Easy as 1-2-3!

Categories: Math | Resources

Today I was talking with one of our elementary teachers – she is fantastic by the way (not to brag), but she totally is! She has impeccable weekly lesson plans posted in her classroom, rapport with her students, and leads her classroom staff with confidence and teamwork. Her group is tough – imagine 7 little ones bursting with energy for 8-hours straight, all at different grade levels, with unique behavior protocols and interventions, all with a variety of support needs- wow! After talking with her, I started to think about how incredibly important our elementary teachers are to our students. They provide the foundation for everything else our students encounter during their educational journey. From identifying letters to read, numbers to add and subtract, to understanding basic classroom routines – they provide a safe environment for our students to explore exactly what “school” even is. One of the toughest things to teach, I think, can be counting! It seems simple to us now, and most of us don’t even remember how we learned that skill. Somewhere along the line, a teacher or family member, sat us down and began teaching us to identify numbers and their meanings. Along the way, that little lesson turned into addition, subtraction, multiplication and more. But it all started with someone teaching us to count to 5, then 10 and so on. Here are some tips and tools for teaching counting to our unique learners!

Leveled Daily Curriculum

The Autism Helper has Math Leveled Daily Curriculum available for multiple levels. What a perfect foundation for whole class, group, or individual instruction. Check out this blog for more tips on how to implement Leveled Daily Curriculum in your classroom! Level .5, 1, 1.5 and 2 all include instruction on counting, pre and post-tests and data collection sheets. Anchor charts are also available to pair with instruction. The Leveled Daily Curriculum makes planning easy because everything is ready for you – allowing you to prep materials quickly and easily each week.

Math Manipulatives

So many different items can be used as math manipulatives! Sticks, paper clips, counters, unifex cubes, popsicle sticks, or even an abacus! Manipulatives provide a hands-on activity for students to work with numbers and counting amounts. You can use a variety of prompts such as, “Give me 3,” “Show me 4” or “How many am I holding?” Students can show you their answer by placing manipulatives on their workstation, group them, answer using visuals, or vocally, depending on your student.

Adapted Books

There are over 30 items available in The Autism Helper’s Store. One of the middle-school teachers at our program loves using the Counting Adapted Book Series. I loved observing her work with her student – she provided immediate praise as he sailed through his tasks, but also gave him appropriate wait times to finish answering. This allowed her to observe whether he was just touching a number or if he was purposeful in his choice. It was fantastic! She started with having the student trace wooden numbers 1-10 with his pointer finger using full-physical prompts. Using the scripts provided in the book, the teacher continued full-physical prompts working through numbers 1-5. She then provided a quick break, before getting him back to counting. The adapted book series provides a structured way to teach counting, that is already made and ready to use!

I hope you are inspired to explore all of the many ways to teach counting! Whether you are focusing on your students saying the number name using their language skills, or on them handing you the correct amount of manipulative items – taking one skill of counting at a time will help!

Stephanie Kennedy, M.Ed
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