Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How to Transition From Counting All to Counting On

Are you wondering when or how to transition your students from counting all the numbers to counting on or up from the first or greater number when adding?

Counting on is typically one of the first addition fact strategies to be taught. Children progress developmentally from counting objects and fingers to counting abstractly; from counting all to counting on from the first number, then from the greater number.

Discover ideas and freebies in this post about helping your kindergarten, first, and second grade students move from counting all to counting on/ up when adding!

I found a vertical number and the concept of counting up to be beneficial for my students. A horizontal number line and the concept of counting on can be applied to everything in this post. I encourage you to use the method that works for you and your students!

Your students are ready when...
  • You have provided experiences to help them develop a conceptual understanding of addition through the manipulation of concrete objects in the context of problem-solving.
  • You have helped them discover the number combinations or bonds for a given number, at least to 10 (i.e. 0 and 5, 1 and 4, 2 and 3 make 5).
  • They are fluent in saying the forward number word sequence to at least 10 if not 20. They can count forwards from a given number, although some may still need a number line for support.
  • They can assign cardinal meaning to the first addend. They understand that counting 7 objects and saying the number 7 to represent a set have the same meaning.

I know you have seen numerous addition activities and games that use dominoes, playing cards, or two dice with pips. These are wonderful ways to develop an understanding of addition but when it's time to transition to counting on, these activities might encourage your students to continue counting all.


Ways you can help your students transition...
  • Instead of using two dice with pips, use one die with numbers 1-6, 0-9, or 0-10. Modify the second die with pips by covering four, five, and six with masking tape and drawing another set of pips for one, two, and three or draw the pips for one, two, and three 2 times with a permanent marker on a blank die or wooden cube. Now, your students will be encouraged to count on/ up from the first number. Some students will still count abstractly by starting with one, even without seeing a set to count. Using a number line to start counting from the first number can be helpful.

Discover ideas and freebies in this post about helping your kindergarten, first, and second grade students move from counting all to counting on/ up when adding!

  • Use a set (or two) of number cards along with the ace, two, and three from a deck of playing cards. Use any number cards (2-9) that you already have on hand or print the ones in this free Activities for Counting Up download. Students can pick a number card and a playing card to practice counting on from the first number. They can also write the numbers counted on a whiteboard or piece of paper. You might want them to draw lines for the numbers counted on as placeholders. They can also write the corresponding addition equation.

Discover ideas and freebies in this post about helping your kindergarten, first, and second grade students move from counting all to counting on/ up when adding!

  • Use the crayon box number cards, also included in the free Activities for Counting Up download, and sets of one, two, or three crayons in the same manner.

Discover ideas and freebies in this post about helping your kindergarten, first, and second grade students move from counting all to counting on/ up when adding!


  • Use the penny or crayon dice or spinners to count up from a given number. This activity can be completed by one student or by a small group taking turns. Roll or spin. Count up that many times from the number given on the recording sheet. Write the numbers. Write the addition equation. The recording sheets may also be used on their own by asking your students to count up an assigned number (one, two, or three) from each given number.

Discover ideas and freebies in this post about helping your kindergarten, first, and second grade students move from counting all to counting on/ up when adding!



These activities are perfect for teacher modeling, small instructional groups, or independent math stations. What are your favorite activities for teaching or practicing the count up addition fact strategy?

Check out my newest addition fact strategy resources, available for purchase in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

  • Piggy Bank Count Up is the perfect activity for practicing the count up addition fact strategy in kindergarten or first grade.
  • Spin to Win- Ladybug Addition has a game mat for each of my addition fact strategies, making it an ideal resource for helping to develop fact fluency in first and second grades.

Enjoy 20% off all resources in my store, including my discounted bundles, May 9th, 10th, and 11th in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week. Use THANKYOU17 at checkout on the 9th and 10th for an additional 10% off.




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Down on the Farm- Activities to Improve Number Sense

I taught in rural areas of Virginia throughout my teaching career- in places where farms and cows dot the landscape; in places where kids might have intense interests in tractors, cows, or horses.

Check out this blog post for a one less one more cow themed freebie, perfect for kindergarten math!
Farm Landscape by Hola Amigos

Whether you live in the city and are teaching a unit about farms or you live in the country and you're catering to your kids' interests, I've crafted some farm themed number recognition and number sense resources for you, including a freebie, to meet the needs of your pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and early first grade students.

Monday, March 20, 2017

4 Advantages to Word Study You Should Know About

Are you stuck giving the dreaded weekly spelling test? You know- the one where a few students can already spell all the words on Monday morning and a few others can barely spell any on Friday afternoon and the carryover into written work is hit or miss for all.

Although weekly spelling tests are an educational institution, around when I was a kid and apparently still a common approach to teaching spelling, it's a one-size fits all approach when the kiddos in your classroom come in all different sizes, each with unique learning needs.

Read this post to find out some of the advantages of word study over traditional weekly spelling. Find free jelly bean sorts here!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Fun and Easy Way to Remember the Make Ten Facts

We've all been there before! Your students are looking at you with adorable but completely blank faces. You know you thoroughly taught this skill just last month or you totally trust that last year's teacher covered this same material.

