Building a strong sense of number concepts in students is a crucial in order for students to be able to develop life skills. Many of my students come with scattered math skills instead of a solid foundation. Here are some of the tasks and materials we use to help students develop needed math and life skills.
The first thing we do is work on number identification. We do this in discrete trials, direct instruction and integrated throughout our day. My students don't always generalize their skills easily, so we work on recognizing the numbers in different fonts and materials. For example, a magnetic 3, a 3 on a flashcard and a handwritten 3 on the board all look slightly different. Students need to be able to easily recognize all of them. We use the number concepts materials to learn the different forms of numerals.
We also work on recognizing numbers in different forms. For example, you need to be able to quickly identify the 3 in the form of numerals, a tens frame, on dice, in groupings, fingers, etc. Again, that generalization doesn't come easy to my kiddos. We have students match them up. A favorite activity in my classroom is what I call motor math. I have students on one side of the room and numbers on the other. Students are given a form of a number (ex. a tens frame) and a gross motor direction (bear walking, bunny hops, etc.) Students have to do that gross motor direction all the way across the room. Once they get across the room, the student has to put their card on the matching number. They love working on skills when I let them move!!
We practice our numbers with different sensory materials.
We work on sequencing and generalizing number concepts with sequencing tasks and our number of the day poster. Sequencing helps students get ready to compare numbers and learn skills such as greater than, less than, more, less, etc.
To help generalize and give students more opportunities to practice number concepts, we also add number tasks into task bins.
When you put all of these activities together, you get students who develop strong number concepts. This helps students understand and acquire life skills easier. For example, if you understand numbers and how they relate to each other, then you are going to have an easier time grasping measuring ingredients when cooking. It is a win win for our students.