## Wednesday, October 8, 2014

### 5,4,3,2,1! Fun ways to count backwards

I had a mom ask me if I had any fun ways to teach kids to count backwards...which is actually pretty tricky when you think about it.

I don't think I have ever had a "lesson" on this with J & N...it's just part of our morning routine with calendar.  I also do lots of counting backwards when I push them in swings...like a countdown for a rocket blast off!

Here's how we incorporate counting backwards on a daily basis.

 A BIG hundreds chart is a MUST!
A poster-size 100's chart is important for Little Learners to see how numbers 1-100 are organized in their specific pattern.  I prefer this over a 8x11 100's chart...bigger is better = doesn't this grab your attention rather that a paper chart laying on a desk!
Grab some High Lighter Tape or some Wikki Sticks to help and add some fun! We use this yellow Wikki Stick to help us keep track of how many days we have been learning....

(this picture that is turned sideways - sorry!)

N and I have been counting forward till our 100th day of school, which is part of his morning calendar routine.  You can see we color in a pattern.  (at day 50, we decided to change the pattern to a tricker pattern)  BUT if your little learner needs help with counting backwards, then start with 100, and count backwards to 1.  If you don't see any point in celebrating 100 days of learning, then celebrate 10 days, 25 days or 50.  Adjust to what YOUR learner needs!

This also goes along with N's and J's morning calendar routine.  Below, this number chart always matches our hundreds chart and our 100 day countdown.

If your learner is struggling with counting, dissect it for them.  Show them how the "tens" stays the same, but the "ones" changes...until you add another rod.  This can get complicated in explaining because I have my own way of teaching.  (I can always throw out a quick video on FB for you to see!  Just let me know)

Make number lines!!!!  Another great and fun way to work on counting forward and backwards.  Use a car to drive or a toy to jump and count.

When this mom came to me with this "counting backwards" question, I started asking myself how I would go about teaching this concept in a lesson...
Here's what I came up with:
Write a number line starting with 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99
LEAVE OUT 100!!

Have your learner start at 99 and jump and count backwards...
side note: I am a HUGE fan of chalk and outside learning time.  Getting all those different parts of the brain working together and OUTSIDE, really helps any type of learner, right?

Add an index card "8" to change the place value,

Have your little learner run back to 89 and start counting back down again.
Then throw down a "7" card to change the place value and so on.
I guess you could say this is an advanced hop scotch kind of game.
Does this make sense?

And one more quick and fun way to practice counting backwards...
Make a countdown for ANYTHING - Birthdays, vacations, dinner dates, special visitors...
Here's a countdown for our Colorado trip a few years ago.

Here's our October calendar - Counting down how many Days until Halloween.

I hope this helps, inspires and encourages you to learn (and count in fun ways) with your Little Learners!

Happy Learning!