Tally Twigs: More Work with Tally Marks

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Students will be able to represent numbers with tally marks.

Big Idea

Students have had practice reading tally marks. Now it's time to have fun using them to represent numbers.


10 minutes

To begin the lesson, you will need a copy of Pick Up Sticks Skip Counting by 5. (This story was also used in the lesson, Pick Up Sticks-Working with Tally Marks).  I print the book on a colored printer and bind it with a comb binder.  Book rings or stapling would also work for binding the book.  You will also need an erasable marker for the students to write in the book.

I gather the students around my chair and I tell them that we will be rereading our story, Pick Up Sticks.  We talk for a bit why it is good to reread a story.  After our conversation, we reread the story.  I say to the students, Yesterday, when we read our story, students came up and counted the sticks.  We are going to do the same thing today, but if you come up, I want you to count the sticks in groups of give, just like we did our tally marks yesterday.

I read the story and invite students to come up and count the sticks.  I remind them to skip count the groups of 5 sticks.  The class checks each student's work by counting together.  When we are done reading the book, the students move over to the Smartboard to begin direct instruction. 

Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use the Representing Numbers with Tally Marks SMART Board file. If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  There is also a PDF you can use to recreate this part of the lesson.

I gather my students in front of the SMART Board.  I have cards with each student's name on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the SMART Board.

I open the first slide (SMART Board Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques. I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Objective
I can represent a number with tally marks.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend how to represent a number with tally marks.

We then continue with the rest of the slides.

Slide 2:  Remember me?  I am Ted. E. Bear.  I like to collect sticks.

Slide 3:  I have been organizing my sticks to make them easier to count. I was wondering if you could help me?

Slide 4: Remember, when we organize sticks, we place one stick down at a time.  After we have four sticks, we cross the group of four with the fifth stick.

Slide 5:  So, let's practice doing some tally marks. Let's do the number 6 together.  I talk through moving the sticks with the students and demonstrate how they will be moving the sticks on the Smartboard.  

Slide 6:  How about the number 3?  I invite a student to come up and move the sticks to represent the number 3 with the Tally Marks. 

Slides 7-12: We continue as above.  

Slide 13:  Instead of using the sticks, let's try making the tally marks with the markers.   When I make tally marks, they should all be the same size. They need to be close together, but not so close that I can't tell how many there are.  They also can't be too far apart.  Can you circle the group of tally marks that is done the correct way?  I invite a student to come up and circle the tally marks that are made correctly.

Slides 14-16: Students are invited to come up to the Smartboard and make tally marks.  

Slide 17:  It is now time for the students to participate in Turn and Talk.  Turn and Talk gives all of my students the opportunity to practice their academic language, especially my English Language Learners.  All of my students have a Turn and Talk partner.  I have them hold up hands with their partner, so I know everyone has a partner.  I then ask them the question, My friend made these tally marks for the number 20.  How did she do?  The students begin to talk with their partner.  Some of them quickly count, 5-10-15-20 and say that she did a good job.  A few are more critical and catch the mistake that there are not 5 marks in each bunch.  When the students are done discussing, I call them together and we discuss their answers.  I ask a student to share with the class.  The student says, "She did not do a good job because she only made 3 marks before she crossed them.  She needed to make four."  I restate the answer to the class saying, Every group of tally marks needs to have five tally marks.  We make four marks and for the fifth one, we cross it.  These groups only have four marks. 

The students move to their seats and we begin our guided practice.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For the guided practice portion of the lesson, you will need strips of construction paper.  I cut strips that were approximately 4 inches x 1/2 inch.  Each student needs 25 strips.  I store mine in snack size zipper bags so they can be reused in future .

I pass out the strips of paper to the students.  I tell the students, We are going to practice making tally marks.  You have a bunch of Ted E. Bear's sticks.  We are going to practice making groups of tally marks with the sticks.

I start with some simple numbers.  I give them the number 2 and 4.  After those, I give them larger numbers to represent.  I remind them, Remember to organize your sticks into groups of five, crossing groups of four sticks with a fifth stick.  We count out the sticks after each time to make sure the correct number has been represented. Here is a video of the students working with their "sticks".

As the students are working, I circulate around the room to make sure the students are correctly representing the numbers.  When we are done, the students put the sticks back in the bag so we can begin independent practice. 

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For the independent practice section of this lesson, you will need copies of the Representing Numbers with Tally Marks for each student.  You will also need copies of the Numbers 0-20, one set for each student.  I copy the numbers on two different colors of paper, cut them out and place them in small brown lunch bags.   I alternate colors when I pass out the numbers to keep the numbers from getting mixed up. 

I explain to the students, You will be drawing a number out of the bag and writing it in the first square on the worksheet.  You then need to make that same number of tally marks next to the number.  Set that number aside and then draw a new number.  Continue doing this until all the boxes are filled with numbers and matching tally marks. 

While the students are working, I circulate around the room and to see how they are doing.  It is interesting that my students who struggled reading tally marks had not problem representing the numbers with tally marks.  As the students complete their work, I check it and they place it in their mailboxes.