The most basic of the basic – but basic can be tricky. Teaching the skill of counting is something I have really struggled with. There is so much that goes into fully mastering this skill and so many ways to work on it. Also math is not my fav so I’m never really chomping at the bit to get into this one. But this skill is SO important. Counting leads to so many functional skills and increased independence! Your kids have got to get this mastered asap! Here are some ways I like to work on counting:

'Give Me' Counting

I like to call this concept ‘give me’ counting. This is the type of counting we do on a daily basis. Your mom says, “hey give me three napkins.” Your teacher tells you, “grab five pencils.” You tell the starbucks barista “I will be needing three shots in that latte.” Our kids need to associate the quantity of a physical group of items with the verbal number. This is a hard skill to teach and it’s super easy to over prompt and think your student has mastered this concept.

I see teachers do this all the time: A well-meaning teacher says to her student, “Give me three pencils.” The student places one pencil at a time in the teachers hand and once the third pencil lands on her palm, the teacher grasps the group and says, “great – you did it!” Nope. Nope. Nope. No he didn’t do it. He just put pencils in your hand until you said stop. You need to provide a delay. Once that last pencil is in your hand – WAIT. Let your student signal to you when he is done. Errorless learning is key here. Provide hand over hand prompting and model that correct response over and over. Show your student how to signify that he is done counting. Maybe he puts his hands on the table or says, “all done” if he has verbal skills. Beware of over prompting!

Match Number to Quantity

We also need to work on matching a group of items to the written numeral. This is where many of our students tend to excel because there is no spoken language involved! Our kids struggle with comprehend verbal language so taking that out of the equation completely can make the skill a little bit easier to tackle. There are loads of ways to practice this skill – file folder activities, task boxes, worksheets! Just make sure that your little geniuses aren’t just memorizing the task! We need lots of different ways to practice this skill. {pics link to resources}

Receptive Id of Numerals

Since that language piece can be so tricky – it can be helpful to work on this skill in isolation. Just like we love building receptive language vocabularies with so many other concepts – we need to do this with numbers as well. This can be done very simply and easily made more challenging. Show your student a few numbers and say, “show me 3.” Start with a few numbers at a time. Take data. Rock your discrete trial expertise. And slowly but surely – your kiddos will master this concept! Grab this resource here: Basic Skills Unit.

Sasha Long
Sasha Long

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