Number Talks Passion

Bringing Number Talks to the high school classroom became a passion project when my son MJ's 4th grade teacher described the mathematical conversation he was able to share during their opening Math Talks activity.

MJ's teacher taught me about the power of mathematical conversations without paper, pencil or calculators. MJ has Down Syndrome. His schooling has been inclusive since he was 3 and our expectation as his parents was (and is) that he would do what all students his age do. When it came to schooling, thinking, connecting ideas and sharing were not an issue. Memorizing math facts and the physical act of putting pencil to paper was laborious. So you can imagine how daily math class made him feel! But Number Talks changed his experience of Math. He could explain his ideas, talk through concepts and DO MATH without being limited by writing.

Hearing Ruth Parker at a NCTM conference stoked the fire that was starting about having such impactful conversations in my high school classrooms.   

And NOW...we want all high school classrooms to have efficient easy access to a variety of prompts that will allow their students to be empowered and respected mathematically speaking. 

Number talks changed my classroom! Encouraged my students to think outside the box when approaching math problems.

A few words about Number Talks

No Number Talk, even with the same prompt, will ever be like the one before. And that is a GOOD THING! Answers are NOT in the back of the book. This is what makes the discussions organic and energizing. Outcomes will be both intended and unintended (often my favorite part).

In addition to improving student math skills and number sense, we have found number talks helpful in increasing student thinking, communication and confidence. Allowing student voice to lead the discussions will level the playing field in your math classroom. All students' ideas are respected and valued. As a result, your classroom becomes a safe place for exploring mathematics within a culture of risk-taking and respect.

The Flip Books are collections of prompts designed to give teachers the tools to get those outcomes (both intended and unintended). The Number Talks intentionally have either many solutions or many paths to a solution. Each Talk can stand alone or be built upon using the Backups or Extensions provided. As we have used these prompts, we have collected Talk Tips for teachers as well as possible student responses. These resources help teachers do Number Talks with the support and experience of teachers who have done hundreds of them.

We hope you and your students enjoy number talks as much as we do.  

Jackie and Deb


About Me


I am a teacher and a leader with a burning passion to create classroom practices that level the playing field for all students. Every math classroom should be a safe place to explore thoughts and learn from mistakes, our own and others. There is a huge shift happening in math from valuing procedures and correct answers to looking at student thinking. Number Talks do all of that and have improved my world as a mom, a math teacher, and a department chair.  Read on for some thoughts about Number Talks and why they are so important.

Thanks for reading,