Building Number Sense in Kindergarten

8/02/2016 / Leave a Comment
Number sense and mastering the 100's chart are such important skills. When I taught 5th grade, I was amazed by how many of my students were unable to jump ahead 10 or 20 without using a 100's chart. I knew I wanted to make understanding the patterns of the 100's chart a focus as a Kindergarten teacher.


I blogged about 100's Activities Tuesday back in my Kindergarten Math Centers series, but I wanted to give you a closer look at what activities have worked so well in my classroom.

I start right away in the first weeks of school by making counting to 100 a huge part of our routine. There are two counting to 100 videos that they love and we watch these every day, during snack and the opening of math.

Both of these songs are very catchy (trust me, you will walk around singing them all day) but very effective. I love using music for academics whenever possible.

We start the first month of our 100's Chart Book the first weeks of school!
The September page is always a bit stressful for everyone, but I talk about how this is a yearlong activity. By the last month they will be able to see how much they have learned!
For the students who master this by January or February, we continue using the template, they just work on the next set of numbers (101-200.)
By November, they start getting really competitive and try to see who can get the farthest the quickest!
I usually give them about 5-10 minutes in the first trimester, and then about 15-20 minutes in the second. There are a few students who will struggle with this.

I keep all of their previous charts filed together. This allows me to pull them out at these moments and show each student at all the progress they have really made so far!
At the end of the year, I put them in order from September - June and add a cover. They love to sit and talk about what they notice.

I do have a few kids who will try to "cheat" and go back and add numbers in. I remind them that this book shows growth and they should be proud with how far they have come. I have also been known to hide the pens and pencils at this time. ;)
In between our monthly 100's chart pages we use the dry erase boards I got on Oriental Trading.
I love these boards because they are blank on one side, and have the chart completed on the other. This provides an easily scaffolding for kids who need a little nudge.
I put these out every Tuesday. However my students enjoyed them so much, that it actually became an option for morning and indoor recess activity!
These boards are awesome because they can be completed independently or as a team!
I also have scaffolded 100's charts for 1-20, 1-50, 1-75 and 1-100.
Each set comes with five different scaffolded templates. I put these dry erase pocket for our Tuesday math centers.
Each morning we add a sticker to our "How Many Days Have We Been in School?" chart. First we  count by 1's, and then when we get to 100th day, we start counting by 10's.
During transitions and math centers, they will grab a pointer and practice counting on their own or with a team! <3
I already stopped by Michaels to get the stickers for next year's chart!
For our math opening on Tuesdays, we sit in a circle and count to 100. Each student says one number and if they do not listen closely they will miss their turn or make a mistake. Whenever that happens, we start over!

Eventually it gets too easy, so we start skip counting by 2's, 5's and 10's.

After our counting warm-up, we practice building parts of a 100's chart. We start with 1-25 for the first month or two. Everyone gets 1 or 2 cards and has to watch for their turn to "build" it into the correct place in the hundreds chart.

I make a point not to mention anything about the different colored cards. I like to let them discover all the hidden patterns on their own!

We move onto 1-50 by the late fall. In the winter we work on 1-75 and eventually they are ready for 1-100!
Whenever I need to get them up and moving during math is when these cards will appear. I write numbers on 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper.

Then, I spread these numbers all over the floor of the classroom, in a mixed up order of course!

I use choose one student at a time to find a number. In the beginning we start small, with just 0-10. But as they advance, we make it harder.


When we are done, we put the numbers in order on the rug. Sometimes it is a set of numbers by 1's, or even 5's and 10's!

Last up is one of my favorites. For 100th day this year, I purchased these star floor clings from Oriental Trading.

As they entered, they had to hop and count their way to 100! We keep these up for about 2 months,  to reinforce counting by 10's, and by the time they were worn out, everyone had mastered this skill!
If you are interested in any of these resources, click the links below!

What are some activities you use to build number sense? Let me know in the comments!

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