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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

# Activities To Help Kindergartners Understand Numbers

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Two Common Core math skills that your kindergarten child will be required to know by the end of the school year are:

• Count to 100 by ones and tens
• Counting forward within the known sequence (instead of having to always start at 1)

Here are three simple activities that you can do with your kindergartener throughout the school year to practice and easily make these skills automatic. Many young students can count by rote, but have no concept of what the numbers mean. By practicing number sequence and “counting on” from any given number, you can help your kindergarten student understand the relationship between numbers and quantity.

• A great way to practice counting, while reinforcing what the actual number represents, is to use pennies. Start simply, by having him put 10 pennies in a row. Have him start counting, left to right, by using his index finger to point to the space right before the first penny and say “zero.” Then point to the pennies while counting 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. When he can easily do that, increase the pennies by 10 to make a second row. Have him start at the 0 space and continue 1 through 20. Keep adding rows of 10 until he can easily count from 0 to 100. Always including the zero space helps him understand that the number 0 represents no object.
• Use the pennies to help count by tens as well. Once he can count one-to-one and 0 to 20, start have him practice saying “10, 20” while looking at the two complete rows. After counting by ones for each new row, have him practice counting by tens as well, until he can easily say 10, 20, 30, 40 …to 100.
• Counting forward within the known sequence simply means “counting on” from any beginning number. First, help him practice orally counting 0 to 20 in correct sequence. When he’s mastered this, start with the number 5, for example, and have him continue on with 6, 7, 8, etc. to 20.
• Once he can easily count forward to 20, from any starting number, increase the difficulty by 10 (0-30 then 0-40, etc.). Do this until he can start at any pervious number and count forward to 100.