Model and Write Numbers to 20

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT read and write numbers to 20..

Big Idea

First graders must build fluency in writing their numbers from 1 to 120. This ability is built through sequential small steps and repetitive practice.

Whole Group Interaction

15 minutes

Your students may have already mastered writing their numbers 1-20 in Kindergarten, so this lesson will be quick and easy.

However, many students struggle with the formation of numbers 11-20.  Students can see the numbers and name them, but have trouble recalling how to write numbers when told to do so.

If you feel your students will struggle with writing their numbers during the independent practice section then by all means help them out!

You are being an awesome teacher by thinking ahead about what they might struggle with and being ready for it!

I want my students practicing writing their numbers with precision and begin to notice there is a structure to our numbers and a pattern appears. (MP7). I want students to see that there is a structure they can use to write the numbers correctly by noticing that the number in the tens place for 11-20 is always a 1, while the number in the 1s place goes up in sequential order. This will help prepare them for work we’ll do in place value, too. I need them to be able to count to 120 before the end of the year and this is developed in small steps. (1.NBT1). 

I will open up my smart board and the table attached in the resource section.  My focus will be; 

Keep their numbers neat and when writing a double digit number, they should be side-by-side. 

Point out the pattern that begins to form from top to bottom. Ex. 2 is above a 12 ; 10 and 20 are aligned with each other. 

Point out the difference between a 2 and 5 and if they were to reverse one or the other, their audience would see it as the other number. 


First, I will have my students count to 20 with me.  We will snap our fingers after saying each number.  This keeps a steady rhythm, keeps everyone together, and gives them a starting signal for the next number.

Next, I will ask them to count for me while I write the numbers inside the table in order.

I am using the table instead of a blank board to provide them a framework for inserting their numbers.

Last, I will erase what I did with them and ask for volunteers to come up and write each number.  I have more than 20 students, so I will allow those extra kids to take us above and beyond our goal of 20 and count up to 24.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

I will be hoping for great weather today because we will be heading outside with sidewalk chalk to practice.  I will ask my students to write their numbers 1-20 on the sidewalk and then come get me to check their list.  This will be an easy activity to differentiate your higher students because they can keep writing to a higher number and do not have to stop at 20.  Check the resources and listen to the instructions I give two of my students as they finish and the picture of them working hard and having fun in the sun.

Challenge them (Optional)

15 minutes

Here is a great book you can read to them to introduce the concept of counting backwards from 20. As you read it, you will have multiple opportunities to have them count backwards again and again.

The book is Apple Countdown by Joan Holub.  It is about a class going on a field trip and counting down on the way. Check the resource section for a picture of the cover.