One More and One Less Freebie! - Math Coach's Corner

One More and One Less Freebie!

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’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.

To play individually, place number cards in the workstation.  Differentiate the activity by assigning different ranges of numbers to different students. The student draws a card, places it (or writes the number) on the middle space, and writes the number that is one less and one more.
Grab your freebie here!

14 Comments

  1. KinderKapers

    Thank you for the freebie. So many Kindergarteners struggle with academic language. Even those who have been to preschool. They often say or do the exact opposite of what was intended. Learning to use the right words is a big part of Kindergarten.

    Terri Izatt
    KinderKapers

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      My pleasure, Terri! ALL students struggle with academic language. Questioning is so important, because it helps us better understand their misconceptions.

      Reply
  2. Pat Whiteland

    Bless you!!!!! This just what I need right this second! My higher level students understand this concept and are working from 10-20 but the others….oh dear. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Glad the timing worked so well for you, Pat. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Juf

    Thanks for sharing! I teach first/second, and some of my firsties struggle with the concept as well. Almost all of my kids have had the same amount of schooling, so I don’t think that’s the issue as much as developmental differences – this is a pretty abstract concept for kids who are just starting to transition out of concrete thinking. I’ve found it helps with strugglers to have them create the numbers with objects (unifix/snap cubes are easiest) and then compare until they’ve mastered the concept. That helps them to really grasp the concept, not just memorize it.
    I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks now, and this is the first time I’ve commented. But since I’m here anyway, just want to say thanks for all your ideas! It’s always good to have a refreshing twist on math concepts put to use in my classroom.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      A VERY abstract concept. Kiddos definitely need lots of concrete practice coupled with the vocabulary. Glad you find my blog useful! 🙂

      Reply
  4. laura ekey

    Just when most had the less/more terms secure the required state first grade diagnostic used the term “fewer” multiple times!!!!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      You definitely have to stay on top of changes in wording, Laura. I’ve notice that comparison subtraction, which was always worded “how many (or much) more” is now being worded “what is the difference”.

      Reply
  5. Overachiever

    This is the perfect activity to complete with my intervention students in kindergarten. This is what I am working on and you are correct that many of our students struggle with academic language. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      “Fewer” and “less” give student much more trouble than “more” or “greater”. Lots of practice!

      Reply
  6. Lauren S

    Thank you for the freebie! I teach first grade and this will be perfect for a few of my kids who struggle with math vocab (particularly my ELL students!).

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      My pleasure! 🙂

      Reply
    • Candiss A Mullis

      Thanks

      Reply
  7. Amber

    Thank you so much! I will be using this freebie with my intervention kiddos during summer school. This is exactly what I was looking for.

    Reply

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