I’ve been hanging out in a Kindergarten classroom recently, and it’s an experience I highly recommend. My classroom experience was all from 2nd through 5th grade (mostly 5th), so it’s a trip working with the babies. I attached myself to a workstation with the One More and One Less activity shown below, and I got to work with several students on it over the course of a few days. I was immediately struck by the range of abilities in a Kindergarten classroom. For some students, Kindergarten is their first formal schooling while others come with varying levels of preschool experience.
Many of the kiddos struggled with the language of one less than and one more than. One student explained to me that the number before a number was one more than the number because it came first. This seemed to be the thinking of other students as well. I wanted to create an additional activity the teacher could put in this workstation for students to work on when they finished the first activity, so I made an easy little mat students could use to practice the same skill. Notice how I labeled the sides One Less and One More to help overcome the misconception I observed. The mat prints four to a page, and I cut and laminated them. It can be used as either a partner activity or individually. To use it with partners, one partner writes a number in the middle box using a dry or wet erase marker. The other partner fills in the number that is one less and one more. I created a little half-page recording sheet the kiddos can use to document their work.