¬†practitioners¬†in action ‚ÄĒ both to notice what pedagogical moves we like, and those we don't, and why.

As you watch each other these video clips, consider: 

‚ú® What do you notice that's interesting or surprising?

✨ What are you left wondering about?

✨ What would you do differently and why? 


Example 1: Whole Class Number Talk String (Year 2)

Thanks to the teachers and students who have opened their classroom for me (Alex) to run some number talks and learn from the students' ideas.

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Here are some other whole class Number Talks in action.



Example 2: Small Group Number Talk (Year 2)

When setting up a Number Talks routine in a class, it can be useful to run some small group Number Talks to help all students become used to the format.

It's also a powerful way to find out more about what each student already knows and can do when mentally manipulating numbers and this is super valuable information when planning them for the whole class.

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Other resources


Classroom Talks: This page describes different types of class talks that explore maths ideas. It explains how Number Talks are unique to other talks.  

Number Talks for adults: Cathy Humpreys, co-author of the original text on this pedagogical approach, runs a number talk with pre-service teachers. 

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