Education concept

How to teach counting ( Method 1)

Emphasizing Basic Counting Principles

  1. Work together on assigning a single number to a single object. Part of counting that kids must learn is that each object only gets one number. Show the child how to assign a single number to each item, and then have them try as they are able. This helps teach one-to-one correspondence.
  • For example, try counting apples as you place them in a bowl. Set the apple into the bowl and say the number before moving on.
  1. Start at numbers other than “1” when counting items. For instance, grab a handful of cherries, say 5, and then count from that number. You could say, “I have 5 cherries. Let’s count up from there as I add more to the bowl.” This helps kids understand that they must count in sequential order regardless of which number they start at.
  • If you always start at “1,” kids may think they always have to start there.
  1. Emphasize that the last number is the total by repeating it at the end. Kids take a little while to grasp this concept. To help the child get it, say the number at the end several times to show you have that many items in total. This teaches kids cardinality, or the concept that one total number can represent a set of multiple items. By repeating the end number, you’re helping the child to understand that it’s the total.
  • For instance, when you reach 8 apples, you could say, “Look, 8 apples in total! We have 8 apples together in the bowl.
  1. Write the numbers 1-5 on cards to have the child put them in order. Write out the number and then add something to the card to represent the number, such as 1 sticker, 2 stickers, etc. Let them rearrange them from smallest to biggest. This activity teaches number recognition and sequencing.
  • Once the child gets down 1-5, try 1-10 and 1-20.

Color in numbers with younger kids to help with number recognition. Draw the numbers in bubble letters on a piece of paper. Color in the numbers with different colors along with the child. As you do, say what numbers you’re coloring, such as “I’m coloring number 4 red.”
As they get a bit older, write the letters out and have them trace or copy them.

Education concept

Basic Math Teaching Strategies

The building blocks of mathematics start early on, when learning the basic skills. The key to teaching basic math skills that students can apply and remember for future instruction is to use several teaching strategies.



A simple strategy teachers can use to improve math skills is repetition. By repeating and reviewing previous formulas, lessons, and information, students are better able to comprehend concepts at a faster rate.

According to Professor W. Stephen Wilson from Johns Hopkins University, the core concepts of basic math must be mastered before students are able to move into a more advanced study. Repetition is a simple tool that makes it easier for students to master the concepts without wasting time. According to the University of Minnesota, daily re-looping or reviews will bring the previous lesson back into the spotlight and allow teachers to build on those previous skills.

Timed testing

When teachers are moving beyond the simple concepts of numbers into addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, it is important to incorporate timed tests that review the previous class or several classes.

Taking a short test and then grading the test in class will help teachers assess student understanding. When the test shows that students are answering more questions correctly within the time period, teachers are able to determine that students have mastered the basic skills.

Pair work

Mathematics is not limited to learning from a textbook, lessons, or testing strategy. Students have different learning styles and need to have lessons that help improve all styles of learning to get the best results.

Group work is a simple strategy that allows students to work and problem-solve with a buddy. When a teacher has provided the basic instruction, it’s helpful to split the class into pairs or groups to work on problems.

Since the pairs are working as a team, the students can discuss the problems and work together to solve the issues. The goal of pair work is to teach students critical thinking skills that are necessary for future math problems and real life.

Manipulation tools

The use of blocks, fruits, balls, or other manipulation tools help students learn the basics of place value, addition, subtraction, and other areas of basic math. According to KATE Nonesuch on the National Adult Learning Database of Canada, manipulation tools help slow down the process of problem solving so that students are able to fully understand the information.

Manipulation tools make it easier for students to learn and understand basic skills. These are ideal when students learn best through hands-on experience and building, rather than traditional lessons and repetition.

Math games


Reinforcing the information learned in class is not always the easiest task for teachers, but math games provide the opportunity to make the lesson interesting and encourage students to remember the concepts.

Depending on the class size, computer availability, and the lesson being taught, games can vary. Teachers can use computer games for the particular skills or can opt to use class games to make the lesson more fun.


Education concept



Whether it’s old-school card and board games (my younger daughter chose Yahtzee for Family Game Night a few weeks ago, and learned a lot), a puzzle or something more high-tech, many kids are drawn into hands-on activities, especially when there’s an element of competition with a parent or sibling.


We know how much kids love their devices, and there are tons of apps and games that help reinforce and teach Math concepts. I did a quick Twitter call for suggestions and parents raved about games like prodigy . I’m also a big fan of IXL for practising skills.


Kids are turned off when they don’t see a purpose for what they’re learning, so it’s important to constantly show them how math is useful in real life. Involve them in activities like cooking and baking (remember our little Canadian kids need to use metric measurement), telling time, checking temperature and using money. Little ones can sort coins, older ones can help estimate the grocery bill while shopping.


Parents may try to be helpful by saying “I was never good at math”, or “You take after me”, but instead encourage kids to embrace challenges and see the fun in growing their brains. On a related note, I’m not a big fan of the word “drill” (though it’s an important aspect of learning math), as it makes me think of home repair and dental work. “Practice” seems much more positive, and kids can connect that to sports and other areas where they know they have to put in the work to see results.


A lot of the math programs I pull from at school have suggestions for games and ideas that can be sent home (most recently a “Rotating Spoons” game to play at the dinner table to work on quarter, half, and three quarter turns), but I often pass because I don’t want to overwhelm families. If you’re looking for something to use to reinforce what’s being taught at the moment, don’t hesitate to ask the teacher if he or she has any ideas. I’m also happy to loan out manipulatives that families may not have, like teaching clocks, miras, base ten blocks and geometric solids – as long as I know they’ll be returned!


If your avid reader is a reluctant mathematician, literature may provide some inspiration. Greg Tang’s books are very popular, and there are picture books and nonfiction texts to support many different math concepts. To complement our study of time this year a parent donated Me Counting Time (Joan Sweeney) and Get Up And Go! (Stuart J. Murphy) which the kids love.