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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Peek at My Week 2 - Counting Activities

I am back for another week of 'peek at my week' with the amazing Mrs Wills!

Last week, I told you that I would be sharing my plans for my 'Number Groups'. We work for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a week on targeted skills in the 'number' strand of our mathematics syllabus. If time permits, I would throw in a extra couple of rotations through the week - the more practice, the better! 

This week, I have also included a long range plan of topics. This is VERY flexible. You may choose to repeat a particular skill through to the next week, if you feel a second week of practice would be or more benefit to a particular group. Please note however, that the different skill areas (e.g. 'numeral identification' - are repeated twice a term at least, and throughout the year, to continually revisit and repeat activities and skills. 


For week 2, I would focus on 'Counting'. Students will be at various stage of development in counting. 

To find out where they are, you will need to dedicate a special time for a quick assessment. It should not take longer than 20 minutes to get through a class of 20 students, if you have everything out ready, and have the rest of the students working on some independent work. 

Have a pile of counters/chips on your desk. Ask students to come to see you individually. Present them with 7 counters from your pile (don't count them out). This is the important part! Watch what they do. You may get a range of responses. You want to watch and see if they can count out a set of objects and know that the number they finish on is the total number of the group. Are they touching one counter and saying one number word? Or are they rushing and skipping over a few numbers as they touch, out of time, with their words? 

You are looking for 1:1 correspondence. 

If a student cannot do this, they are in Group 1. Don't ask them to do any more counting. Give them a sticker and tell them they are wonderful!

If students can do this, you can then ask them to get 14 counters for you, from the big pile. Here, you are seeing how they cope with larger numbers. Try again with 26. Are they confident? Could they be better? This is teacher judgement, and comes with experience. Remember it is only week 2, so your students are learning valuable skills from just being in a group and participating in an activity. Don't get too bogged down in the assessment at this stage. Part of your job is to also observe students as they work with their activities. If you find you have made an error in your groupings, don't be too hard on yourself, it happens! Just make a note of it, ready for the next time you cover this skill area. 

The students you put in groups 2 and 3 will have 1:1 correspondence, but they need more practice with counting out a larger set accurately. You should also put students in these groups that may need extra practice with numeral identification with numbers to 20 (based on your assessment from last week).

Put very confident students, and those demonstrating early advanced strategies (counting multiple chips to get the total), into Group 4.


I have listed 2 activities for each group. Groups 2 and 3 are at the same level this week, as that is where most of the students will be. These plans can be easily adapted to suit other groupings if you find you need to.


You can access links to all the resources used, in my Powerpoint file. Just access the file in 'slideshow' mode to make the links active. 


One of the activities is a new freebie in my TpT store. You can find it here:


Throughout the week, I would also be doing mini lessons for the whole class, on correct counting of objects. You need to specifically demonstrate to a lot of little-learners, how to touch and slide objects as they count, to maintain a correct total. Show them how easy it is to double-count an object, if they don't move it away from the group as they count.

Thanks so much for visiting and having a 'peek' in to a sample week of mine! I hope it has helped you a little!


Please head over to Mrs Wills blog to find more teacher plans for the week!





Download my plans in MS Powerpoint format, from Google Drive HERE

Let's Learn the Alphabet - More Bright Ideas!



Hi there friends!

Today, I want to share with you 22 worksheet-free ways to practice letters of the alphabet. 

Letter identification and formation are essential basic skills in the early years. We need our students to have repeated exposure and practice in creating the shape of each letter - in upper and lower case. All of these techniques can be applied to any letter in the alphabet. 

Are they just for pre-school? No way! SO many students come to formal schooling with fine motor and handwriting needs. These activities are PERFECT! 

They combine essential fine motor conditioning with letter awareness. Students can use their whole hand and wrist to experience the shape of the letter, without getting bogged down and frustrated by having to write tiny little letters neatly with a pencil on lined paper. 

I have used many of these activities with very clever students that already know their letters. Upon initial assessment, I have found that they can recognise the letters. Some of these clever students, particularly boys I have found, struggle with the fine motor strength to write them easily.  

For each of these activities, write a large letter on a piece of paper with a Sharpie, if you think your students need a guide to make the letter.

1. Play Dough - students roll, shape and form the dough to make the letter.



2. Rainbow Writing - place a fun sticker on the point where you want students to write. They use bright colours to trace the letter over and over again, forming a rainbow effect. 



3. Pipe Cleaners - give students time and encouragement to twist pipe cleaners to make letter shapes!



4. Sticker Dots - students peel and stick dots to form the letter.



5. Dot Dabber - students use a dot dabber or bingo marker to write the letter!



6. Pom Poms and Tweezers - students use plastic tweezers (I collected a stack of these when they were free with a McDonalds meal) to pick up pom-poms and place them along the lines of the letter. They may or may not be glued into position.



7. Popsicle Sticks - students make a letter from popsicle sticks. You could use large or small sticks and as the students to glue the pieces together with white glue.



8. Glitter Glue - students can trace the letter with glitter glue, building skills tracking and directionality. Once it is dry, students can run their finger over the line and have a tactile experience of the letter also!


9. Finger Paint - forget the mess, you will not find a better tactile experience. The learning that takes place as students use their finger to draw and write in finger paint will have amazing effects on their writing further down the track, and is hard to replicate with many other materials. Get in there!




10. Paint with Water on the fence (or ground) - this is an important one for students with poor writing skills.  The 'whole arm' writing will help them so much to 'feel' how to write the letter!



11. Sidewalk Chalk - who doesn't like writing on the group with chalk!? Students could also use chalk on small slates in the classroom.



12. Lego / Blocks - use whatever manipluatioves you have in the classroom to let students build!



13. Counters (chips) - students can place counters along the line of the letter 0 then count up how many they have used!



14. Push Pins - put the paper over a cork board or mat, and have the students push pins in to create the letter



15. Tracing Book - I made 'tracing books' for my students at the beginning of Kinder. I take an old birthday card, layers of kitchen paper (about 20, cut down to size) and staple them to form a book. Then I create index cards with letters on them. Students' slide a card under a page in their book, and trace. They LOVE them! They are also good for learning how to write your name too!



16. Mosaic - use any sort of mosaic toy/game that you have, and let students be creative. This one is a magnetic foam mosaic set.



17. Magnetic Letters - students sort through a tub of letters to find appropriate letters to make this one! They will have lots of letter discrimination practice as they search for their focus letter.



18. Paper Teaching - teach your students to tear paper, and have them tear their favourite letter. Get them to use their thumb and pointer finger of both hands, and teach closely between them.



19. Paper Chipping - paper chipping is where students cut small 'chips' of paper from a long thin rectangular strip of paper. It is an excellent early scissor control activity. Once they have  



20. Glue Dots and Eyes - students can practice putting dots of glue along the letter, and then put a goggly eye on each dot!



21. Special Markers - get the 'good stuff' out. You will get lots of oooo's and aaaaa's from the students! Think smelly markers, glitter pens, fat pens and pastels. They can rainbow write again, but this time with something that is 'special'.


22. Tracing Tray - make trays of grain or salt for students to trace in. This makes a great tactile experience. Make it extra special by adding some glitter!


Thank you so much for stopping by - please consider following me on Pinterest and Facebook to get regular new ideas and resources!