Each day we complete our calendar and practice counting in a few different ways. Repeated practice in rote counting helps kids develop number sense that is used in many different mathematical skills. Having strong number sense helps kids to understand the more complex concepts that come up quickly in kindergarten.
We count on using videos on the ActivBoard. Before I had an ActivBoard, I use posters that I made myself, or purchased at a teacher store. It's all the same to the kids as long as they have fun! The goal is to have 100% participation.
We begin with completing the calendar on Starfall (this part is free).
After that we use the following videos to count forward and back to 20, count backward from 20, count to 100 by 10's, and count to 100 by 1's. The goal is to get the kids to be able to count in all of these ways independently by the end of the year.
Count to and from 20:
Countdown from 20:
Count by 10's to 100:
Count to 100 by 1's:
There are a ton of counting videos to choose from online. Preview and pick new ones often. I cycle through the count to 100 videos so the kids don't get board. They enjoy the variety. The count to and from 20 videos remain the same throughout the year and they never get tired of them.
I open this lesson by reading a counting story that goes to five. I have a few stories like that, and I cycle through them like I do the videos. That way, the students are familiar with the story, but they don't get bored listening to it.
For this lesson I choose to read, 5 Little Monkeys. This story is their all time favorite and they ask me to read it all the time so I selectively choose when I read it to them. This lesson is perfect for it.
As I read the story I think aloud about one less and one more. This lesson isn't focused on one less and one more, but I never waste an opportunity to support cognitive understanding of number sense.
After the story, I flash small dot (0 - 5) cards under the doc cam (before a doc cam, I would just hold them up and I made them a little larger on the copy machine).
For guided practice, we watch the following video and count with Stinky Pete the Pirate. He counts his gold coins from 0-5 (5-0).
I ask the kids if it matters how objects are arranged when you count them (this aids in the transition from the line of dot cards to the line of coins and to the dice).
We have a quick discussion and then I demonstrate how to play the game.
Each player in the group (they play as table groups) has a treasure chest. Some are commercially made as in the photo and video, and some are handmade. See the video below to see how to make them. All supplies were purchased at Michaels Craft Stores or the 99 Cent store.
I identify the player to go first in each team to save time and because I choose a high achieving student to go first at each table so the struggling students have more opportunity to see how the game is played before it is their turn.
Player 1 rolls the dice, says the number quickly out loud, a puts that many gems in the chest. I start the game using 10 gems. Later in the year, I have them play using 20 gems.
The students play this game in table teams. I choose the first player (Player A) to go at each table. Then the kids play clockwise (I tell each student what they are: B, C, D, E - I have five students at each table).
Player A rolls the dice, identifies the number of dots on the dice as fast as they can, and places that number of gems in their treasure chest. When they get down to a small amount of gems remaining in the pot, they cannot roll a number above the amount of gems remaining. If they roll a number that's larger than the amount available, they pass to the next player. If there is only one gem left, they have to roll a one to win.
Students take turns playing until all the gems are in all the treasure chests or until time is up.
This format of play supports social skills, following multiple directions, and most importantly counting skills.
I gather the students back together on the floor (I count down from 5 once the tables are clean).
I ask two questions. I use these same two questions for almost every closure because they are open-ended and require the kids to come up with original answers. It requires connecting to the core learning.
What did you learn today from the activity?
Do you have any ideas on how we can make this activity better or use it again in the future?
You would be surprised what kinders come up with! Young children are awesome thinkers and they often make connections we don't expect. Do not underestimate them.
I validate their thinking by honoring their suggestions when possible or by listing their thoughts on chart paper. If a child has an idea that they are struggling to get out or explain, I have them come up and demonstrate it.
If time permits:
I provide each student with a quarter sheet that has objects to count and record the number. There are four different exit tickets, so only two kids at each table would have the same one (my tables have five kids each).
As I collect the completed exit tickets, I look for anything that may be concerning or a sign that the kids are not understanding counting objects to 5.