Ideas at Work: Numbers and fun with Anno’s Counting Book

by Mary Hynes-Berry and Donna Johnson

Focus on: Big Ideas of Number

  • One of the primary uses of number is to establish “how many” are in a collection or set (cardinality).
  • Numbers used to establish “how many” are an attribute of a set—3 is an adjective, not a noun.

Teachers who go home from our Learning Lab with Anno’s Counting Book immediately put it to use to get their students exploring “how many?” After reading Anno’s, Nancy Beza at Waters Elementary encouraged her preschoolers to make a list of objects that could be found in a winter scene—snowflakes, trees, etc. Each student created an object from the list to display on a bulletin board. A question posted on the board, such as “Can you find…?” followed by a list of objects and their quantities, encouraged the children to go on a counting expedition.

Ms. Beza comments, “I was surprised by the popularity of the bulletin board. Parents and students alike stop to find and count all the objects. I change the objects occasionally to make it more interesting. This has been very beneficial in motivating children to count objects independently.”

Laura Carbajal of Armour Elementary and her kindergarteners also used the book to develop a deeper understanding of number sense and number recognition using dice. Laura had each of her students roll a die and then count and identify the number of dots. Then they found the number on the number chart and wrote the numeral. Ms. Carbajal gave her students many opportunities to practice by moving the activity into the centers. The children in the classroom have a heightened awareness of numbers as they discover them in books and see their use in everyday routines. The students are enjoying counting using manipulatives in class and real-life objects at home.

Ms. Carbajal commented, “I have a different perspective and understanding about mathematical thinking at my student’s level.”

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