Math is a problem solving venture that requires critical thinking not steps and procedures. Number Talks start the journey toward that realization.

3-8 Instructional Coach, OH

This feels necessary, powerful and possible!

4th Grade Teacher, WA

Number Talks For Multilingual Learners A new professional learning opportunity 

Find Number Talks events near you 

Learn about MEC’s 2-day Number Talk Institute 

Read what teachers are saying about Number Talks 

Schedule a Number Talk Institute in your area

Order one or more of our Number Talks books 



“After attending the Number Talk Institute with Ruth Parker, I knew I needed to bring Number Talks back to the teachers and students at my school. One of the components that stood out to me the most from this institute was the ability Ruth had to make the teachers feel comfortable and safe in exploring new strategies. Creating this safe atmosphere allowed us to think through the problems without the fear of being put on the spot. As much as I appreciated this as an adult learner, it became clear we need to provide our students with this comfort as well. Collaborating with teachers to implement Number Talks in their classrooms, I was amazed to watch students take strides in not only their ability to think about numbers and operations but in communicating their thinking as well. When given the opportunity to share on their own terms, students were eager to explain their strategies and learn from each other. As we begin year two of Number Talks in our school, I look forward to seeing the impact it makes on these young mathematicians.”

Hailey Gilmore, LAP Teacher/Instructional Specialist, Lacey, WA, Fall 2016

We hadn’t met these 3rd graders before videotaping the Number Talk in April, 2016. This Number Talk was filmed first thing in the morning, and this was the first time these 3rd graders had ever been videoed. Thank you Hailey for the gift of sharing your practice with us. We hope it will provoke interesting conversations!

Please share your comments and questions about this video and about Number Talks using our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!



What are Number Talks?

Number Talks are a 10-15 minute mental math routine created by Ruth Parker and Kathy Richardson in the early 1990s to engage students in meaningful mathematical discourse and sense-making as well as transform the culture of the classroom to one of inquiry and curiosity. Cathy Humphreys has been instrumental in extending and studying their use at the secondary level.

In 2015, Ruth and Cathy wrote Making Number Talks Matter to support teachers interested in learning more about this powerful instructional routine. In 2018, they wrote the companion book, Digging Deeper: Making Number Talks Matter Even More. In addition, MEC has developed a 2-day Number Talks Institute and 7-session Number Talks Online Series to bring Number Talks directly to teachers.

Now, educators all around the world are experiencing first-hand the power of Number Talks to empower students to make sense of mathematics and build a solid base of understanding that allows them to be flexible and creative mathematical thinkers at all levels of study!