Many thanks to the three K teachers at Bert Ambrose Elementary School who invited me to participate in their math collaboration afternoon. It was wonderful to see what two hours of “math chat” did to energize and inspire them. One of the teachers admitted right at the beginning that when he saw me, he felt he ought to do a “woohoo!” (since that comes out of me so often regarding math) but that it just wasn’t in him. By the end of the collaborative session the “woohoo!” was back and he and the two others were excited to go back to their classrooms and integrate more mathematics into both “centres” and the “free play” parts of the school day.
One of the things we talked about was the need for kindergarten (and pre-K) children to count. Saying the numbers in order is important, as is counting in a one-to-one correspondence (one count for each item). It is also important for children to realize that the last number spoken names the number of items in the set (a principle know as “cardinality”).
GRAB A HANDFUL:
Here is one way to give students the opportunity to practice counting. Place at the centre several containers of things which can be counted. These can be blocks, large beads, erasers, plastic animals, etc. Students are to take a handful from one of the containers, count the items, and write the number of items on one of the hands on the recording sheet provided. Alternately you can provide only a single kind of counter and have students vary the amount grabbed each time (i.e., grab a large handful or a small one).
I hope you will give the activity a try!