What is a teacher to do?

Give & Take Make Ten is a math game crafted to engage your kindergarten, first, and second grade students in learning, reviewing, and retaining the Make 10 addition facts.

One of my biggest frustrations was teaching the Make Ten addition facts, the number combinations that equal ten. My students would develop conceptual understanding and develop automaticity with these equations after participating in numerous activities. I would even take the time to integrate learning this strategy with previously taught addition fact strategies. And we would move on to learning the next strategy.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How to Get Started With Teaching CVC Words

How do you know when your students are ready to read and spell CVC (consonant vowel consonant short vowel pattern) words? When you're following a set curriculum, it's often full speed ahead, ready or not!

Ask yourself the following questions:

Can your students demonstrate consistent knowledge of a set of seven to ten letters and their corresponding sounds by:
  • Looking at an individual letter and producing the corresponding consonant or short vowel sound? It's okay to rely on a key word!
  • Hearing an individual consonant or short vowel sound and saying or writing the corresponding letter? 

Can they segment the individual sounds in a three-phoneme word?

Can they blend three phonemes to say a word?

If you answered each question affirmatively, then... Ready! Set! Go!

Check out this blog post for an idea for teaching CVC words!
Digital Paper by RalphAndArthur; Clipart by Educlips 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Things We Love Giveaway

It might be that time of year again when you know you're going to lose it if you hear one more time, "But, I don't have a blue crayon." or "My glue stick just broke." or "I can't find my pencil." Perhaps your parents have quit sending in new supplies and you eagerly spent your meager allocation for instructional supplies a long time ago or you just love the excitement and smell of new.

Things We Love Giveaway


Whatever your situation, you're going to love this giveaway! It won't help with the crayons or the glue sticks but it does include plenty of pencils, along with the other supplies pictured above and listed below. It even includes some that are just for you!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  

Prize: Things We LOVE prize pack including Mr. Sketch Markers, Flair Markers, Personal Laminator, Dry Erase Pockets, Dry Erase Markers, Astrobrights Paper, Ticonderoga Pencils, and a $50 Teachers pay Teachers gift card.

Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher) 

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 2/21/17 and is open worldwide.

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 6, 2017

One Lovely Way to Teach Place Value for Understanding

I don't know about you but I absolutely believe that "it is impossible to spend too much time on place value" (Kuhns, Lasater, 2013, p. 63).

One of my favorite activities for developing this critical concept is a treasure report. By having a collection of counters and an assortment of organizers, this is an activity which can be repeated as many times as needed throughout the year.

Find out about a free and fabulous place value activity for first and second grade math in this post!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Read to Inspire Kindness and Inclusion

As usual, I feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short. When I was teaching full-time, I felt as if I would never catch up with everything on my must-do list. My mantra became "I'll be finished in June". Well, in retirement the only deadlines are self-imposed and June never comes!

I had intended to write this post last weekend to join with others on Teachers Pay Teachers in promoting a #kindness nation with a collection of free teaching resources. Instead of feeling as if I'm late, I've decided to focus on the timeless quality of kindness. A little bit of internet searching revealed:
  • February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • February 12th - 18th is Random Acts of Kindness Week
  • November 13th is World Kindness Day
  • November 24th is Random Acts of Kindness Friday

Sunday, January 15, 2017

How to Get Started With Segmenting Phonemes

I must be a cookbook collector! I just counted over 30 cookbooks lined up on a shelf in my pantry. That doesn't include my two file boxes stuffed with recipe booklets (at least a dozen with chocolate in the title) picked up in the checkout line at the grocery store or the cookbooks delegated to a bottom cabinet. I typically use only a handful of favorite recipes from each book. I still have my first, "Betty Crocker's Cookbook", purchased 40 years ago. I continue to rely on the pie crust, strawberry shortcake, and bean soup recipes from this cookbook!

Like cookbooks, I collected many program manuals during my teaching career. Like cookbooks, I tended to try everything in the manual and then over time narrowed my focus to one or two components of the program.

Read this post to discover fabulous ways for teaching the foundational skill of phoneme segmentation with young or struggling learners.
Photo by Fresh Snaps

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wonderful Wintery Ways to Review Letters and Sounds

The weather in my part of Virginia is forecast to be sunny and in the mid-50's today. The possibility of snow is in the forecast for two of the next three days! This is a typical Virginia winter with a wide variety of weather to please everyone; highs ranging from 15 to 65 degrees, sunny, windy, rainy, a coating of ice, a dusting of snow, oh wait a minute, make that two feet of snow!

As you return to your classroom in this new calendar year for a new semester of teaching and learning, your students will exhibit an equally wide variety of achievement levels and readiness to take on new tasks. Some of your littles will undoubtedly still need a daily review of letters and sounds.

Check out this post for free printable winter hat letter and number cards, perfect for preschool and kindergarten, along with links to other resources.