Learning To Count On

Many Kindergartners do not realize that in Kindergarten we are doing math all throughout the day and just because we aren’t calling it math, it doesn’t mean it isn’t math.  Every day we count to a pattern of clapping and snapping how many days we have been coming to school, we count on the calendar to find out the date and we choose the picture to complete the pattern on the calendar, we review number recognition every morning on the carpet, we may line up in patterns, (boy, girl, boy, girl), we make talking graphs on the bulletin board and we graph almost daily.  We are learning to do some math with our daily ritual of taking attendance.  Every day when we take attendance I will count the children who are present and then say to the children, “We are supposed to have 25 children (or 26 in the afternoon) and today we only have 22 children” “Is 22 equal to 25?”, then I wait for answers.  Once we have decided that 22 is not equal to 25, we have to figure out how many children are missing.  To do this we are learning to “count on”, a type of mental math done without paper or pencil.  I teach the children to start counting at the next number beyond 22, in this case 23. So the children say, 23, 24, 25 and learn that they had to count up 3 times to get to 25. They now know that 3 children are missing.  You could do this type of ‘counting on’ at any time with your child.  Just give them any number and then ask them how many more they would have to ‘count on’ to get to another number. (i.e., if you had 7, how many more would you need to make 12) the child would start counting at 8, 9,10,11,12 and realize that it would take 5 more to get to 12.  This is a great math activity for car rides, bedtime, or any time throughout the day when your child might need a quick brain developing activity.  Some Kindergartners are now able to count on and many more are learning, try this with your child and then continue working on it every day to increase those mental math skills needed for math at school.