Number Talks are easy to implement. Here’s how to get started.
Familiarize yourself with the process
  • Introduce /show the problem
  • Allow students to think about solving the problem
  • Ask students for solutions only
  • Record all solutions
  • Ask if anyome can justify one of the answers
  • Allow students to explain their thinking and how they reached their solution
  • Record their thinking without adding on so other students can follow the student's thinking
  • Ask if anyone would like to explain another way to solve the problem
  • Optional: Ask if anyone would like to justify a different answer

*This process is not set in stone. Feel free to modify it to best meet the needs of your students.

Find problems

Look for problems that can be computed mentally by your students. Although all problems can be computed mentally, each group of children that we work with have differing abilities. Try to find a problem that will challenge your students, but they can find success with.

On the Resources page, we have PDF’s from Sherry Parrish that offer lots of FREE problems for grades K-5.

On the Store page, we have created grade-level specific problems to use with your students that are designed specifically to help your students build a sense of number and the ability to think creatively and flexibly using specific strategies.

Watch some videos on Youtube

Youtube offers hundreds of thousands of Number Talk videos. Some are really bad and some are really great. Search for your grade/age level and watch a few. Take the parts you like best and incorporate those elements into your talks.

Do it

Number Talks are different for lots of us. They feel different and can even be uncomfortable at first. That’s okay.

You and your students will become more comfortable with the process over time. Give them time and give yourself time. You may not see the magic after one number talk. You may not see the magic after a week or a month. If you keep doing number talks 3-5 times per week, or as often as you have time for, you will reap the rewards of creative, flexible thinkers, but it takes time.

If you’re allowing students or children to share their thinking and strategies, you cannot do a number talk wrong!

If you think you’re struggling, reach out for help. Email me at or send me a message at