Publication Date



Number Talks (Parrish, 2010) have become a popular strategy for many teachers interested in establishing a culture of classroom discourse for developing number sense in their mathematics classrooms. Number Talks are traditionally a five- to fifteen-minute classroom discussion that follows a problem that children are asked to solve mentally. According to Berger (2017), when students are engaged in Number Talks, teachers “facilitate discourse among students about their thinking, help students build connections among strategies, and present students with opportunities to put their knowledge into practice as they solve problems” (p. 6). While it is known that Number Talks are a useful strategy, much of the published work for teachers about implementing Number Talks has been focused on upper elementary and beyond. Both books in the Making Number Talks Matter Series (Humphreys & Parker, 2015; Parker, Ruth & Humphreys, 2018) state that they are for grades 4-10 and 3-10 explicitly. While there may be more of a variety of the types of problems that can be posed to upper elementary students, there is a need for early elementary teachers to implement Number Talks. Yet we acknowledge that establishing a classroom culture of discourse and norms for classroom discussions looks different with six-year olds than with twelve-year olds. As a first-grade teacher who was initially skeptical that my students could engage in meaningful conversations during Number Talks, I will share how I used a literacy strategy to successfully implement Number Talks in my classroom.


Ohio Journal of School Mathematics



First Page


Last Page