Thinking About Five-ness

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

In preparing for my planning meeting with the Kindergarten team today, I was looking through Kassia Omohundro Wedekind’s book, Math Exchanges: Guiding Young Mathematicians in Small Group Meetings.  It’s a fairly new addition to my library, and I haven’t had time to spend much time in it, but Chapter 6, Kindergarten Mathematicians, caught my eye today and I skimmed through it.  I like the way she refers to Kindergarten students as mathematicians.  I think a common misconception about Kindergarten is that it’s not really serious math, but in actuality the foundations of all mathematical understanding begin in Kindergarten.  That’s a pretty awesome responsibility!!

It’s hard to pick up a book  or attend a professional development workshop on the topic of teaching primary mathematics without hearing about the importance of  understanding 5 and 10.  It’s just that critical.  In her Kindergarten chapter, Wedekind devotes four pages to “five-ness” and another seven to “ten-ness”.  Her activities have similarities to those in John Van de Walle’s book on early elementary mathematics.  Like Van de Walle, she stresses the importance of subitizing and composing and decomposing numbers.  So tonight I have for you a little Making 5 freebie.  It’s based on a Van de Walle activity.  Click on the picture to download the file.  To use, copy on cardstock, laminate, and cut along the solid lines.  You should have strips with 5 triangles, 4 rectangles, 1 pentagon, 3 hexagons, 2 trapezoids, and the two Math Talk cards.  Students manipulate the cards to create combinations of 5.  The Math Talk cards provide a framework to help guide their work.

If you like this activity, please check out these similar products in my TPT store: Composing and Decomposing Numbers with Dot Cards, Make 5 Memory and War, and Make 10 Four-in-a-Row.


  1. Amy B

    LOVE this!!! Will certainly use it if I move down!!!!!
    Amy Burton

    • Donna Boucher

      Thanks Amy! When will you know which grade you’re teaching? I know you’re anxious to get settled.


  2. Amy B

    Hi Donna! Hopefully soon! We have to wait for all of the final numbers on units! I am excited for a change!!!

  3. Tami

    This looks great! I teach a self contained sp. ed. classroom with 1-3 grades so this will definitely get used.

    • Donna Boucher

      Glad to hear it, Tami! This will be perfect for your kiddos. 🙂

  4. Tammy

    I’ll add this book to my list. If it’s anything like Van de Walle, it must be great! Thanks.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First


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