Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Line Them Up! (or something)

I don't know about all of you...but it seems that my students are having a hard time counting objects accurately (and that problem is growing from year to year). They just don't seem to have a way to get organized. 

 As I sat down to do the district math screener for my grade level, it became clear that my students had not mastered the strategies needed to count objects in an organized way.  After the first 20 students I assessed counted the 30 objects I gave them over and over and come up with random amounts ranging from 28 to 57...it took everything I had not to yell out "LINE THEM UP (or something)"!!!  

To make an effort to fix the problem, I decided to make daily counting practice part of my morning routine each day.   

 Pennies + (adorable) cups = daily counting practice 

 I use these adorable cups from an etsy shop that I discovered called Primp My Cupcake. Seriously, is that the best name ever? I think the cups that I purchased are actually for nuts and mints at weddings, but I knew they were a perfect match for my penny counting cups as soon as I saw them.

Each student has a penny cup on his/her desk.

I encourage the children to line their pennies up, put them in groups or at least push
 them away from the group as they touch each one to count it.   Some of the children count their pennies by 1.  Some of them count their pennies by 2's, 5's and 10's.  For now, I let them decide which way to count the pennies.

We practice counting the pennies each morning.
Each student is encouraged to organize their, count the pennies and share their strategy with a partner.

Right now, we only have 50 pennies in our cups.  After Thanksgiving, we'll start practicing getting organized while we count 100 pennies.  At spring break, we'll start organizing/counting 120 pennies.  I'm lovin' my adorable penny counting cups and all of the things I'm learning about my students as I watch them count and learn each morning.


  1. Oh my- we did a counting assessment and I was floored at how unorganized they were when they counted- they were all over the place!!! This is a great idea:)

    Going Nutty!


  2. We are using a numerical fluency assessment this year. Stage 1: count objects. I had 3 kids move past stage 1. What is HAPPENING?! Seriously! Great idea with the pennies!
    Rowdy in First Grade