Thursday, January 24, 2013

Counting Collections and Giveaway!

Although counting is one of the best ways to help children develop number sense and other important mathematical ideas, we do not do enough of it in elementary schools.

Why should I do counting collections?
Children need many and varied experiences with counting to learn which numbers come next, how this number sequence is related to the objects in front of them, how to keep track of which ones have been counted and which still need to be counted (Fuson 1988).

How do I begin?
It is as easy as placing a large pile of items on the tables and without any further instruction ask the students to begin counting their items!

Once you decide to make counting collections a regular routine in your classroom you will need to start collecting baggies of "stuff." Beans, pom-poms, buttons, cotton balls, rocks.... the sky is the limit!  A walk through a craft store will spark lots of ideas. Parents can donate collections are well. Make sure you have collections of different sizes to meet the students' different needs. You will need a method for the students to record their thinking. Math journals work great!

What does the teacher do as the students are working?
As students work in partners, the teacher is observing, taking anecdotal notes, asking reflective questions, and selecting students to share with the whole group.

Why do the students record their counts?
Most students will begin counting one by one with no strategy for grouping the items. Once the some time has passed, interrupt their counting and ask them a question and then tell them to continue counting. Many students will forget where they were and have to start all over! This is a perfect time to discuss strategies for grouping items and how they will record their counting in their journals.

What does Counting Collections look like in Kindergarten?

Counting Collections: Kindergarten - a common core classroom friendly exercise from Luna Productions on Vimeo.

What does Counting Collections look like in the older grades?

Counting Collections: Third Grade - a common core classroom friendly exercise from Luna Productions on Vimeo.

Are Counting Collections part of your math instruction?
Try backwards Counting Collections; You give the number and they make the collection!

Counting is fundamental to so many things we do in mathematics.  
Build their COUNTING POWER!!

To learn more read this article:
Counting Collections by Julie Kern Schwerdtfeger and Angela Chan in Teaching Children Mathematics / March 2007

For Leander ISD employees: To be eligible to win this amazing Counting Collections Starter Kit, add a comment below on how you would use this in your classroom. We will put all entries into the randomizer on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 @ 4 p.m.

We have a winner!  Heather Moseley from Bagdad Elementary - Congratulations. We hope you enjoy this amazing Counting Collections Starter Kit.  The contest is now over, but we hope everyone keeps on "counting!" 


  1. I will use it EVERYDAY!! Definitely would use for story problem creations, measurement (area, capacity, etc.), vocabulary development, positional words, counting AND EVERYTHING!!! PIck me!!!!!! Ha!

  2. I would LOVE this kit!! I'd use it for skip counting,for learning numbers beyond 100, "counting collection days" that the kids would look forward to!, problem sovling, graphing, measurement...the possiblities are endless. Please pick me!!!! Heather Moseley-Bagdad Kindergarten

  3. Oh oh pick me!! I would use this to enhance the number sense learning in my classroom. This would be perfect to really hit home counting by fives, tens, etc. The best part is that it is all stored neatly in a little package that easily accessible any time. I really enjoyed the video and would love to have weekly counting collections going on in my own classroom. I think this kit would really help make that happen :)

  4. I give my kindergarteners a choice as to what they count. If they want to count a yellow bag (kindergarten)the number of items is between 1 - 20. If they pick a red bag (medium) the number of items is from 20 - 40. The blue bag (challenge) is from 40 to 70 items. I offer 2 bags of different items for each color. My kindergarteners get to pick what they want to count. This kit would be great for my counting collection!

    Kathy Kwiecienski

  5. This is a teachers goldmine. Thank you for offering a kit that many of us use our own money on a regular basis. Where do I start with how I would use this kit?
    1. The straws could be used to make bundles of 10 and 1's so the kids could create teen numbers and physically see that 14 equals 1 ten and 4 ones.
    2. The tickets are something I never thought of using. They would be great for skip counting by 10's, 5's and 2's.
    3. Rectangles would be used for measurement and area. Students could use the items in the kit and estimate how many shells or buttons could fit on a rectangle and then test out their prediction.
    4. Playing cards could be used for games or for composing and decomposing numbers. For example, show the kids a six and with materials like gems and shells asking the kids to show different ways to show 6 and then share out. (two shells and 4 gems)
    This is quick list, but I truly could go on and on!
    Helen Pangonas Pleasant Hill Elementary Kindergarten

  6. This is an awesome kit! I love all the different choices. I would use this kit everyday when we do math. Word problems, skip counting, graphing. I definitely plan on starting a counting collection in my class.
    Jodi Chandler, 1st grade, Deer Creek Elementary

  7. I loved seeing this kit at the LISD Kindergarten Math Academy! There are so many goodies! My students would use this kit every day during math workstations and whole group lessons. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the wonderful ideas!
    Kelly Smith, Kindergarten, Pleasant Hill Elementary