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 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.
Preparing My Learners:
First we quickly review the Bubble Map for each number 0-5. I always teach numbers one and two before leading the discussion on 0 because many small children do not grasp the concept of there being a symbol to represent nothing. I have noticed over the years that they seem to be more comfortable with that concept once they’ve discussed quantities they are comfortable with.
We then create a Bubble Map for numbers 6 and 7. Now that the students understand what I am looking for, these maps go fairly quickly.
To begin the Bubble Map for 6, 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 6?” Instinctively, most students will hold up three fingers on each hand. I draw that on the map.
I ask, “How else can we show 6?” 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 number 7.
The Counting Begins!
First I introduce and explain the objective to my students. It is imperative that my students understand what they are being expected to do and how they are going to do it. I have the students repeat to me what their goal is with this activity. I think it is important that my children 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 seven. Today we will count up to seven objects to help us reach this goal.” I then demonstrate counting out six objects.
For this activity, I count out six snap cubes on a table. 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 my 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 seven things,”or “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?” I ask. I then my children 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 state the procedures before we begin the 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 ONLY to be used for counting today .
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 have my kids take an activity oath from time to time to remind them of what is acceptable behavior and what is not. I also use the oath to mentally prepare the kids for the goal of the activity, which in this case is learning to count objects one to one accurately.
After we take our oath, I 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 the kids to show the quantities of zero through seven in consecutive order for the first eight 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 seven.
Independent: After we have practiced zero through seven together, I ask for quantities in order eight to ten. For the first time counting, writing and drawing eight, nine and ten, we all do it together and the kids compare their recording of eight, nine and ten with mine. 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.
Once we have gone over eight, nine and ten, I then give them random quantities from 0 to 10 to model on their own and then check against my model on my whiteboard.
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. I collect the exit tickets as they are completed and sort them to identify students who may need small group support the following day or during intervention time.
I gather students back into whole group on the floor and review counting zero to five with fingers. I 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. So was I!!