I feel it is important to include the numeral zero in my counting lessons. It has been my experience, that many teachers pass over zero and start with the numeral one. I believe students need to understand how to recognize, write, and identify a quantity of zero.
To begin this lesson, I gather the students onto the carpet and tell them I have something in my bag (I use a brown lunch bag). When I have all eyes on me, I dump out the contents of my bag. There is really nothing in the bag, so nothing drops out. I will say, "Oh no, how many items are in my bag?" Children shout out, "nothing" and "zero". I tell the students that we are going to learn all about the number zero today! I then have them watch the YouTube video below:
At this point, I demonstrate to the children how to print a zero on chart paper. Many students make the comparison to the letter o.
After I have written several zeroes, I ask students to do the same on whiteboards and hold them up. The independent practice task will ask students to form zeroes, so this activity helps get them comfortable printing zero. I have included video of us practicing.
Students go back to their seats and practice printing the numeral zero (see resources). I feel a handwriting component is necessary when learning about numbers; I address this in my reflection. To slow down some of my students and increase the quality of work, I tell the children they will get to hear a special song if they give me their "personal best".
To conclude our lesson, I play my "special song". The kids absolutely love this YouTube video and sing along! The song counts up and back from 0-10. The catchy song sticks with the children throughout the day.