Daily Number Sense Routines

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.

Are you looking for a good daily routine to develop your students’ number sense? There’s a good chance you already have two great tools in your classroom that can do just that–a hundred chart and a number line. Many teachers use the day of the school year as the number of the day. For example, on the tenth day of school, the number of the day is 10. A common part of calendar time is to add a straw for every day in school and bundle ten straws to develop place value.

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Ten-frames are another great way to visually keep track of the number of days in school, a number that is frequently used as the number of the day.

Now let’s turn our attention to the tools I mentioned to start the post. The hundred chart and number line should be in the same area you use for your daily math routine so students can easily interact with them. For that reason, I also prefer a pocket chart type hundred chart over a poster. I suggest using both the hundred chart and the number line, because that allows children to see different representations of the numbers. What follows is a “menu” of activities you can do using the two tools. The idea is not to do all of them every day–or to introduce activities before your students are ready for them–but to have a list of ideas you can draw from. Vary the activities from day to day depending on your class needs and to prevent students from getting bored with the same…old…routine. In the list of activities below, any time you see [number], insert the number of the day.

Hundred Chart

  • What’s one more, one less, ten more, and ten less than [number]?
  • Is [number] odd or even? Count the next three odd/even numbers
  • Skip count by tens starting at [number]
  • Tell me a number that is greater than [number]
  • Tell me a number that is less than [number]
  • How many tens and how many ones in [number]?
  • Count forwards from [number]
  • Count backwards from [number]
  • How many days until the 100th day?
  • Add [second number] to [number] (use patterns on the hundred chart—add tens and then count on by ones)
  • Subtract [second number] from [number]

Number Line

Note: somehow highlight the number of the day each day on the number line.  You might have a square cut out in the middle that you place over the number, or a cut out star that goes over the number, etc.

  • Number before and number after [number]
  • Give me a number between [number] and [second number]
  • Is [third number] between [number] and [second number]? (repeat several times with number that are and are not between the two numbers)
  • Two ways (equations) to make [number]
If you don’t have a hundred chart or number line, check out these resources:


5 Comments

  1. jbales

    Thanks Donna. I printed your ideas and will post them by my hundreds chart to remind myself to add a question or two at calendar time.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      That’s a great idea! I’m sure you’ll think of more ideas to add to the list, too.

      Reply
  2. Rhiannon Jolliff

    I LOVE this post! I just did a similar post this week, so I went back to see what I had missed on your blog before I was a follower. I use the Number Sense Routines and also have some of the other books you have mentioned in other posts. I really enjoy your bulleted list and will be adding these to my math notebook. Yup, I’m old fashioned and have been writing my ideas in a notebook. 🙂

    “When you get around the circle, you can start back around counting backwards by tens!” What a great idea! Sometimes we keep going higher as we start around the class again, but I like the idea of showing the reciprocal relationships of addition and subtraction.

    “I like it better than choral counting, because each child knows they are going to participate.” Me too! My kids love this as well, and it keeps even the most inattentive friends on their toes!

    Rhiannon
    Sliding Into First

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Thanks for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment! I visited your blog, and I’m a new follower. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Celinda

    Try using an arrow-shaped sticky note to highlight the number of the day on a number line. It’s easy to put in place and easy to move. When it no longer sticks well enough to stay in place, there’s usually a good discussion of how we know what the number of the day was… Recording one or more things each day is recommended. 😉

    Reply

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