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Saturday, August 31, 2013


Subitizing is the ability to recognize numbers without counting.  Dot cards can contribute to children’s understanding of number concepts, counting, composing and decomposing numbers, and a variety of standards. 

Hint!  Start with dot patterns up to 6 and then extend it to 10 when they are ready.
*Make sure to download dot cards on card stock or heavy paper.

One to One
Children match up pompoms, beans, erasers, pebbles, and other small objects with dots on cards.

Dot Flash
The teacher quickly holds up a dot card and then places it face down.  The children hold up that number of fingers on their chest.  Ask, “How did you know it was that number?”

Clip It
Children use the appropriate number of paper clips or clothespins to attach to the dot cards.

Copy Cat
The teacher holds up a dot card.  The children try to reproduce the pattern with their own counters.

Sort dot cards by amount.
Sort odd and even cards.

Line Up
Students line up the dot cards in numerical order from largest to smallest or smallest to largest.

Match dot cards with dots on dice.
Match dot cards with ten frames with the same amount.
Make puzzle games where children match dots with numerals or words.

Partner Count
Cards are placed face down on the table.  One card is turned over and the first child to say the number gets to keep the card.  The partner must count the dots to verify it’s correct.
*To make the game more challenging, ask them to say one more than the quantity of dots, one less, two more, etc.

Run off two sets of dot cards.  Place them face down on the floor.  One child at a time turns over two cards.  If the cards match they make keep them and take another turn.  If the cards don’t match, they are turned back over and the next child takes a turn.

Top It
You will need several sets of dot cards for this game.  Shuffle the cards and lay them face down in a pile.  One child at a time chooses a card.  The child with the largest number of dots wins both cards.  If they turn over the same amount they continue to draw cards until one player has a higher number.

In Between
Shuffle dot cards and place them face down on the table.  Each child chooses two cards and lays them in front of them.  Another card is selected.  If it fits between their two cards they get a point.  (Use tally marks to keep score.)  Place the cards on the bottom of the pile and continue the game.

It Adds Up
Two children have a set of cards and face each other.  They each turn over a card and add up the amount.  The first child to correctly say the answer gets to keep the cards.
*Tally to keep score.

Paper Plates
How about making some dot plates?

Whew!  I think you’ve got the idea!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013


There are three other math tools that will build a foundation for the Common Core Math Standards.  Today I’ll share ideas for ten frames, tomorrow we’ll explore dot cards, and then it's rekenrek time.

Here are two good sites for downloading ten frames and dot cards.
You’ll find games children can play on these sites:

Check out these activities for using tens frames with a Smart Board:

The Georgia Department of Education has some good activities for both ten frames and dot cards:

And here are a few videos that demonstrate ten frames:

An understanding of “ten” is essential for working with larger numbers.  It helps students visualize the numbers and gives them an understanding of the relationship of numbers to ten.

Note!  Many researchers suggest starting with a five frame before presenting a ten frame.

Building Sets
Give children counters (bears, buttons, small erasers, dry snacks, seasonal objects, etc.).  Call out a number and demonstrate how to place the counters in the frame starting on the left.  Remind them to always start with the first frame on the left.
*Turn the frame vertically to make sets.
*Can you place the counters in a different way?
*Have children count forwards and backwards on their frames.

Rock and Roll
Children take one or two dice, roll them, and build that amount on their frame.

Show a numeral or dot card.  Challenge children to make the set on their frame.

Add and Remove
Have students fill up their frame with counters.  Call out a number.  Can they remove counters or add counters to build the new number?

Addition and Subtraction
Place counters for the first addend on the top row and the second addend in the bottom row.  How many altogether?
*Take away counters for subtraction problems.

Double Frames
Extend to a double ten frame for building numbers to 20.
*Use a file folder to make a single or double ten frame for each child.

Giant Ten Frame
Draw a large ten frame on the sidewalk with chalk.  Let children stand in the frames to build sets, add, subtract, etc.
*Make a giant ten frame with tape on the floor in your classroom or draw one on a shower curtain with a permanent marker.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I can’t think of a good reason why everyone who teaches young children shouldn’t
have these number vests in their classroom.  You can write them yourself or download them free at  (Better yet, ask a parent to download them for you!)  Put them in clear sheet protectors, punch holes at the top, tie on string, and you’ve got a math tool to use all year long!
Hint!  You’ll have to make your own =, +, -, and < and > signs.

