Kicking Off the Year With Counting

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SWBAT match a numeral with its written digit form for numbers below 20 and learn the meaning of digit and numeral.

Big Idea

Math talk can occur when our little ones develop academic vocabulary. This lesson will provide students the math vocabulary to share in conversations about counting to 20.

Rev Them Up

5 minutes

It's time to get them thinking and talking about math.  Here is a great activity to get them thinking, listening, speaking, and focusing. The CCSS have created a shift towards developing academic vocabulary and supporting the use of precise mathematical language. This is important for first grade and beyond. It is much easier to develop a good habit now by building a strong mathematical vocabulary that is accurate than to teach students the wrong terms and it causing confusion in later grades. The major focus for this standard at the first grade level is to use the correct number words from 1-120. I will begin the year connecting to what they learned in Kindergarten and slowly add on more chunks to our counting sequence. Accuracy cannot occur if I am giving them too much to think about too fast.  

Pick a student to start with in the room and ask that child to begin a counting chain for the class to follow.  This child will start with saying "one" and then the next child "two" and so on. Have the chain continue until the last child gets to say whatever number should be last.  If anyone strays or breaks the chain, pick a start over point and have a new child begin the chain.

Whole Group Interaction

10 minutes

The CCSS encourages our first graders to develop strong counting skills all the way to 120. (1.NBT.A.1).  This strong foundation will support them when they go onto Second Grade. Because it is still early in the year when I teach this lesson, I want to begin by reinforcing what they learned in Kindergarten and build on those skills with a solid foundation in number construction.  They will develop accurate counting strategies by building on the understanding  of how numbers in the counting sequence are related. This lesson is going to build accuracy in counting and help them identify a structure for how numbers are built. (MP6 & MP7). Students will be using mathematical language to describe numbers and explaining their reasoning for the counting sequence. (MP6). Developing students’ ability to articulate their thoughts using precise language is a goal for First Graders. Students will be carefully looking for patterns in how numerals are formed and using this structure to construct additional numbers. Also, students must identify the connection that as the counting sequence increases, so does the quantity. (MP7). 

I will discuss with students the meaning of digit and numeral.

A digit is a symbol; there are ten digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.

A numeral represents a number and can be made up of one or many digits.

(Hold up flashcard 6 and 14.)

How many digits make up 6? (1)

How many in 14? (2)

What are they? (The digits are 1 and a 4)

Encourage them to use the word digit if they do not automatically use it. 

Then I will use the word "numeral" in my math talk.

Ex. Write a list of numbers on the board: 3, 4, 17, 29

Discussion questions:

  • Which numeral is last?
  • Which numeral is first?  
  • What two numerals are in the middle?

Just keep your questions simple and allow the students time to get use to hearing the word numeral instead of number.

Need: Flashcards for numbers 1-20.  

If you have your own flashcards, GREAT! You will only need one set of cards for this lesson, but you may want to run multiple copies for your students to use for extra practice. If you do not have flash cards, you can print the ones from the resource section. 

Use the flashcards for your whole group interaction.  Have the flashcards cut apart and mixed up out of numerical order. Have the students gather around you at your meeting spot.  My spot is at the carpet around my rocker.  Show the students each number one at a time and have them help you name the numerals they are seeing and what digits make up this numeral. Ask for volunteers to raise their hand and wait to be selected to state the number being shown. It is more difficult to tell who is struggling when you allow them to blurt out answers during this lesson.

Now split the kids into four groups and divide the mixed up cards into four piles.  Give each group one pile of cards and tell them they are going to help you put them back in order.  To begin, ask them which numeral should you be looking for first,  The answer would be "1" and the group who has 1 will give it to you.

Find a space in your room that will be large enough for the numbers to be put on display in order from 1-20.  As the kids continue to hand you the next number in order place them together on display.  You are creating a number line. 

Make sure to use the word "numeral" as you build the number line.  Also, pause at times and ask the students how many digits are used to build certain numbers.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

Write the following numbers on the board; 5, 11, 1, and 19.

Ask the students to pick a partner (if you know your class cannot handle this then pick their partner for them) to have a math talk with.

Ask the students to look at the numbers on the board and talk with each other to decide are the numbers also numerals and how many digits do each of them contain?

Walk around the room and listen to the conversations being held.  If you hear any mistakes, stop and talk with the pair of students.  If you hear it from several make a mental note to discuss it with the whole group.