The Numeracy Cycle: A Four-Step Process to Mastering Mathematics: T1I E4

The Numeracy Cycle: A Four-Step Process to Mastering Mathematics: T1I E4

Welcome to the Tier 1 Interventions podcast, where we explore groundbreaking strategies for enhancing classroom learning and engagement. I'm your co-hosts, Jonily Zupancic and Cheri Dotterer. In this episode, we delve into the transformative impact of our unique approach to teaching mathematics, emphasizing the importance of understanding and visualizing numbers. Listen to two of our client's responses to today's teaching.

This episode was recorded live on February 17, 2024, at the Tier 1 Interventions Workshop. If you join by December 31, 2024, you can get a $80 discount on your first month's subscription. The regular price is $97/month or $947/annual.

Grab the math bonuses and lessons from the workshop version. Some handout bonuses include a standard 120-chart and several adaptive versions for students with disabilities, plus a complete package of Jonily's Hear Me Teach segments, which have not been released to the podcast. Click here for the discounted link.

Occupational therapists, you too will find this workshop beneficial in enhancing your practice. Listen for one of our clients, Teresa, an occupational therapist, who says," I hate math with a passion. But, I see where you can help me help my kids advance."

During this month's workshop, we discussed using a 120-chart to meet skip counting, one more, one less, two more, two less, ten more, ten less, fractions, decimals, percent, rate, and function math standards. Before exploring the 120-chart, Jonily explained the Numeracy Cycle. 

In our last episode, Cheri explained the Flow Cycle. Check out that episode for more details on how brain function influences the Numeracy Cycle.

The Numeracy Cycle: A Four-Step Process to Mastery

Our innovative method, the Numeracy Cycle, consists of four sequential components designed to foster a deep, intuitive understanding of numbers. Let's explore each step:

  1. Count: Start with rote counting, emphasizing repetition to build a foundational understanding of numbers.
  2. Quantify: Next, focus on quantifying numbers, helping students grasp the value and significance of each count.
  3. Compare: Encourage students to compare numbers and understand their relative sizes and values.
  4. Operate: Finally, introduce operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, building on the solid foundation established in the previous steps.

By following this cycle, we ensure that students develop a robust number sense, which is crucial for success in mathematics.

The Importance of Visual Representation and Multi-Sensory Approaches

Incorporating visual and multi-sensory strategies is essential for effective learning. By adapting content to student visualization and embedding cognitive, stimulating multi-sensory approaches, we cater to diverse learning styles, ensuring all students can grasp mathematical concepts.

Rethinking Operations: Division as a Starting Point

Contrary to traditional teaching sequences, we advocate for starting with division, or as we call it in early education, "sharing." This approach allows students to develop a conceptual foundation of equal sharing applied to other operations. By prioritizing division, we lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive understanding of mathematics.

The Role of Tier 1 Interventions in Math and Beyond

Our focus extends beyond mathematics. The principles of Tier 1 Interventions apply across disciplines, emphasizing the importance of foundational skills, multi-sensory learning, and integrating academic and non-academic strategies. We aim to enhance overall teaching effectiveness and student outcomes by adopting this holistic approach.


In this episode of Tier 1 Interventions, we've explored a revolutionary approach to teaching mathematics that emphasizes the Numeracy Cycle, visual representation, and the integration of multi-sensory strategies. By rethinking traditional teaching sequences and embracing a more comprehensive approach, we can unlock our students' full potential and set them on a path to success in mathematics and beyond.

Stay tuned for more insights and strategies in upcoming Tier 1 Interventions podcast episodes.
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Episode Video

Creators and Guests

Cheri Dotterer
Cheri Dotterer
Hacking barriers to writing success, dysgraphia No ✏️ Required. 30-sec@time Speaker | Podcast Host | Author | Consultant