My Half and Whole Book

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.

I visited with my favorite Kindergarten class to see them using the halves and whole freebie I posted last night.

Of course Mrs. Bryan started out with her daily subitizing routine.  I’m serious–those kids can’t get enough of it!  When she announced it was the last one, she was met with a chorus of, “Awwwwwww!”.

Next Mrs. Bryan moved on to a concrete activity with halves and wholes.  She had geometric figures cut in two and and she distributed the halves to the kids.  They had to quietly (and they did!) find their missing half.  Then they went around the room describing what their figures to reinforce the vocabulary.  “I have one half.  You have one half.  Together we have a whole.”

Finally, it was time for the math book.  The kids were SO excited (Mrs. Bryan has that effect on me, too!).  She enthusiastically told the class they were each going to create their own book!!  She modeled how to create a cover, and then discussed some real-life items that could be represented by circles, squares, and rectangles. One note–as the students worked, some were having trouble dividing the shapes in half.  That was our clue that those particular kiddos needed more concrete practice.  I was working with one such kiddo who was having trouble drawing a line to divide the square in half.  I gave him a square cut out of construction paper and asked him to fold it in half.  He had no trouble with that.  Then I asked him to draw a line on his square that matched the fold line he made.  Voila!  You see, he was having trouble with the representation (drawing the line), so I immediately took it back to the concrete (folding the paper).

Enjoy the pictures below showing the kids at work!!

Daily subitizing routine.  Some kiddos saw two groups of 3.  Some saw 3 groups of 2.
Tricky one, huh?  Not for these kinder friends!
Almost too easy for them at this point.  Hooray!
Mrs. Bryan models that two halves make a whole.
I have one half, and you have one half.  Together we have a whole.
Mrs. Bryan models how to complete the halves and wholes book.
This girl has some serious experiences with donuts!!
Showing half a pizza.

For more about subitzing check out this blog post.


  1. Ellen Adams

    Hi there Donna,

    I love your blog and I would love to collaborate with you and your kindergarten team! They are doing amazing work! I also work in the district at JEE and have been using the subitizing cards. I am currently working on incorporating them into my smartboard calendar routine. I would love it if you would check out my new blog about Kinder technology at

    Ellen Adams
    JEE Kindergarten

    • Donna Boucher

      Hi, Ellen! Nice to hear from someone in the district. Subitizing on the smartboard sounds awesome! Your blog looks great! Don’t forget to link it up on my Blog Hop page.

  2. Susan Rodriguez

    I have a question. I use these subitizing cards with my kindergarten class. What are some of the comments I should expect to hear? A total of number of dots? How’d you get that answer? A math sentence? (3+3=6)?

    Thank you for your assistance! I want to make sure I’m using them to their full advantage!

    • Donna Boucher

      I first ask “what number do you see?” or “how many dots do you see?” and then I follow up with “how did you see it?”. Their answers will vary. They might say “I saw 3 dots and 2 more dots and that’s 5 dots”, or they might say “3 and 2 make 5” or even “3 + 2 = 5”. That’s one of the nice things about the exercise–it allows for students to respond in a way that feels comfortable to them.


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