Terrific Two!

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SWBAT identify, write, count, and represent the number 2.

Big Idea

When working with students with limited early academic backgrounds, it's easy to say, "Two is TOO hard to learn so early in the year!" Two is tough!!! Sometimes it can look like a backwards S, other times a Z, other times something else that DOESN'T rese

Attention Grabber/Introduction

8 minutes

“After 1 comes…”  I begin.

“Two!” students exclaim.

“Yes!  Two comes next, and it’s time for 2 now! ” I state.

 “To make a 2, we say, ‘Around and back down the railroad track-2! 2! 2!!’ I will show you how that looks!”

As I recite the 2 poem, I write a large 2 on the white board. 

Let’s practice together!”

 “Around and back down the railroad track—2! 2! 2!,” I repeat as I write a giant backwards 2 in the air, facing the students so the 2 looks correct to them.

We practice reciting the number formation poem as we write our giant 2’s in the air on our “magic white boards in the sky.”  I make sure to pretend “Erase, erase, erase” in between numbers.  The kids love that part.

After a few invisible 2’s, I ask a couple friends with seemingly strong fine motor skills to write their 2’s on the white board, as well.

“Okay, so we will be practicing 2 in many ways, I preview.  We will write it, show it, make it with play dough, dot it with dot painters, paint it with Q-tips.  We will have too much practice with 2!” I exclaim.

Guided/Independent Practice

42 minutes

At the “teacher table,” we work on the All About the Number 2 page together, focusing on proper formation and matching the quantity 2.  We go through each portion of the practice together.  I know 2 is a tough number early on, so I bring out some Q-tips to use to mark 2 in the upper left hand corner of the 10-frame. 

I also have my yellow highlighter ready if forming 2 is too much to ask so early on.  If I use my marker to make a quick 2 for a student trace, I leave 1 or 2 spaces for the student to attempt to write a 2.

Like last week, we use those free play dough number forming papers in sheet protectors for durability.  Students roll out a snake shape with their play dough, which can also be challenging for inexperienced young learners.  I model rolling a 2 with my hand.

We also have Bumpy Boards along this week.  Students use plastic needlepoint forms from a craft store to place under their papers to create a bumpy texture and effect.  (It's also possible to make bumpy boards using squares of masonite, screening, and duct tape to tape the screen onto the middle of the boards.  I have both in my class, but the needlepoint forms come ready to use!)  This activity provides the support of simply tracing 2, and the job requires tracing the 2s two times each.

Finally, I know 2 is not an easy number, so I went looking on Pinterest, my favorite thing, for some idea to make 2 a little easier.  Well, I stumbled across a free Pete the Cat 10-frame that I decided would make all the difference.  No matter how difficult it is to make a proper 2, but the Cat reminds us, “It’s all good!”

We talk about how 2 is tricky, but this is our perfect opportunity to practice 2.  If you keep writing backwards S’s, I tell them, I can bring my highlighter around for extra tracing.

We work at each “job” for about 10 minutes, with the All About the Number table setting the pace.  (I know that one of my heterogeneous groups has a mix of slightly slower paced students than others, so I anticipate that at least 1 work period will extend to 12 minutes.) We rotate through these activities, a total of 4 in all.

I have to keep my management skills on point for this, as students are young, inexperienced, and likely to be challenged.  Some kiddos will want to give up quickly, so attention—even when I’m focused at a more teacher-directed activity, will make all the difference in the world.   The yellow marker is ready for busines


5 minutes

As we finish our 2 practice, I am exhausted, but I try to keep that from showing. 

We meet and go over everything from the name of the number to the saying to how to roll the play dough into snakes.  The students are doing the majority of our summary, with me prompting away with questions.

I ask about the toughest part, and I hear a chorus of “making the number 2!”  No surprises there.

It’s so important to see what keeps the students smiling, so I ask about the students’ favorite part of the lesson.  “Pete the Cat!” they unanimously exclaim.  I knew I was onto something when I stumbled across the Pete the Cat 10-frames.

 To end this lesson, I ask them enthusiastically, “What does Pete say?!”

The students exclaim, “It’s all good!” 

“Yes, it is,” I affirm.  “And you will all get good at making 2.  You will!”