Sunday, October 13, 2013

Skip Counting Mentor Text & Freebie!

Wow! October has been super busy in my class, so it's been a while since my last post.  Lately, we've been exploring skip counting in math. I'm happy to link up once again with Collaboration Cuties to share the mentor text I used to introduce the concept, Leading Lizards by Stuart J. Murphy.

If you're not familiar with Stuart J. Murphy, he's written many math-related books, aptly named MathStart. They are great for introducing or revisiting mathematical concepts with your students through story. When I use one of Murphy's books, we read it several times, first just to enjoy and understand the story, and then 2-3 more times to discuss the math related concept that it illustrates. I think using math literature is a great way to reach students who are more verbal and connect to the art of story!

This rhyming book is playful and straight to the point; 50 lizards are needed in order for the "Leaping Lizard" show to go on, so the reader follows how groups of 5 lizards come together until there are 50. Although it doesn't show in the Amazon preview of the book's illustrations, the groups of five lizards are basically organized as ten frames which I think provides a really helpful connection for students. About halfway through the story, the narrator switches counting from 5's to 10's which provides teachers with the opportunity to pursue that next.

In math workshop, I worked with groups to practice counting sets of 5. In a simple activity I creatively named "Grab, Group and Count by 5's", I asked students to grab a handful of counters, count and organize them out into groups of 5, and then count them by 5's.

Clip art: Julie Phillipps
As you can see in the picture, sometimes students had a remainder. This presented an opportunity to reinforce counting on. This activity was a great formative assessment because I could easily see who was correctly counting the groups. For example, some of my students would count correctly until they got to the remainder; a few kept counting by 5's instead of switching back to 1's! This is something that I will share with parents; just because your child can count by 5's by rote doesn't necessarily mean that he/she understands the concept of quantity it's meant to represent!

I will have my students continue hands-on practice counting by 5's as part of independent learning during the workshop. I made a recording sheet to go along with the activity so that they could keep track of their grabs, and then compare the total amounts. On average, my students completed 3-4 grabs during the 15 minute group lesson; I'll make the recording sheet double-sided to ensure they have room for repeated practice. Click on the picture below if you'd like a copy!

How do you introduce skip counting to your students?

Be sure to check out the other helpful Mentor Texts for Math over at Collaboration Cuties!
Thanks for stopping by!
Signature photo ScreenShot2013-04-26at54143PM.png


  1. I like it. How great to develop an understanding behind a concept at such a young age. Thanks for sharing.
    Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage

  2. This looks really cute!! I have never seen this one!! I love that they are making arrays!!

    Thanks so much for linking up Karli!!
    Collaboration Cuties


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