Handy Ten Frame Placemat with 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.

One of the joys of my job is traveling to work with teachers and districts. One such trip took me to sunny Avon Park, FL, working with teachers from Avon Elementary. It was an extra-special treat because I finally got to meet and spend time with my previously-cyber-friend turned flesh-and-blood-friend, Sara! She was such a gracious hostess and made me feel right at home.

Sara and her friend Kelly took me out to dinner one night, and we talked about…what else…MATH. They shared a neat routine that they used last year, and I wanted to share it. So I proudly present to you Sara and Kelly’s Ten Frame Placemat (now hot pink to match Sara’s classroom decor!).

They made ten-frame mats for each student on 11 x 17 paper and laminated them.  I added the number line because I had extra room at the top and, well, can one really have too many number lines? 🙂

Here are notes from Kelly on ways they used them:

  • Have students start at the top left and “read” the placemat from left to right: “1, 2, 3…” Go to the second row and continue counting. Ask students to analyze the frames as they move along and have them describe what is happening as they move from frame to frame (more dots, less white space, add a dot every time, etc.).  You could ask students what the frame before the 1-frame would look like, and what would we call it- why would we call it “zero.”  (A zero-frame just wouldn’t fit on this page!)  You could do the same with the frame to the right of the 9-frame.
  • Call out different numbers randomly and have students touch that frame.  They could quiz each other by taking turns calling out a number and having their partner find the number.
  • The frames should be large enough to use counters to fill in white spaces to model addition sentences.  For example, the teacher says, “Find the 3-frame. Add one. How many are there now?  How did you know?  Do you see any frame that is the same as this one?”  The teacher could model this using a document camera before having the class do it.
  • Subtraction sentences could be modeled.  The teacher would say, “Find the 7-frame.  Subtract 2. (Students cover 2 dots with a hand or fingers.) What is the difference?”  Subtraction expressions could be written on the board as well.
  • Find “10 Partners:” the teacher would say, “Touch the 2-frame.  What it the 10-partner? (8) What do you notice about the dot places on the 2-frame and the white spaces on the 8-frame?”  Repeat with other frames.
  • Mental math: the teacher would call out an addition or subtraction sentence (or write it on the board) and students would find the frame for the sum or difference.

And here are some pictures of their placements in use.

Didn’t I tell you this is a great little tool? If you think of other ideas to add to the routines listed, please comment and share. Click here to grab your copy of the placement. It’s sized to print on 11 x 17 (which works great for using it with counters), but you can “fit” it to print on other sizes as well.

40 Comments

  1. Amy B

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Donna!!!!!
    Amy

    Reply
    • Amy B

      It’s great!! Same to you! I am SO excited-at a new school this year and I am in the same building with my kids!!! Still hoping you will come to Ohio one of these days! 🙂

      Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Hey, Amy!! It’s a good one, huh? Hope you’re all fired up for the new school year. 🙂

      Reply
    • Sandi MacDougall

      How about, Maine?!?

      Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Maine, Ohio…I’ll go wherever someone asks me to do a workshop! Just ask Sara! Ha ha.

      Reply
  2. Positively Learning

    Brilliant! And I would love to have gone out to dinner and talked all about math, too!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      It was a great two days! It’s so exhilarating talking to teachers who are so passionate about teaching and their kiddos! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Nilesh Trivedi

    I really like this concept. But I think 2 rows of 5 dots each is not a good idea. It will cause kids to consider 5 a special number and may lead to some undesirable mental models. In fact, 9 dots in a row would be better in my opinion because then you can teach the concept of decimals easily.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      There’s lots of research that supports using the ten-frame structure for young children. Van de Walle considers 5 and 10 as critical benchmark numbers.

      “We want to help children relate a given number to other numbers, specifically 5 and 10. These relationships are especially useful in thinking about various combinations of numbers.”

      A ten-frame helps children see the number 8 for example, as “5 and 3 more” but also “2 away from 10”. This type of number sense sets the stage for learning basic facts with conceptual understanding.

      He goes on to say, “The most common and perhaps most important model for exploring this relationship is the ten-frame”.

      Reply
  4. Sara Franza

    It was wonderful meeting YOU!!! LOVE the pink dots and the number line. Hope this tool is enjoyed by others.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Glad you approve of my version! Thanks again for your hospitality. George thanks you, too. Ha ha.

