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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.

A Simple Activity To Increase Number Fluency

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Many young students easily adapt to the ABC’s and can quickly put letters in sequence, even when they are out of order. Mastering this concept helps students understand alphabetical order.

This doesn’t always happen with numbers, but knowing numeral sequence is a crucial skill for elementary students. Why? Because knowing the pattern of numbers and being able to easily retrieve numerical order helps children understand the concepts of greater than and less than, simple addition and subtraction, time lines, and many other necessary math skills.

Here’s a simple activity to help your young student practice number order:

You will need:

  • a package of unlined index cards
  • a black or other dark colored marker


  • Take 11 of the index cards and print the numbers 0 through 10 on the cards with the marker.
  • Start simply. Place the 0 through 5 cards face up in random order. Have your child move and arrange the cards in sequence starting from the smallest (0) to the largest (5).
  • When she can easily do 0-5, place the 0-10 cards face up in random order and have her place them in sequence from smallest to largest.
  • Once 0-10 is easily mastered, make another set of cards from 11-20. Place those in random order and have her rearrange the cards from smallest to largest.
  • Keep making sets of cards, in increments of 10, until you have a 0-100 set.
  • Play frequently, using only 10 cards, from the 0-100 set, at a time.
  • To increase the difficulty and challenge your young student, start midway through a sequence, so she has to cross the “decade” (10, 20, 30, etc.). For example, randomly place cards 36 through 45 face up and have her move them in order from smallest to largest.


By playing and varying this fun activity, you’re helping your child recognize number order. This improves number fluency, which naturally leads to increased math comprehension!


> An Easy Way To Improve Math Fluency: Count Backward

> Improve Math Skills With a Deck of Cards


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