Daily calendar and counting review is a MUST since counting is such a daunting thing for Kinders to learn. They are expected to count to 100 by ones and tens independently by the end of one school year. Many kinders enter kindergarten with no exposure or experience with counting past three. Daily practice is fun and ensures that the majority of the kids will be successful by the end of the year.
Here's what we do:
Using an ActivBoard, we count to videos. Before I had the ActivBoard installed, I counted with the kids using bright colorful posters. Some I made myself, others I purchased at a teacher store. We also danced and exercised while counting to 100. You don't need an ActivBoard to make it fun!
Our daily counting review is the same each day throughout a unit of study. It changes when the topic changes.
Sites we use:
First we complete our daily calendar using Starfall (The basic site is free. There is a fee for the full site. Most principals are will to pay the fee with school funds once they realize how powerful the site is.) Click the link above and then click on the calendar icon to the right of the screen.
We count forward back to 20. This aids the kids in building fluency with adding one and subtracting one to given numbers.
Next we count down from 20. This really helps the kids understand subtraction and that counting can go up or down the number line.
Then we count by tens. I start this early so the kids can get proficient at counting by tens independently. It also aids in understanding the concept of teen numbers with one ten and extra ones.
We end by doing the Macarena to 100.
Counting by 10's and 1's videos to 100 changes often. I like to keep the counting fresh and fun. The kids look forward to our counting review each day! The counting to and from 20 videos stay the same. Extra videos are added as math learning topics change.
I first read a counting story. Any counting story will work. For this lesson I read, Ten Little Bears. The kids enjoy this story and look forward to hearing it over and over.
I pause as I read the story to think aloud about how the numbers are said in the same order each time I count and how I can't change the order. If I did, I wouldn't be counting anymore. I would just be saying random numbers.
I also stop on a few pages to reinforce the concept that each number represents a specific quantity. I stop and count the bears and make sure the kids understand that the quantity must match the given number.
For guided practice, we spend some time counting on our fingers. First we count to ten several times using our fingers, then I begin calling out random numbers between 0 - 10. They have to hold up the correct number of fingers each time I call out a number.
We do this for most of the time allotted. The kids have fun with it and it becomes a contest as to how fast they can count out and hold up their fingers.
I then demonstrate how to use the counting foams. After a single demonstration, I have students tell me how to do it and I follow their verbal directions. We practice two more foams together.
The foam counting boards I use were ordered through a catalog, but it is very easy to make counting foam boards on your own. See the video below to see how. It can be low cost and fun! I actually like the homemade boards better than the commercial ones.
If you notice that there is a blacked out area on each board, it is because these particular boards had the numbers in American Sign Language on one side. Since ASL counts using different signs that how we typically count on our fingers, it was confusing many of my kids so I used a black permanent marker to block it out.
This video shows students with their partners - partners are strategically chosen and matched. See video below.
The partners take turns (Partner A goes first) picking a counting foam and placing the pegs in. They count out the pegs as they put them in place. They are required to assign one number to each peg (one to one counting).
As they count, their partner is responsible for monitoring accuracy and completeness.
Then Partner B goes. They take turns until time is up.
Organization: To keep the sets together in full, each team at the tables get a different color pile of counting foams so they can't be mixed up. I also put a mark (star, X, color dot in perm marker) on the bottom of each foam in each set. That way if I have more than one set of the same color, they can't be mixed up causing more work for me.
At the end of the activity time, we gather back together on the floor. I ask two open ended questions:
What did you learn from using the counting foams today?
Is there anything you would change to make the activity better or more challenging?
One of my students said that she learned how easy it is to miscount if you're not careful. Another suggests that we use the foams later when we start adding numbers (she is a very high achiever). She said we can pull two foams, write down the addition problem, and solve by counting out the pegs. What a great idea!
**This activity is great to place in a center once the kids are able to do it and monitor progress on their own.
The exit ticket for this lesson is simple. I provide the kids with four sets of a small number of objects pictured on a quarter sheet of paper (0-5). They count the objects or recognize the amount as 0 and write the number in the box next to the group.
The kids count the objects and record the number on the sheet. I collect them as they line up for our special area class (art, music, PE).
I do not count reversals against them. If I can't read a number, I ask them what they wrote as I collect the paper.
If their answer is correct, I continue with the unit lessons as planned. Those who are incorrect, I meet with them just for a moment to have them show me how they got their answer. I look to see if they have incorrect counting, one to one counting issue, or number ID problems.
Once I have pinpointed their specific problem, I pull them individually or in a small group to reinforce that skill and provide additional instruction and practice.