Our vision for maths learners is: 

Our Mathematicians are curious and confident. They take risk, are resourceful and apply their knowledge and skills flexibly. They are strategic thinkers willing to experiment with numbers and are resilient and passionate about mathematics.

Like most things we learn, from walking to speaking, there are stages we move through, (rolling, sitting, crawling, walking) but we don’t all learn at the same time and rate. Mathematics is no different, and so when we begin to plan for any maths topic teachers will look at the stages of learning that children go through and the progression they should make over time. 

To assist our students through these stages it is very important for us to know what stage they are working in, and so each teaching team will design a Common Assessment Task based on a range of skills to determine this. The common assessment task will be designed after reference to the Victorian Curriculum and research from George Booker, Kathy Richardson and John Vande Walle. Teachers then look at the data, deciding where the individual student’s “point of need” is. This is particularly important for Focus Groups and the Independent/Collaborative Learning part of the instructional model. 

Number talks

A Number Talk is a short, ongoing daily routine that provides students with meaningful practice with computation. A Number Talk is a powerful tool for helping students develop computational fluency because the expectation is that they will use number relationships and the structures of numbers to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Number talks are designed for students to practice MENTAL strategies. Teachers will construct the number talk in such a way as to elicit efficient strategies. 

During number talks it’s important for teachers to use models, but that the students themselves are using mental strategies. 

Mini Lessons 

The focus of the mini lessons should be based on the expected curriculum level for all students or the specific learning needs point of the Common Assessment Task which relates to the majority of students. During this part of the learning cycle the teacher’s role is to: 

  • Set Learning Intentions and Success Criteria 
  • Revise/link previous learning 
  • Develop skill fluency
  • And model examples /Exemplars 

Mini lessons should include simple examples through to more complex problems. Students at all levels should have access to appropriate concrete materials as models for their learning. 

Independent/Collaborative learning time

While some students will work independently during this time, others will be required to attend their focus group session. 

Focus Group 

During this time the focus group students will be getting explicit teaching directly related to the needs identified through the Common Assessment Task. Students will also have an individual goal that they are working on. When working with a focus group, teachers will use observational records to take note of how students are progressing with their goals. Focus groups are flexible, responding to student growth against their goals. 

Independent/Collaborative sessions 

Students working independently should be required to complete tasks that they need little teacher support with. This should include a follow-up from the focus group session: game, worksheet, project, open ended task. The tasks undertaken during this time will be directly related to the individual stage of learning for each child. 

Teachers understand that students require many exposures to the same concept/activity to ensure that the underlying concepts are understood and developed by the student. Students do not need to undertake a different task every day during this phase of the instructional model, but are using this time to consolidate or practice the skills they learn through the focus group and mini lesson sessions. 


Each session will finish with a Whole Class reflection. The teacher will select specific students to share their mathematical thinking with the grade.