It sounds too simple to be true, but counting collections is a great builder of number sense in K, 1, and 2 students. I saw students in a first grade classroom this afternoon with buckets of beads, flat marbles, popsicle sticks, and more. What were they doing? Just counting. In this case they were counting into sets of three or five. Many of them could then count by threes or fives. As in 3,6,9,12,15....
If you ask a child to count out twenty of something and then count it back to you, you can get a feel for where his understanding of numbers lies. There is certainly nothing wrong with counting by ones, by counting into larger sets and then counting back by 3s, 5s, 10s, etc... is far more efficient.
Think you don't do this every day? If asked to measure a room would you measure in inches or feet? If asked how far it is to the next town what unit of measure would you likely use?
At BB we are trying to get students to think about "the right tool for the right task" whether talking about laptop versus iPad or one on-line resource versus another or even the best ways to count and record numbers.
Efficiency will be a big deal in their lifetimes, because an abundance of information will be at their fingertips. Their challenge will be to discern the BEST information, the BEST method, the BEST tool. We are tasked with training them to thrive in their world!
Author: Susan Hayes
Principal, Barkley Bridge Elementary School