## Friday, October 20, 2017

Count Task Cards Halloween Racers K - 2

Follow little Halloween racing characters as they help teach elementary kids how to count forward from a given number that is not the number 1. This task stumps children in kindergarten, grade 1 and 2. Tie your math lesson to Halloween and brighten your students’ day, as well as their interest in your lesson.

Kids get to see funny little Frankenstein’s monsters and happy little Dracula vampires, as well as adorable witches and baseball cap-wearing mummies drive cute race cars toward the finish line. The purple and orange colors heighten kids’ engagement when trying to pick the correct card. Students see a set of cards with multiple numbers. They’re given a card with a problem, such as a 5 and a 7. Students must then figure out how to choose the number that is the right number between the two. What number comes after 5? Don’t worry; it’s not as scary as it sounds, you can assure your students. These cards take the ‘fright’ out of the fest and put the ‘happy’ back into Halloween.

This kind of complex counting is foundational to having kids learn advanced addition strategies in later elementary grades. The more students learn to count from 1 to 50 without having to start at one, the better off their conceptualization of math will be. In his Developmental Psychology article, Cognitive Predictors of Achievement Growth in Mathematics: a 5-year Longitudinal Study, David Geary, from the University of Missouri, Columbia, deduces that counting skills appear most important to arithmetic skill acquisition through 5th grade and therefore may be a better predictor of future math success than other skills, such as speed and memory. These cards help a student to work towards greater proficiency with regard to hierarchical inclusion as well as number sequencing. Students eventually learn, with the help of these cards, that each number represents one more than the previous number in the counting sequence and includes all previous numbers within it. Six includes 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. It also reinforces number sequencing where the student does not have the crutch of the starting from number 1. These skills are part of the Common Core and mandated for each teacher to teach and for each student to learn.

This counting forward activity comes with the 2 sets of clip cards, a set of “Count to 50” charts, 2 response sheets, 2 answer keys, a game board, zap cards, 3 spinners, storage labels, complete directions, and the handout, 20 Ways to Engage Students by Using Task Cards. The materials are delivered to you in both black and white, as well as color. These cards can be used with student-to-student work, student-to-teacher work, as well as in a self-correcting mode.

Students can practice counting using the clip cards (or task cards) that are included with the set. Each set comes with 2 group of cards: numbers 1-27 and numbers 24-50. But this activity is about more than math. Use of the cards can enhance fine motor control if played this way: each child has to mark the correct card with a clothespin or other marker. Simple and fun solutions to irksome problems! A teacher’s use of differentiation is the hallmark of a seasoned educator. This set also addresses the need for differentiation in the classroom. Easier cards are marked with a perky pumpkin and the more difficult cards are identified with a lacy leaf. All of the monsters wear a happy smile and appear friendly and ready to assist your students in their quest to learn math fun.  Each student can see and use the ‘same’ cards with the ‘same’ pictures on them. So there is no stigma attached to one set of students playing one game from another set of students playing a different game. This resource is a handy and Halloween-y tool to keep kids on track to reach the ‘counting to 100’ benchmark. Use it to your advantage and you’ll never be frightened by Common Core Standards again!

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