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Learning to Count On with fiction

Published 5 months ago by Ann Baker


David Carter's Lift the Flaps and Learn to Count! is one of the books featured in Preventing the Numeracy Gap Year 1 our new online course for 2019.

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This is not a typical counting book in any sense of the word. Just the fact that it counts to 100, sets it apart from most counting books, but then dig deeper, there is so much to discover.

In fact this is more of a counting on book than a counting book.

Page 1 we lift the flaps and count to 5 and then on page 2 we pick up the count at 6 and count on to 10. I don't know of any other book that makes counting on so explicit ...

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This pattern allows us to use the book as an introduction to purposeful skip counting in 5s or 10s. We can even start at the end and count back in 5s and 10s. Another interesting feature is the place value pattern that occurs when adding 10 more each time. Page 1 we see 1, page 3 we see 11 and page 5, 21. There are 2 patterns to follow, l, 11 ,21/31,41--.. and 6, 16, 26,3 6, 46...

Some students might like to use their 100 a 120 square to explore other count on 10 patterns and investigate what happens and why.

How to use the book

This is a 'multiple entry point' book if ever there was one.

Sorting For the youngest learners it is a sorting book. Each set of 10 flaps on a page is related to a sorting theme, under the sea, transport, wild animals, vegetables, dinosaurs, in fact there is just about something to catch the attention of most students. Set the book out as an invitation, a provocation to sort a collection of fairly random counting objects. This should lead to categorising, recategorising, comparing and quantifying.

Counting and Number Recognition At an introductory level simply lifting the flaps and keeping count can be enjoyed. The numerals tell how many counted so far not how many visible. This can lead to interesting conversations about the many ways numbers are used. Students can be asked to say what number will come next to develop an introduction to counting on. I love to give students coloured post its or coloured paper, scissors and glue sticks so that they can choose their own category and create their own lift the flap and count sequences. Students can swap their lift the flap and count sequences with a friend or take them home to share. The important thing here is that students are engaged with authentic, purposeful and 'fun' experiences.

Into Teen Numbers At the end of pages 1 and 2 the count to 10 is complete, invite students to predict what counting numbers they might find on the next 2 pages. You might like to record the count to date on a numberline as a visual to help students show the ordered count and continue the pattern of the 1s, 5s and the next 10 (20).

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Use the 10 flaps already counted as a springboard for:

We need to spend adequate time with teen numbers and their anomalies as well as to ensure students hear the difference between for instance 13 and 30.

For additonal support with teen numbers see our 'Hidden Creatures' and 'Place Value to 100'.

Counting on and Counting Patterns

Use this book in conjunction with a 100 square to investigate counting on and skip counting patterns and pose questions such as: "If we started on 3 and counted on in IOs 5s or 2s what patterns might we notice? As usual, have fun with numbers!

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