At our final session of Lunchtime Literacy at Fishtown Library, we taught a lesson on counting by tens. Learning to count to ten, not just by rote counting, but also by finding the number of objects in a set, is a kindergarten-level skill known as cardinality. Often, preschoolers can easily recite the numbers from one to ten, but are unable to count actual objects.
Counting Images Out Loud as a Group. We began our numbers lesson by reading 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo: A Counting Book by Eric Carle. As is customary with all Eric Carle books, the illustrations are bright and colorful and instantly appealed to the preschoolers. As we counted each number from one to ten, we pointed out the individual animals illustrated for the number and and invited the children to count along. One three-year old boy was especially perceptive and able to assign a count to each image correctly.
Counting Manipulatives: Using Froot Loops as Beads. Next, we reinforced the counting lesson by using real objects — Froot Loops. Our preschoolers were delighted to them as beads for a necklace-stringing project. We used dental floss as string, making the entire project a mouth-friendly one. The children practiced counting out rows of ten Froot Loops before stringing them on the dental floss. Though our preschoolers are too young to count beyond ten, these rows of tens introduced them to the concept of our base ten counting system.