      Reply
    • Sandi MacDougall

      Sara, what a great idea! Donna, thanks for sharing! I love it and am eager to make some for my K’s. Thanks again.

      Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Sharing is what teaching is all about, Sandi!!

      Reply
  5. Lucy Ravitch

    I really like your number line addition to the top! How fun to meet a cyber friend in person : )
    ~Lucy
    Kids Math Teacher

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      It was great fun, Lucy! Glad you like the number line. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Tammy

    What a great tool. Thank you so much for sharing!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      I love sharing great ideas! Especially ones that are so easy to implement. 🙂

      Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      You’re very welcome, Barbara! 🙂

      Reply
  7. jbales

    Yay! I love this! Thank you so much for sharing. I can definitely see using this daily.
    Julie

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Awesome, Julie!!

      Reply
  8. Pam

    Thanks for sharing. These are great! But what about the 10 frame for the number 10? isn’t that just as important?

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Of course it’s important, Pam! The kiddos will get to use ten-frames for lots of different activities in the classroom. For this particular activity, the numbers 1-9 fit perfectly on the mat.

      Reply
    • Pam

      I gotcha….that makes sense. Thank you so much again. You have helped me to become a better Math teacher, and I look forward to reading your future posts.

      Reply
  9. room2

    Hi Donna, I’ve been getting your blog updates for ages and have done lots of reading and thinking as a result of reading your posts, so I just wanted to write and say thanks. I have a class set of these tens frames all ready to go with my Y2/3 class this week. (G1/2 in USA) I like the idea of using these as part of my repertoire of daily routines to develop number sense and imaging.
    Thanks for all your sharing.
    Tina

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Tina! Always nice to hear that something I’m doing is helping out. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Alison Hislop

    A great idea! If I ever teach the younger children again, I am going to have mathematicians in my classroom with all the great ideas on pinterest and blogs!

    Alison
    Teaching Maths with Meaning

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Hey, Alison! Nice to hear from you. I totally agree that the resources available on the Internet are mind-blowing! What an exciting time to be a teacher. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Anonymous

    I got extremely frustrated trying to print this off and finally gave up…waste of paper and ink!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      I am really sorry that the printing didn’t work for you!! I wish you had contacted me before it frustrated you so badly. Sometimes Google Docs can be a little squirrelly, but I can usually help.

      Reply
  12. Carol Cobb

    Love it! I may try to change the dot color to match my classroom – but I am certainly going to use this!!
    -Carol
    Mrs. Cobb’s Kindersprouts

    Reply
  13. Mrs. Miner

    I’m thinking that you could print them on regular sized photocopier paper and just use smarties or some other small manipulative to “play” with it! Awesome…thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      That’s a great idea, Krissy! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Thank you for your product. I LOVE the research behind the tens frames and introduced them for the first time during an observation on the 16th day of school. However, I got burned. The administration wanted to know how many children I had in the class who could count past ten. (Seriously, they thought I was merely teaching them to count to 10). I used a great differentiated lesson from a well-known blogger, too. It included a self-correcting component, a numeral writing component, and a counting sequence component. They want more rigor in the Kindergarten classroom and they saw no evidence of student learning. I am an experienced teacher with an excellent reputation. My children can read and write when they leave me but the whole “increase the rigor” attitude is killing me. Increasing the rigor to the extent that my administration wants it is simply not developmentally appropriate. Thanks for letting me vent–my first post of the day!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      That is a major bummer! Did they see you using the ten-frames to make combinations for 10? That is a totally different skill (and standard) than rote counting. Showing a ten-frame with 4 dots and asking “How many more to make 10?” supports CCSS K.OA.4. It is an Operations and Algebraic Thinking standard, not Counting and Cardinality.

      Reply
  15. Danny

    We use these too except we teach kids to put the numbers in from top to bottom as this also gives students a visual of odd and even numbers. E.g. all odd numbers on top 1,3,7,9 with the even ones on the bottom row. This method is backed up by research (see George Booker).

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      That’s a great connection!

      Reply
  16. Jenny Wilcox

    Hi! I am the Bulletin editor for the Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics. Do you mind if I provide a link to this post in our upcoming October Bulletin? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      That would be awesome! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

      Reply
  17. Teresa Razo

    Thank you, Donna, for this great resource.

    Reply

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