Counting isn’t just as easy as 1 2 3. Sure you’re going to have kids who have already mastered this skill. But take time with those who haven���t. Mastering these skills now will lay the groundwork for a strong understanding in math. Even those children who seem to have an understanding of counting may need extra support.
What do my kids need to know?
The number 1 concept your kids need to know is the name of numbers in order. Can they count 1-20? What if they start at 4, will they know what comes next? The best way to assess this skill is to observe kindergarteners as they count. Do they count each object only once? Do they have a strategy for keeping of track of what they have already counted? Do they know that the last number they say is also the amount? Do they understand this amount will not change? Can they make an equivalent set? Are they able to subitize ( quickly identify an amount without counting)? These counting skills are truly the foundation for higher level thinking.
How can I teach these skills?
I love teaching math because it is naturally all around us. We all start the day with calendar time, attendance, question of the day. These are all perfect ways to build mini math lessons into our schedule.
My tips for added math into meeting time.
*Have an attendance stick. Go around the circle and have each child add a unifix cube to a stick to represent themselves. To some of my kids “It’s like magic, the number of blocks on the stick is the same as the number of us”- Jayden 5 yrs. old
* Count around the circle. This is one of those simple, simple activities you can do almost anywhere but tells you so much. Have the kids stand in a circle and count off. Choose a different child to start each time. You’ll quickly assess which child can count on from a number and which child needs support. This is the fastest assesment strategy that I use. Once they have mastered counting by 1, start skip counting by 5’s 10’s and 2’s.
* Question of the day. Do you ride a bus or walk? Do you like grapes or apples? Do you have a sister? The possibilities are endless. I like to have my question on a white board. The kids names are all on magnetic tags. You can also use a pocket chart with name cards. The kids have to find their name and answer the question. Then we evalute the data. How many answered yes? Which group has more?
A great way to teach math skills are manipulatives. You need to get your hands onto objects. I never met a kid who didn’t love playing with counting bears or dinosaurs. They need to sort them, build with them, play with them. Move them around, hold them in your hands. Kids need lots and lots of time exploring objects.
I love to give my kids egg cartons, and muffin tins, ice cube trays, and of course ten frames. Any time they put one object into another container it helps them order the objects and helps keep track of their counting. My kids love using play doh mats to work on counting.
Now is the time to build that foundation all kids need to be mathematicians. Have fun and be creative. Please leave a comment below about how you bring math into your meeting time.
Here are some math resources to get you started.