Counting - Have children get in numerical order according to the number they are wearing.

Songs - Wear number vests as you sing “Five Little Monkeys,” “I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a One,” and other songs.

Writing – Children can trace over the numerals with a dry erase marker and then erase.  They could also drive over the numerals with a little car or roll play dough and put it on top of the numerals.

Number Words – Write number words on the back of the vests.  Use them interchangeably in rhymes and counting.

Inequalities  - Put up two numbers and have children choose “<” or “>” to go between them. 

Addition and Subtraction - Have children make number sentences using the numbers and signs on the vests.

Fact Families – Move numbers around to demonstrate different fact families.

Word Problems – Use number vests to engage children in solving word problems.

Dot to Dot -  Make a giant pencil by covering a paper towel roll with yellow paper.  Wrap orange paper around the bottom for the “eraser” and insert a black cone in the other end for the “point.”  Pass out numbers and have children scatter around the room.  One child takes the pencil and goes from “0” to “10” by “connecting the dots.”

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


High Five
Make a “High Five” book with children’s fingers.  Trace around each child’s hand and let them decorate it.   Attach pages with tape to make an accordion book.  Number pages 5, 10, 15, 20…etc.
*Make a “Piggie Book” by tracing around children’s feet.  Practice counting by ten’s with this book.

Body Counting
Use different body parts for counting to 100.  Touch head as you count 1-
10.  Touch shoulders as you count from 11-20.  Touch knees as you count
from 21-30, and so forth.

Skip Counting
Patty cake or cross and tap as you skip count.

Odd and Even 
Slap thighs on odd numbers and clap hands on even numbers.

Draw the face of a worm (Numbo) on a circle or paper plate.  Cut 10-15 circles out of construction paper and number 1-10 or 1-25.  Pass the circles out to the children.  Place Numbo’s head on the floor and ask the children to help him grow.  The child with “1” puts her circle down, followed by “2,” “3,” etc.  Ask questions, such as:  “What number comes between 7 and 9?  What comes before 13?  What is 2 more than 4?
*Cut circles out of different colors of construction paper.  Start a pattern on Numbo and see if the children can extend it.

Count On
There are many variations of this game.  Children stand in a circle and each child says a number in order.  When you reach ten that child sits down.  At the beginning of the year start again with one to reinforce counting to ten.
*As children progress, count higher and have children sit down every time you reach a ten.  For example, 10, 20, 30, etc. would sit down.
*Adapt this game for counting by 5's or other multiples.
*The teacher randomly picks a starting number and stopping number.  For example: 17 and 32.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


What better way to develop counting and cardinality with a song or a rhyme!

Over In the Meadow (Traditional Tune - Silly Songs CD)
Over in the meadow in the sand and the sun
Lived an old mother froggie and her little froggie one.  (Hold up 1 finger.)
“Hop,” said the mother.  “I hop,” said the one.   (Pretend to hop finger around.)
So they hopped and were glad in the sand and the sun.

Over in the meadow where the stream runs blue
Lived an old mother fishie and her little fishies two.  (Hold up 2 fingers.)
“Swim,” said the mother.  “We swim,” said the two.  (Pretend to swim fingers.)
So they swam and were glad where the stream runs blue.

Over in the meadow in the nest in the tree
Lived an old mother birdie and her little birdies three.  (Hold up 3 fingers.)
“Fly,” said the mother.  “We fly,” said the three.  (Fly fingers over your head.)
So they flew and were glad in the nest in the tree.

Over in the meadow by the old apple core
Lived an old mother wormie and her little wormies four.  (Hold up 4 fingers.)
“Squirm,” said the other.  “We squirm,” said the four.   (Wiggle fingers.)
So they squirmed and were glad by the old apple core.

Over in the meadow by the big beehive
Lived an old mother bee and her baby bees five.  (Hold up 5 fingers.)
“Buzz,” said the mother.  “We buzz, “ said the five.  (Fly fingers in front of you.)
So they buzzed and were glad by the big beehive.

