Counting is one of those skills that seems so simple, but it's so incredibly important! It's truly foundational in nature because our kids need to know how to count in order to learn to add/subtract and eventually multiply/divide! In my normal grown up life, I count every day. I'm also guilty of counting too fast and having to count the same thing 3 or 4 times. Many of our kids come to us with the ability to rote count... maybe to 10... maybe to 100. But even those amazing rote counters can have some difficulty with one-to-one correspondence. So we practice. A LOT. The biggest problem my kiddos encounter when learning to count one-to-one is that they go too quickly or forget which items/pictures they've already counted. I like to teach them different ways to keep track.
I can count like I read.
Since our counting unit hits at the beginning of the year while we're teaching print concepts, this is an easy way to help kids understand how to count in an organized way. I tell them to count left to right, top to bottom. I tell them to touch the objects/pictures they are counting just like we touch the words we are reading.
I can cross things out.
If we are working on a paper or they are counting something written, I tell them they can keep track of what they have already counted by crossing an item off for every number they count. As they count 1, they will cross out an item, 2... cross out another... and so on.
I can move things over.
When we are counting something tangible, I teach them to move the items over. For example, on the chart above, we practice with post-it notes. I put some post-its in the first box, and we practice counting while moving them to the next box. We practice this with unifix cubes, counting bears, and even candy or goldfish crackers! They know that once they've moved all items over, they have reached their total.
We practice counting with lots of different activities. I have put a few of our favorite stations together in a mini-unit that you can check out on TPT! Click the picture below to get a closer look.
The kids LOVE this station and you can put all sorts of little trinkets in the bags to be counted. They can practice the move it over strategy while counting.
These sorting mats are for numbers 1-5 and allow students to practice touching while counting.
Love these cute little puzzles. Kiddos can practice counting the shapes like they read.
Count and clip is a big favorite in my classroom. Put a smiley face on the back behind the correct answer to make it self-checking.
My kids love getting up and around the room. In this station they search for the ten frame kids and count like the read to answer How Many.
We practice counting all year long but really hit it hard in the first semester of school. It's so important and never goes away, so having these strategies in their back pocket is a huge help and you can refer to them all year long!