Teaching children how to count is one of the most needed skills. The earlier a child begins to learn how to count, the more practice they will have, hence they will get an opportunity to remember and retain the skill. It is a well known fact that children of early age have problems learning counting, as they get the full ability to do that closer to age ten. As such, teaching a group of ten first grade students to count to 15 will be met with some challenges. The three rules of counting, such as one to one correspondence, stable order rule and order irrelevance rule will be useful in teaching the technique to students. Some difficulties might arise when teaching students with disabilities or ELL, so special techniques would be required.
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When teaching children how to count, it is important to remember that children are visual learners, and the best way to learn is through physical manipulation and games or play. When teaching one to one correspondence, it is key to make sure that each number is matched with a particular object. For example, a child can be given candies or pebbles and told to arrange them in a line. Then, they would attribute a particular number to each object, so that there is a difference and uniqueness of each one. In the stable order rule, all the numbers must be said in order. For example, counting 1, 3, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 12, 14, and 15 would have consistency but the order is incorrect. As such, the child can use the previous rule and rearrange the objects, so that they develop a sense of the correct order. Order irrelevance rule means that the order of objects does not matter, as there is still the same amount of objects. A child can draw shapes and attribute a number to each one. After that, the objects can be rearranged, so that the child understands that there is still the same number of objects.
In order to properly assess the student, they must be given time to practice and then tested. This can be done with students touching each object they have counted. If there are 15 pebbles, each will be moved, and then the child will be required to count without touching the pebbles. Then, the order of counting will be changed to a different direction, from object 15 to 1. This would allow testing the chain of stability in the object and number accordance. For students with disabilities, it is particularly important to give them more time and visual representations.
The associations made between objects and numbers will help to remember the counting. The use of technology, such as interactive computer programs or iPads where children can use spatial representation might help the learning process. Constant repetition in a fun and involving way will enable students to remember the technique better. For ELL students, an alignment with own language counting can be made. For example, objects will have a number in their own language written while a sheet with randomly located English numbers will be placed underneath. A child would have to match each object and native number word with the English one. Auditory translator would also be advantageous in repeating counting in school or at home.