Thursday, June 20, 2013

Super Quick Impromptu Counting Game

When I was a teacher (I've taught a range of elementary grades, but today I'm referring to preschoolers), parents would start the year off by telling me that their kid already knows his/her numbers and how to count. At the beginning of my first year in preschool, I remember being both surprised and impressed with how advanced my class seemed to be.  All the kids knew their numbers and how to count.

Except they didn't. 

Well, they could possibly count up to 10, and maybe 15 or 20.  But what I quickly learned is that many of those kids had no idea what the numbers actually looked like.  And if you gave them a set of number cards, say, they wouldn't have any idea which order to put them in.  Not only that, but they weren't able to accurately count out a group of objects.  In fact, they seemed mostly clueless when it came to counting and numbers.  

What their parents were referring to when they said their kid could count was rote memorization.  Which is definitely a start, but we all hope that that's not where our counting skills end.

My son, right now, is able to count up to about 6 or so. Which is huge, believe me. But he only recognizes a couple numbers (number 2, number 3...maybe number 5). He can sometimes accurately count out a small group of objects, but often gets lost along the way.  I would not say that he knows his numbers. I would say that we're working on it. So we count everything.

Like these:

We bought these nifty little stuffed bowling pins for Silas's birthday last week.  Turns out they're coming in handy with Daniel, too.

This was an impromptu game. It started when Daniel began playing with the pins. I glanced over and casually asked him if he could find number 3 for me (something I was fairly sure he could do). He did and the rest is history. I've learned with Daniel that you strike while the fire is hot. If he's interested, go for it. 

I gathered up all the pins (6 total) and scattered them randomly in front of him. Then I asked him to find the pin that has a number 1 on it. He chose a few wrong pins first, and when he did, I'd say, "No...not that one," and turn the pin over so he wouldn't choose it again.

Sorry these pics are upside down. I was trying to get pictures quickly and discreetly. That meant taking them from where I was sitting ;)

We put all the pins in order that way.

When we were done, we counted them together. And then I asked Daniel to point to the numbers that I called out, in random order. This was much easier for him once they were all in order.  

We played the game a couple more times, and then...

He started throwing the pins. 

Like I said, strike while the fire is hot. ;)

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  1. I agree that it takes lots of time and fun practice to get meaningful counting down -- and then one day it clicks!

    1. Yes! It's amazing how quickly they can go from not getting it at all to really understanding. It's so important to keep that in mind when kids seem like they're developmentally behind...everybody learns at their own rate.


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