# Number Talks in the Math Classroom

Number talks. What are they and how do you do them in your classroom? Read on to learn about how I do number talks in my classroom.

My students love doing number talks. As a result of doing these math talks daily, I have really noticed a jump in student growth and confidence in math class!

Number Talks- What are They?

Number talks are short math discussions that you have with your students during math class. They generally take about 5-15 minutes. They can be done as a whole group at the beginning of math class, or in small groups while you do guided math or small group instruction.

Number talks can take a variety of forms. Generally, they consist of the teacher displaying a strategically selected problem for the class to view and then engaging in a meaningful class discussion about the problem and strategies to solve the problem.

What is the Goal of Number Talks?

The goal of doing number talks is to increase number sense in your students. Doing number talks will increase your students’ flexibility with numbers and build their collection of efficient mental math strategies.

How Are Number Talks Done?

A number talk follows this basic routine:

**Present a problem for the class to solve**– I generally like to have my students gather together on the rug and display my number talk problems on the SmartBoard. Mental math is encouraged so no supplies are needed.

**Give students think time**– allow students enough time to process the problem and try out different strategies. You can have the students show a quiet thumbs up to you once they have an answer. This allows students to provide a signal when they have a solution without disrupting the thinking of their classmates.

**Students share their answers**– have as many students as possible share the answer(s) they got for the problem. Record their answers (whether correct or not) on the board. At this point, you are just gathering possible solutions, so I recommend not verifying whether or not each solution given is correct. This gives students more confidence to share, knowing that they don’t have to worry about being told right away if they are incorrect. It also makes other students consider answers other than their own.

**Students explain their thinking**– Ask different students to explain their thinking and the strategy they used to solve the problem. This is a powerful discussion time where students really learn from each other! At this point, I still do not confirm whether or not each solution is correct or not. Verbalizing thinking with classmates helps students learn from each other and oftentimes helps students identify any incorrect thinking they may have. It also shows that frequently there is more than one strategy to solve a problem correctly.

**Class discussion and conclusions-** Once several students have had a chance to share their thinking and strategies, guide the class to come to a conclusion on what the correct answer/solution to the number talk is. Discuss why the answer(s) are correct and whether or not there are any other possible strategies that could have been used to get the correct solution.

What Resources Can You Use to do Number Talks?

One great thing about number talks is that they require very little prep! I like to think out which problem(s) I plan to do each day, so I can connect it to the main lesson topic or strategies I know my kids could use more practice with.

## Get Started with Number Talks for FREE

Want to give number talks a try for FREE in your classroom? Click here to grab 20 days of number stings that you can start using tomorrow!

## Want to Read More About Number Talks?

Read more about number strings in this blog post.

## Number Talks Resources

If you are looking for some pre-made number talks, I have some great resources available in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop that are perfect for 3rd-6th grade students!

Give number talks a try in your classroom! I would love to hear how you use number talks in your classroom!

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