Number Talks: Developing Fluency from Variation

Number Talks: Developing Fluency from Variation

with Laurie Jacques, SMaR+ PD

Fluency is a key element of the 5 big ideas (NCETM Mastery) and a core component of the National Curriculum.  In Shanghai and other East Asian countries, pupils develop fluency through purposeful practice of exercises that are carefully varied that reveal the structure of the calculations they are working.

The project aims to help develop KS1 & KS2 teachers’ awareness of how to design exercises to develop fluency through purposeful variation. Teachers will work collaboratively to design sequences of calculations to form practice exercises and then use each exercise in live classroom settings to rehearse the accompanying pedagogy for promoting learning from variations.


What does the project involve?

The project will involve one full day of training, followed by six half-day lesson studies across the Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019 Terms.  Between sessions there will be gap tasks involving trialling the use of the approaches explored in the lesson studies.  The workgroup lead will offer support in designing the sequences, demonstrating teaching and orchestrating the lesson study discussions. Participating teachers are expected to work collaboratively, teach a small group in their own and other schools, reflect critically on pupils’ learning and their own professional learning. Participants are also expected to host a learning study in their school for the workgroup. This requires allocating a space for the workgroup to gather and for the group teaching sessions to take place. A small subsidy of £100 is offered to schools who are chosen to host to cover any costs incurred.


The project’s aims involve supporting teachers to:

  • develop a greater understanding of how pupils can become fluent in arithmetic (four operations of number).
  • become skilled at choosing suitable sequences of examples to develop fluency with reasoning
  • become skilled at orchestrating class discussion as “number talks” to promote learning from variation

Schools can choose to send up two members of staff KS1 and KS2 but all teachers are expected to attend all days



Wednesday 17th October Project Preparation Day 9:00am – 3:30pm

Venue:  Fox Primary School, Kensington Place, W8 7PP

Thursday 1st November Lesson Study* 1 09:30 – 11:45

Gap Task

Thursday 22nd November Lesson Study* 2 09:30 – 11:45

Gap Task

Thursday 17th January Lesson Study* 3 09:30 – 11:45

Gap Task

Thursday 14th February Lesson Study* 4 09:30 – 11:45

Gap Task

Thursday 14th March Lesson Study* 5 09:30 – 11:45

Gap Task

Thursday 4th April Lesson Study* 6 09:30 – 11:45

Gap Task

Thursday 2nd May Presentation Day*

* Lesson Studies and Presentation Day to be hosted by participating schools: Venues confirmed on the Preparation Day.

In order to apply to be a part of this project, you will need to fill out an Expression of Interest Form.  The deadline to fill this out is Friday 20th July 2018


*The London Central and West Maths Hub reserves the right to charge a £75 fee for non-attendance to the sessions or for cancellations to any of the sessions with less than 14 days’ notice.