Each day we begin our math block with an interactive online calendar followed by counting songs and videos.
My class does calendar on Starfall. This website has free reading and math resources for primary teachers. It also has a “more” option that requires paying a yearly fee. The calendar use is free. A detailed description of Daily Calendar math is included in the resources.
Counting with online sources:
We do daily counting practice to reinforce the counting skills. In the first two to three weeks of school, we watch two to three number recognition 0-10 videos (one to two minutes each) until all students can identify numbers correctly in random order. Depending on time, we may watch "Shawn the Train" and count objects with him. I may also choose to rotate songs, videos and counting depending on time and skill needs. As the students become more proficient at counting and number identification, I begin to add additional skills such as counting to 20 forward and back, counting by tens to 100 and counting to 100 by ones.
First we review a Bubble Map for each number 0-2 (these can be seen in the prior lesson, Counting 0-2). I always do numbers one and two before leading the discussion on 0 because many small children do not grasp the concept of of a symbol to represent that there are none of something. I have noticed over the years that they seem to be more prepared for that concept once they’ve discussed quantities they are comfortable with.
We then create a Bubble Map for numbers 3, 4, and 5. Now that the students understand what you are looking for, these maps go fairly quickly.
To begin the Number Three Bubble Map, I write the number on the center of the chart paper and ask, “What number is this?” The majority of students will respond appropriately.
I ask, “How can you show me 1?” Most students hold up three fingers. I draw that on the map.
I ask, “How else can we show 3?” There has always been at least one student in every class that has been able to provide an idea and I draw it. We use this same process for the numbers 4 and 5.
The Counting Begins!
First I introduce and explain the objective to my students. It is imperative that the students understand what they are being expected to be able to do and how they are going to do it. I have the students repeat to me what their goal is with the activity we are about to do. I also have them repeat the goal throughout the activity. I say, “The goal today is for each of you to be able to count out a group of objects up to five. Today we will count up to five objects to help us reach this goal.” I then demonstrate counting out five objects.
For this activity, I count out five snap cubes on my fingers. I say, “I can count objects by giving each object a number in order.” I count the objects for the students while I exaggerate counting each object. I then ask the students what the goal for today is. I randomly pull sticks from the stick jar for “volunteers” to answer. I look for answers like “use numbers to count things,” “count up to five things,” “count how many.” I allow them to make brief, but accurate statements and will probe for more, “and how are we going to do that today?” (MP3)
I then have students state the I Can statement, “I can count objects by giving each object a number in order.” I then stress in order, “In order means I am counting like this: one (pause), two (pause)…(count to ten).”
I clearly state procedures before we begin any activity. For this activity, I state the following:
Hands stay in your lap until I ask you to touch the bags of blocks.
The blocks are to be used for counting today ONLY.
The blocks MUST stay on your table. I should not see any blocks on the floor during this activity.
We then take our activity oath while raising our right hands, “I promise to keep my hands in my lap until my teachers says. I promise to keep the blocks on my table. I promise to use my tools appropriately. I promise to do my best work.”
I then pass out the bags of blocks while I have student helpers pass out white boards, dry erase markers and wipe-off cloths. Once all the materials have been passed out, we begin the activity.
Guided: I first ask them to show the quantities of zero through five in consecutive order for the first six rounds. “Show me one block." (Everyone shows one block on their finger.) We all count the block(s) on our finger(s) together to reinforce counting. Now write the number on your board and draw that number of blocks. (I do the same as they write theirs.) "Okay, hold up your board.” All students then hold up their board to show they have correctly written the number one and have drawn one cube. I scan carefully to make sure everyone has the correct numeral and the correct number of cubes drawn. I repeat this step for each number in consecutive order to five.
Independent: Now that we have practiced one through five together, I now ask for quantities in random order zero to five. I write on my white board along with the students, but I don’t share mine with them until everyone has written theirs and I have checked them and supported any necessary corrections.
Each student is given a counting sheet and asked to count the objects in each box. They are to write the number of objects in each box. Collect the exit tickets as they are completed and sort them as they are collected to identify students that may need small group support the following day or during intervention time. Sort them by what appears to be "alike" misunderstandings to determine who to group together.
Gather students back into whole group on the floor and review counting zero to five with fingers. Ask students what they learned and if anyone had any special learning moments. One of my students said she started numbering each block as she drew them. She demonstrated it on chart paper for the class. They were all very excited about what she showed them.