Oh those tricky teen numbers. For some reason (I think it’s developmental) kindergartners have the hardest time learning numbers eleven through nineteen. I’m not sure who decided we’d say ‘twelve’ instead of ‘two-teen’ or ‘thirteen’ instead of ‘three-teen’ or ‘fifteen’ instead of ‘five-teen’, but surely they’ve never tried teaching five-year-olds. These numbers don’t make much sense.

In a constant effort to drill these numbers, we sing songs and play games at every opportunity. One of the simple games we play is Teen Tangle. We lay large teen number cards out on the floor out of order and a child has to step on them in order while saying each number. The other day after we play a few rounds, we decided to challenge a few of the sprouts that have already mastered these numbers.

“Can anyone start with nineteen and go backwards?” Mrs. D. asked.

A few friends volunteered. This was going to be complicated.

Dan was up first. He walked over to the nineteen card and began. As he said each number, he would look over his shoulder straining to see the other cards and then take a giant step back to reach it. When he finally made it to eleven, we gave him a big cheer and then Michael came up to try it. He did the same thing. I shot Mrs. D. a look and we both realized at the same time, they thought we meant in addition to counting backwards, they had to walk backwards.

We both smiled with the realization of our mistake. These kids are so literal, when you say ‘count backwards’ they really do it backwards.


Tina said...

I love reading your kid stories! This one is great. :)

Beth said...

Actually, I like the idea of walking backwards as they recite backwards. I'll bet it helps with developing the internal number-line and is a great whole body learning experience!

Teacher Tom said...

I think the kids made the game better! They always do.

Plants seeds of knowledge...for our future! said...

Oh my how I can relate!! It really is a hard concept for them to get! It is hard for my little ones to get those numbers too! Then it always amazes when they just get it!
I also think walking backwards is a great way to reinforce the concept. I love happy mistakes like that they always help me to look at things from another perspective! My kiddos love it when they TEACH me something!

123A2Z said...

I've always had the children sing the ABC song backwards (usually starting around October) to get them to focus on the individual letters and cut down on the 'elemeno' (lmno) letter. One year when I announced we were going to sing the alphabet backwards, about 4 of my kiddos turned their backs to me and started to sing. It cracked me up!

Sarah said...

So cute! And I agree - I think it will help reinforce the concept! Smart kiddos!