Activities:  Assign children to be the different animals in the song.  Have them move hop, swim, fly, wiggle, and buzz around the room when their verse is sung.
Fold 3 sheets of paper in half.  Staple.  Let children illustrate a number book to go with the song.
Make up additional verses for numerals 6-10.  For example, “Over in the meadow in a nest made of sticks lived an old mother beaver and her little beavers six…”

Number March
(“The Ants Go Marching” - Totally Math CD)

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah.  (Hold up 1 finger.)
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah.  (Put fist in the air and cheer.)
They all were red and the first one said:
“You’d better catch up, I’m way ahead.”
And they all went marching one by one by one.

The spiders go crawling two by two hurrah, hurrah…  (Crawl 2 fingers.)
They were side by side and the second one cried,
“I wish I had someone to give me a ride.”
And they all went crawling two by two by two.

The birds go flying three by three hurrah, hurrah…  (Hold up 3 fingers and
Their feet were bare as they flew through the air            and pretend to fly.)
The third one said, “I’d like shoes to wear.”
And they all went flying three by three by three.

The rabbits go hopping four by four hurrah, hurrah…  (Pretend to hop 4 fingers.)
They hipped and hopped and bounced and bopped—
The fourth one got tired and down she plopped.
And they all went hopping four by four by four.

The horses go galloping five by five hurrah, hurrah…  (Gallop 5 fingers
The fifth in line said “I feel fine;                                  tapping them on your thigh.)
“I love to gallop all the time.”
And they all went galloping five by five by five.

The fish go swimming six by six hurrah, hurrah…  (Pretend to swim 6 fingers.)
Their tails went swish and the sixth one wished
He wouldn’t end up as a tasty dish.
And they all went swimming six by six by six.

The mice go creeping seven by seven hurrah, hurrah…  (Creep 7 fingers up the
The seventh was meek, he let out a squeak:                   front of your body.)
“I can’t see a thing; I’m afraid to peek!”
And they all went creeping seven by seven by seven.

The worms go wiggling eight by eight hurrah, hurrah…(Wiggle 8 fingers.)
The eighth one thought, “It’s awfully hot—
I’d like to rest in a shady spot.”
But they all kept wiggling eight by eight by eight.

The monkeys go swinging nine by nine hurrah, hurrah… (Swing 9 fingers.)
The ninth one called to one and all,
“I hope you’ll catch me if I fall!”
And they all went swinging nine by nine by nine.

The kids go walking ten by ten hurrah, hurrah…  (Hold up 10 fingers and
The tenth one knew they were so cool,                       pretend to walk.)
‘Cause they were on their way to school.
And they all went walking ten by ten by ten.
You can download a free book that goes with this song at June.  Click “Free Activities” and scroll down to Number March.

Activities:  Let children take different verses and illustrate them.  Put their pictures together to make a class book.

Five Little Hot Dogs  (“Five Little Ducks” - Just for Fun CD)
Five little hotdogs frying in the pan.            (Hold up five fingers.)
The grease got hot, and one went BAM!            (Clap.)
Four little hotdogs…            (Four fingers.)
Three…                        (Three fingers.)
Two…                                    (Two fingers.)
One…                                    (One finger.)
No little hotdogs frying in the pan.   (Hold up fist.)
The pan got hot and it went BAM!

Cut hotdogs out of paper and glue them to spring clothespins.  Draw a pan similar to the one shown on a file folder and make a slit along the middle of the pan.  Attach the hotdogs and remove one at a time as you sing the song.  When the pan goes “Bam!” close the file folder.

*Change the words to:  “Five little kernels sizzling in the pot.  When the oil got hot one went ‘POP’!” 

Five Little Monkeys  (Totally Math CD)
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.  (Hold up 5 fingers.)
One fell off and broke her head.  (Touch palm to head.)
Momma called the doctor, and the doctor said,  (Hold hand to ear.)
“That’s what you get for jumping on the bed.”  (Point finger.)

No little monkeys jumping on the bed.  (Shake head “no.”)
They’re all sick with broken heads!    (Hold palms up in the air.)

Activities:  Choose five children to act out the rhyme.

