Number Talk

Illustration Elements

Illustration Éléments

Illustration Sub-competencies


A class has been developing an understanding that mathematicians make mistakes, take risks, ask questions, work alone and together, and reflect on their learning. They have built, and continue to build, a math community where they feel safe to take risks and can learn from one another. Students regularly do number talks to discuss how they might solve a mathematical problem and explain their thinking. After participating in a number talk, a student reflects on her ability to communicate her thinking during these talks.


Student Work Sample

Student Reflection (based on prompts)

  • Prompt: I chose _________ to show how I have been developing my communication skills.
  • Student: I chose number talks to show how I have been developing my communication skills.
  • Prompt: It shows my ability to communicate…
  • Student: In number talks, I feel like we all communicate better in number talks then when we are just doing math on piece of paper it is harder to communicate.
  • Prompt: How does this learning opportunity support you as a learner?
  • Student: I enjoy number talks because most teachers will just give you paper but instead we get to express our thinking to other people and we get to learn from others and it really feels like a fun thing to do in your class.
  • Prompt: I want you to notice….
  • Student: that number talks are about how we think differently then others in our class. When you do number talks you are learning different strategies from other people.
  • Prompt: I am still learning…
  • Student: how to explain my thinking to other people. I find it hard to explain my thinking to other people because I am still learning how to use the right wording to share my thinking.
  • Prompt: I will….
  • Student: get better at explaining my thinking. One of the ways I am getting better at explaining my thinking is by doing number talks more often in our class and hearing other people in our class and learning how they would say it.

I can ask questions and consider options. I can use my observations, experience, and imagination to draw conclusions and make judgments.

I can ask open-ended questions, explore, and gather information. I experiment purposefully to develop options. I can contribute to and use criteria. I use observation, experience, and imagination to draw conclusions, make judgments, and ask new questions. I can describe my thinking and how it is changing.  I can establish goals individually and with others. I can connect my learning to my experiences, efforts, and goals. I give and receive constructive feedback.


I communicate purposefully using forms and strategies I have practiced.

I participate in conversations for a variety of purposes (e.g., to connect, help, be friendly, learn/share). I listen and respond to others.  I can consider my purpose when I am choosing a form and content. I can communicate clearly about topics I know and understand well, using forms and strategies I have practiced. I gather the basic information I need and present it.