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Home » Blog » Math » Step-by-Step Number Talk Routines for the Classroom or Online

Step-by-Step Number Talk Routines for the Classroom or Online

Math, Routines & Procedures, Setup & Routines, Technology, Virtual Routines

Written by: Katie Palmer

Number talks are a GREAT way to expand your students' number sense. When used as a daily routine, teachers will see their students' math confidence soar! Below are step-by-step examples of in-person AND digital number talk routines. Great news! All the resources in this post can be found in our All Access Resource Library! Just click on what you need and download instantly.

In Person Number Talk Routines

As the year progresses, the number talk problems will get more difficult. At the beginning of 2nd grade 1-digit plus 1-digit problems that cross the decade (like 9 + 8) might be the right fit. Perhaps your class is ready for more of a challenge. Starting with 2-digit plus 1-digit would be best in that case (32 + 9, for example). Teachers will need to use their best judgement to decide on a problem level for their class.

For the purpose of this post, we are going to use the problem 43 + 8. You will complete this number talk as a whole group.

1st: Think & Share

Once presented with the problem, students should share with the class what they think the answer is AND the strategy they used to get there. The goal is to develop student number sense enough to see 43 as 4 groups of ten and 3 ones. Using mats as number talk tools will help develop the understanding of tens and ones.

  • The Number Bond Mat is great for breaking down numbers into tens and ones.
  • The Place Value Mat is great for tactile learners that need to hold and count actual place value blocks (or the printed version from the toolkit) to see the makeup of 2-digit numbers.
  • Ten Frames Mats helps students understand counting, place value, adding and subtracting in a tangible, organized way.
  • The Number of the Day Mat (not pictured) is a phenomenal way to express a number in many different ways.

These resources are available in digital form too!

2nd: Practice the Strategies

Demonstrate finding the answer in each of the correct strategies the students shared. Write out all the addition problems students used to demonstrate their strategies for the rest of the class. Use the toolkit mats and manipulatives for the visual and tactile learners.

Download these mats

3rd: Repeat!

Repeat, repeat, repeat this routine daily to build your students' number sense, confidence and automaticity in math!


Once your students get the basic procedure down, they might be ready to try some new routines! Take a look at four new and different number talk routines!

Digital Number Talk Routines

If your students are distance learning, don't worry! Number talks can still be a valuable part of your daily math routine. Check out the number talk lesson below, utilizing our digital math mats from the Lucky Little Toolkit.

Good luck on your number talks! Your students are soon to be number sense pros!

Remember, together we are better!


  1. catinalewis

    i love this site

  2. Malissa K Orr

    I love the number talk, but I teach Kindergarten. Do you have a number talk at the kindergarten level?

    • Bailey Jordan

      Hi Malissa!
      We do not have a kindergarten level number talk at this time. However, you could use the same format and add in your own number talk for Kindergarten! I hope this helps! Have a great day!

      Bailey Jordan
      Lucky Little Learners

  3. Malissa K Orr

    How do I obtain my very own tool kit binder like the one shown in the YouTube video?

    • Bailey Jordan

      Hi Malissa!
      You can buy a binder like the one featured in the video and add all of the printable Lucky Little Toolkit items to protective pockets. I hope this helps! Have a great day!

      Bailey Jordan
      Lucky Little Learners


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