Sunday, October 14, 2012

Counting in Second Grade

As I mentioned before in my post about Flocabulary, I have been working on creating a more effective math meeting as part of our Saxon Math curriculum. My first step was adding music with the math raps from Flocabulary. My second, was making the counting portion more engaging.

Saxon Math has a daily counting activity as part of the morning routine, but my students were not only bored, they were slightly insulted that they were being asked to count while looking at a numbers chart. The last thing seven year olds want to do is feel like they're still in preschool. That being said, I think counting and working with numbers is extremely beneficial for number sense. So I decided to make things a bit more interesting.

I started using a counting technique I learned in graduate school. First, I never start on the same number each day. I range from 1-300. We count by 1s, 2s, 5s, or 10s, depending on the day. We can count backwards or forwards. And instead of looking at a pre-made numbers chart, I write the numbers as we count. When we finish, I ask students to look at the numbers chart we've made and have them look for patterns.

For example, in this picture a student noticed that in the 5th column, the numbers in the ones place have an ABAB pattern (1,6,1,6). Another student noticed that starting in the first column doing diagonally,  the numbers are going up by 6. When that was mentioned, a different student saw that the numbers at the top of the 5th column going diagonally are adding 4 as they go down. I ask them to use mathematical language to describe what they see, so each student is expected to use this terminology as I record them on the board. They are able to practice ordinal numbers, place value, addition, subtraction, and patterns simultaneously. As each day goes by students find more sophisticated and interesting patterns and they truly enjoy this activity.

This takes twice as long as a simple "counting with a hundreds chart" activity, but I have found this to be very beneficial for my students and absolutely worth the time.

Happy counting!

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