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The Common Core- Counting & Cardinality Part 1

by Early Math Counts

There are three areas in the Domain of Counting and Cardinality.  Today, I am looking at the very first one “Know Number Names and the Count Sequence”.  The 3 specific standards associated with the first domain are described below.

Know number names and the count sequence.

Although I believe that this first standard may start out as  a language and memory skill, I do agree that eventually children should be able to count.  Even if it begins with children memorizing the sequence (1,2,3,4,…) and not really understanding what that sequence means, it is a good beginning.  The problem is when teachers and parents confuse the child’s ability to recite a list of numbers (10, 20, 30, 40…) and his understanding of number.  These are two very different skills and competencies.

We often hear children counting from a number other than 1, but usually it is in the context of completing a sequence, for example, when they join in when others are already counting.  In that case, they have heard the sequence beginning with 1 and are completing the phrasing.  It is harder to find opportunities for children to count beginning with a number other than 1, but finding ways for children to count starting at 4, or 5, or 8 will help develop this kindergarten skill. Try using visual cues, i.e., fold down three fingers and have children count the rest of the fingers on your hand.  Remember, it is OK for them to need to start with 1 and point to one of your folded fingers.  They do not need to master this skill during their preschool years, they only need to have ample experiences so they will eventually master it.

Writing the numbers is also important, but children may know the numbers even f their fine motor skills are not yet able to create them.  Again, confusing two different areas of development is problematic.  Remember, allowing children to have multiple ways of showing what they know is the ultimate form of assessing their progress.  Whenever an opportunity arises for children to write numbers, try to encourage it.  My kids liked to write numbers on the bottom of pages of their art as well as date numbers.  So when you ask them to write their names on their work, ask if they want to write the date as well.

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