Ten in the Bed and Ten in the Sled
There were ten in the bed and the little one said,
“Roll over!  Roll over!”
So they all rolled over and one fell out.
There were nine in the bed and the little one said…

Activities:  Choose ten children and let them “roll” out of the bed one at a time as you sing the song.
*In the winter you can do “Ten in the Sled.”

One Small Noodle
One small noodle on my noodle plate.              (Hold up one finger.)           
Salt and pepper, tastes just great.            (Pretend to shake salt.)
Mother’s going to the store.                                   
Mother, mother, get some more.                                               
Five small noodles on my noodle plate.
Salt and pepper, tastes just great.
Mother, mother, I am stuffed.
I think that I have had enough!

Activities:  Take a paper plate and cut out five holes as shown.  Stick fingers in the holes to match the noodles in the rhyme.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Enough with letters!  What about us numbers?
Well, guess what?  You can use almost all of the activities from the past week to help children learn numerals and shapes.  Here’s a numeral song you can sing to the tune of “Skip to My Lou.”

The Numeral Song  (“Sing to Learn” CD)
Come right down and that is all.  (Use index finger and middle finger
Come right down and that is all.     to do “invisible” writing in the air.)
Come right down and that is all
To make the numeral one.  (Hold up 1 finger.)

2 – Curve around and slide to the right…
3 – Curve in and around again…
4 – Down, over, down some more…
5 – Down, around, put on a hat…
6 – Curve in and around again…
7 – Slide to the right and slant it down…
8 – Make an “s” then close the gate…
9 – Circle around then come right down…
10 – Come right down, then make a zero…
We can sing the “Numeral Song”…
And make numerals all day long!

*Give children a strip of tissue paper and let them make the numerals in the air. 
*Make dots with water soluble markers and then put drops of glue on top.  Children can trace over the dots as they say the number chant.
*Put a squirt of shaving cream on each child’s desk so they can practice writing the numerals as they sing.
*Hide magnetic numerals and shapes in the sand for children to find.
*Have children lay on the floor to make shapes and numerals with their bodies.
*Glue magnetic numerals and shapes to craft sticks and challenge children to match them up with numerals or similar shapes in the classroom.
Come back tomorrow for another exciting adventure in Number Land!

Sunday, August 25, 2013


We’re Great!
This alphabet book will build your classroom community and introduce vocabulary words. 
            We’re great, but no one knows it.
            No one knows it so far.
            Some day they’ll realize how wonderful we are!
            They’ll look at us, and point at us, 
            and then they’ll shout, “Hurray!”
            Let’s cheer how we’re wonderful beginning with A.

A-            We’re awesome.                       
B-            We’re brave.
C-            We’re creative.
D-            We’re dynamic
E-            We’re enthusiastic
F-             We’re fantastic.
G-            We’re gifted
H-            We’re honest
I-               We’re imaginative
J-             We’re joyful.
K-            We’re kind.
L-             We’re lovable
M-           We’re magnificent.
N-            We’re nice.
O-            We’re outgoing
P-            We’re polite.
Q-            We’re quick.
R-            We’re responsible
S-            We’re special.
T-             We’re terrific.
U-            We’re unique.
V-            We’re valuable.
W-           We’re wonderful.
X-            We’re excellent.
Y-            We’re youthful
Z-             We’re zany!

Note!  This song is actually on my “Just for Fun” CD, but I can’t think of a familiar
tune???  It will work if you just say the words.

*On the front of the notebook or pocket folder write “We’re Great!”  Write a
different letter of the alphabet on each page.   Show children the dictionary and
ask if they know what it is.  Explain that words are written in the book in
alphabetical order (ABC).  When people want to know how to spell a word or
want to know what a word means they look it up in the dictionary.  Tell the
children that you want them to help you make a special dictionary with
WONDERFUL words that describe special people just like them!  Use the words
from the above chant to start your dictionary.  Add words that children suggest.

*Let children make an acrostic poem by writing the letters in their name vertically down the left side on a piece of paper.  Can they write an adjective that describes them for each letter?
*How about a vocabulary parade?  Have each child choose a "wonderful" word.  Write it on a sentence strip and let them decorate it.  Pin it to them and let them walk around the room parading their words.