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One of my goals this year is to really focus on developing strong number sense in my Kindergarteners. I want them to grow in their understanding of how numbers work, what they mean, and how they relate to one another and the world around us. I needed a fun and effective way to incorporate more number sense into our day, so this year I am working hard at having meaningful number talks EVERY day!
Meaningful Number Talks in Kindergarten
As with almost any skill, the best way to become stronger at something is to practice. This daily “Counting Cup” activity is so simple and so fun! Plus, it uses items you likely already have on hand.
Let’s get started with the supplies you will need:
How to Play
Each day, after the main calendar routine (which is pretty quick – you have to keep everything at a good pace in Kindergarten or I can promise you, you will lose them to floor rolling and carpet lint picking) we count the items in our “Counting Cup.”
Since we are working with numbers 1-20, I line the items up for the students to see the entire amount. Right now we are using counting bears, but I change up the manipulatives every so often.
We then turn and talk, think aloud, and share about all the ways we can represent that number of items.
Below is our example on the whiteboard for the number 6. The ways we represented 6 were as a number word, numeral, tally marks, objects, and as an equation.
We get the equation by separating the items and looking at them in two separate places. Then I take a certain number in my hand (3 in the example below, but 4 when we did our equation) and we count how many are left out.
I guide them through the understanding that the number of bears in my hand, plus the number left out, equals the number we started with.
I want them to visually see and practice the taking apart and putting together of sets as we begin to develop a sense of addition and subtraction.
RELATED RESOURCE: Counting Centers and Activities for Pre-K & Kindergarten
We do a few take-aparts and put-togethers to further help them understand that no matter how I separate them, there are still 6 total bears. We then add the equation to our chart.
This may sound like it would take a while, but I can assure you it does not! Our whole calendar routine, including the number talk, is 10 min max!
Plus, with turning and talking they are having engagement with peers and furthering their understanding (turn and talk is another thing I am trying to incorporate more and more!).
If you like this quick and easy number talk, you will also love this One-to-One Correspondence Counting Game. It’s so simple and effective that we play it almost daily!
Probably the most rewarding thing I have seen (besides their understanding of numbers) from these number talks is a student doing number talks with their friends during our daily center/free exploration time. It made my heart happy!
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