One to one correspondence is one of the most important concepts in early childhood mathematics. It lays the foundation for understanding basic number concepts (counting and number sense) and helps children develop a strong foundation for future math learning. In this blog post, we will discuss 9 simple activities that pre-k and kindergarten teachers can use to check students’ understanding of one to one correspondence.
Want to learn how I teach my students through purposeful and engaging maths games that hooks them into their learning? Read more in my How to Guide so you can start using quick and easy maths games productively in your classroom today.
How do you Teach Children to Count?
“How do you actually teach kids to count to 10?” – this was a question one of my cousins asked me once. He assumed that some kids came to school already knowing it, but what about the kids who didn’t. My answer to him was simple, through multiple exposes. Through picture story books, games, activities, hands-on tasks, class discussions and worksheets, you name it, Kindergarten teachers have tried it. So today, I have put together a collection of 9 fun and engaging activities that develop number sense and require very little preparation.
Teaching Counting Through Subitizing
Subitizing is the ability to instantly recognise the number of objects in a small group without counting. This is a critical skill for one to one correspondence, as it allows children to quickly and accurately count groups of objects. The most simple way to help children develop subitizing skills is through using dot cards. Have a collection of subitizing cards (and students can make their own), handy for you to flip through, whenever you have a spare few minutes. I always have students shout out the answer and occasionally stop and get one student to explain how they knew how many dots there are. Teaching Friends to Ten? Why not ask them how many more dots they will need to get to 10. Within my Number Sense resource, are multiple different cards for you to create to help you students develop this skill.
Reading Picture Storybooks and Counting Objects
I am not just thinking of Maths Picture Storybooks here either. Reading any picture storybook with students, is another great way to help children develop one to one correspondence skills. As you read the story, point to each character or object and count them as you go. You can also stop at certain points in the story and ask your child how many objects they see, and have them count them for you.
Counting Objects in the Classroom to Check for One to One Correspondence
Send students off on a scavenger hunt to find a certain number of objects in the classroom. This is a quick warm up that gets students moving around and counting at the same time. You might say to students:
“Find 2 blue objects in the classroom and bring them down to the floor”
Roll a dice and ask students to find that number of objects and take them to their table.
You could also bring students to the front of the group and make comment that “all these children have red tshirts on, how many children are there” and then count students one by one.
Making Groups of…
As a warm up to your lesson, playing making groups – students love this game and moving around the classroom. Emphasis that you want to see different children in their group each time so they are meeting new classmates. Begin by having all children walking around the classroom by themselves. Shout out “make a group of 3” and students make a group of three and sit down. Have the students count to make sure they have the correct number of people in their group. Once everyone is happy, have the students start walking around the classroom again (by themselves). Then shout out “make a group of 7” etc etc. Any students who are left over are still in the game, when the groups don’t work out evenly, have some soft toys on hand to be group members.
Show One to One Correspondence by Making Punch Cards
One year I was lucky enough to inherit a whole class set of paper punches when I moved rooms. I knew the punches would be great for fine motor skills, and ALL kids love punching out lots of different shapes, but I needed to think of some creative way to use them for learning. So we made punchcards. They are super easy to make – simply slice up some paper ahead of time. You could write numbers on the pieces of paper, or have students roll a dice and write that number on the cards. (Very easy to differentiate to teen numbers for those students who are ready too). Then children simply use the punches to punch out that number of the shape on their strip. Because it is a slower process, students will need to count as they go, or stop and count and check – so LOTS of counting goes on. After they have done one punch card, they can swap punches with a friend and start again. For those students who are ready, they could write the word in numbers and word on each strip.
Roll and Cover Games to teach One to One Correspondence
My students love roll and cover games – I am yet to find a child who doesn’t like it! The luck of the dice roll means that every game will take a different path. I have some fabulous roll and cover games within my One to One Correspondence MEGA pack of resources. By using a dot dice and then numbers on the game board ensures students are practising their number recognition as well as their counting.
Interactive Whiteboard Activities to Teach Number Sense
Using an Interactive Whiteboard (Smart Board/Apple TV) as part of my lesson warm up is definitely one of my favourite ways to start my lessons. Included in my One to One Correspondence pack is 63 INTERACTIVE Google Slides that are all about counting and developing number sense. Dragging a certain number of animals onto the slide, or counting a certain object in the picture – quick easy and engaging for students. The perfect, no prep warm up for you too!
Using Stamps or Stickers to Teach Counting
A simple and fun way to combine fine motor skills and counting! Have students write a number in their maths book, then stamp out that number of pictures into their maths book under the number. Or use any left-over stickers you might have. Your children will love it, requires very minimal prep for you and is easy for you to check their understanding of One to One Correspondence.
Number Match Up Cards to teach One to One Correspondence
This activity takes a little bit of prep, but once the cards are made, you are good to use them over and over. Perfect for small groups of students, store cards in ready to use zip-lock bags so you can hand them out quickly and each set of cards, stays a complete set. Children match up the number of objects with the number. Simple, fun and easy! You can download number match up cards or make your own.
Want more activities for developing one to one correspondence, visit my blogpost 21 Easy Ideas for Teaching One to One Correspondence.
One to one correspondence is a critical early math skill that lays the foundation for future mathematics learning. I hope you enjoyed my nine simple activities that you can use to assess and develop students’ one to one correspondence skills. By incorporating these activities into your instruction, you can help your students develop a strong foundation in one to one correspondence, and set them up for success in future math learning.
Are you finding playing Maths Games a little chaotic with your class? Learn my fool proof routines for setting up procedures to ensure all students are learning through Maths Games. Read more in my How to Guide so you can start using quick and easy maths games productively in your classroom today.