The Strong Numeracy and Literacy in Communities pilot is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations as part of the Education Revolution - Improving our Schools - National Action Plan for Literacy and Numeracy

Please Note: The video links in this resource may contain footage of deceased persons.


This resource is the numeracy component of the Strong Literacy and Numeracy in Communities pilot. It was built on research and materials produced as a result of the Building Community Capacity Project1. It is based on the idea that effective teaching, particularly in intercultural contexts, depends on teachers and paraprofessionals working closely together.

The role of this resource is to help teaching teams (teachers working alongside paraprofessionals) to work together in order to help students of all cultural backgrounds to achieve a deep and effective understanding of mathematics. It does this by providing a focus on what students already understand, what they need to learn next and how this learning can be achieved.

While this resource has application in a wide variety of contexts, it has additional elements specifically tailored to remote Indigenous schools. Specifically, it includes a series of videos of activities being delivered in Djambarrpuyngu (a Yolngu language) and Kriol (northern), in addition to English, in order to help Indigenous Assistant Teachers from these language areas to build a greater understanding of both the concept (what the idea actually is) and pedagogy (how to help students to understand it).


1 Building Community Capital to Support Sustainable Numeracy Education in Remote Locations: An Australian Research Council Linkage Project conducted by RMIT University in collaboration with the Northern Territory, Department of Education & Training, Charles Darwin University and Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education June 2006 to July 2009.


The Resource

The resource consists of a Progress Map, linked activities (including downloadable descriptions and 'black line masters') as well as a number of video sequences showing the delivery of selected activities in a classroom setting.


The map is organised around the key ideas in early number. The broad headings are Numbers and Number Systems and Computation. Numbers and Number Systems is further subdivided into Whole Numbers and Fractions, while Computation breaks down into Addition / Subtration and Multiplication / Division. Each of these subdivisions is organised to show how its key ideas are developed in order to build a more comprehensive understanding. Only the Whole Number and Addition / Subtraction Early Years components have been developed for this resource at this time.


Clicking on a developmental step of a key idea will bring up a more detailed description of the learning step and concept along with a list of activities that would be appropriate to give students at this stage in order to help them to progress to the next step. Clicking on an item in the list will bring up a detailed description of the activity along with any associated 'black line masters'. These lists are not exhaustive or exclusive. Teachers are encouraged to experiment with activities of their own.


Using this Resource

An assumption is made that teachers and their paraprofessional classroom partners will have some common planning time.

Teams first decide on a Big Idea to focus on, and read the descriptors along the progression in the Progress Map overview.

Teams discuss their students in relation to the descriptors and decide which students are best described by which descriptor. The aim is to identify ability based clusters of students within the classroom.

Teams identify a group of students from a single ability group for the paraprofessional to work with, then access the resource for information on the corresponding descriptor. An activity is chosen (if the paraprofessionial is just beginning this kind of work, an activity video example would be best - there is a series of videos for each big idea, although not for every descriptor).

The team should watch the video or role-play the activity before the planning the lesson. During this time, teams should discuss exactly what the idea is that is being developed through the activity, and what to look for when watching the students performing the activity (many activities have a corresponding Assessment Point which may help here).

After the lesson, the team should discuss the way the students handled the activities. The paraprofessional should be encouraged to describe the actions of the students and to give an opinion as to whether the activity should be repeated, or whether they should try and easier or harder activity, or even a different activity at the same level. In this way, the assessment of the students can be refined and assessment is directly linked to planning.

Once students are able to succeed at different activities within the same idea and level, that is they are showing an ability to apply an idea in different contexts, they can be assumed to have achieved that level. An A4 sized version of the Progress Map may be printed per student in order to mark and record progress.

Once students have achieved the ideas within a column in the Whole Number section of the Progress Map, they will have the necessary prerequisite understanding to move on to the Operations activities at that level.


A note on Spinners

A large number of activities use spinners as part of their design. Spinners are useful because unlike dice, they can easily be designed to accommodate any number range. They are easily operated using everyday materials (not specialist dice to get lost or stolen). All that is required is the spinner printout, a pen and a paperclip. They do not require assembly, click the link to see how they are operated: Spinner in action


Progress Maps

Access the progress maps via the link below. These maps allow teachers to match students' current abilities with detailed activity pages. The activities are designed to build on students' current understandings, and help them to move along to the next level.


Progress Map Go to Progress Maps





View Glossary of Terms used in the Progress Maps




The Talking Namba resource has been produced as part of the Strong Literacy and Numeracy in Communities project, NorthernTerritory Department of Education and Training with funding from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and was made possible through the time and effort of many institutions and individuals.






2011 Valid XHTML and CSS
CSS Template by RamblingSoul