How Do We Write Numbers? - Practicing & Writing 0

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Students will be able to use objects and pictures to name and write the number zero.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students review the idea that there is a number that represents nothing. They eat a snack to help them understand that when there are no cookies left, they have 0 cookies!

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start the lesson with a problem of the day to help students review skills and concepts from prior lessons and develop their ability to problem solve.  I call the students up to the carpet. The students find their spots while saying this chant with me.

Criss cross, applesauce, hands in your lap, eyes on the teacher, you've got to show me that.

I project the Problem of the Day on the SMARTBoard and say to students, "This is our Problem of the Day for today.  This says 'Count the clouds. Count the swings. Which group has less?'"  I say,"This problem has three parts.  What is the first thing it asks us to do?"  (Count the clouds.)  I have a student come up, count the clouds and write the number on the line.  "Listen to the directions again.  'Count the clouds. Count the swings. Which group has less?'  What do we need to do next?"(Count the swings.)  I have a student come up, count the swings, and write the number on the line.  This may spark up some discussion since there are no swings in the pictures.  I try to get a student to answer the question of "What do we do?  There aren't any."  I give small hints such as"Think about what we learned yesterday."  When students come up with the answer of 0, I ask,"Are we finished?"  (No, there was still another part of the question.  Which group has less?)

If you don't have a SMARTBoard, you can use the pdf copy of the slides in a variety of ways to reproduce this activity.

I tell students, "Today we will be learning continuing to explore my favorite number 0!"

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I remind students that yesterday we talked about the number 0.  "Today we are going to continue learning about the number 0 with the help of a little snack."  I give each student 1 animal cracker.  I ask, "How many cookies do you have?"  I have 1 cookie.  I then tell the students to eat their cookie.  When the students are done chewing, I ask, "Now, how many cookies do you have?"  (I have 0 cookies.)  I ask, "How do you know that you have 0 cookies?"  (I have no cookies and 0 is the number for nothing.)  I show students the number 0 and model how to write it on the white board.

I tell students that we will be practicing writing the number 0 and the numbers 1 to 5 on a Writing Number 0 Worksheet.  I show students the paper and say, "You will be doing this paper on your own.  You need to get out your pencil and put your name on your paper.  When your name is on your paper hold your pencil in the air, that will let me know that you are ready to hear the directions for this paper."  I like to have students hold up their pencils or put their hands on their heads when they are finished with a task.  It makes it easy for me to see who is ready and also keeps the students from writing all over their papers while they wait for other students to finish.  

I hand each student a paper for them to take back to their seats and while the students are writing their names, I turn on the projector and document camera and display the worksheet on the SMARTBoard.  When all students have their pencils up, I say, "The directions on this paper say ‘Count the objects.  Write the number.'  Put your pencil point on the smiley faces.  How many smiley faces are there?"  I call on a student who is raising a quiet hand.  I have the student come up and point to each smiley face as they count aloud.  I then ask, "How many smiley faces are there?"  I ask that follow up question because not all students are making the connection between the last number they say and the total number of objects they counted.  I have the student write the number on the line. I tell the students that they can continue to work on the paper on their own.  When they are finished, they put their papers into the paper tray in the front of the classroom and get their center.


20 minutes

Since the students finish their papers at different times, I circulate through the room to make sure that student are completing their papers, putting it in the tray and getting their centers.  This week's centers are:

Play Dough Numbers (
Pattern Block, Lego, and Counting Bears Count (
Roll and Count ( 
Number Tracing (I purchased mine, free ones are also available from WorkSheetFun
SMART Board- Online Game Scrambled Egg City (Macmillan/McGraw-Hill)

I quickly circulate to make sure students are engaged and do not have any questions about how to complete the centers.   I pull three groups during centers.  The first group is comprised of the students who were having trouble identifying numbers 0-5 and matching the numbers to objects.  I pull the students back to my small group table to do a reteach activity using flash cards and manipulatives.  I show the flash cards and have students practice identifying the numbers.  I then give each student a pile of manipulative (0-5) and have them pick the number card that matches their group.  The next two groups do a follow up activity that reviews identifying numbers, counting objects and writing numbers.  I use the flash cards and manipulatives with these groups as well, but I also use individual white boards and dry erase markers.  I start by showing the students flash cards again and having them practice identifying the numbers.  I do this much quicker for these groups.  I then give each student a pile of manipulatives (0-5) and have them write the number on their board.  Prior to clean up, I check in with each table to see how the centers are going.  I turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean

There are many wonderful transition songs to be found, for free, online if you'd like to use music for transitions too.

Students clean up and return to their seats.


5 minutes

I close this lesson by inviting students back up to the carpet.  I turn on the projector and document camera and let one of the students who worked with me at the small group table in one of the review groups share his work on the screen.  The students like getting to "Be the teacher" and other students like seeing their classmates' work being projected on the SMARTBoard. 

I mention positive things that I noticed during centers.  I also include something that needs to be better next time.  I review what we did during our whole group lesson.  "Today we learned about the a number that means nothing.  What number is that "Show me 0 cubes."  I like to ask this question to see if any students heads over to get some cubes.  "Tomorrow, we are going to continue to practice comparing numbers 0 to 5.”