Counting Number & Operations in Base 10

Kindergarten Counting


(The pretty, blue script is a transcription of the pretty, black script.)

What’s going on here? Is this kid going to do OK in 1st grade? What will the 1st grade teacher have to work with?

Thanks to Christopher Danielson for the submission.

5 replies on “Kindergarten Counting”

Can we assume this is in an English-speaking classroom?

I think this child is saying the numbers to themselves and then transcribing what they say. For a little kid who doesn’t count that high very often, they don’t have much practice saying “eighteen” and it sounds just like “eighty” to them. That’s why s/he recovers when they get to 20 — everything is fine at that point. I suspect they were at some earlier milestone / plateau for awhile that involved successful counting to 15 so someone emphasized those numbers.

Not really sure what’s going on with 12 being “20” but to be fair eleven and twelve are unique words that don’t fit the rest of the English-language pattern.

What this says to me is that if an adult says the number, this child can write down that number, even if it’s seventy or eighty — I think that’s great! I think this student will be fine, it is a developmental enunciation / language stage.

I agree that this could largely be attributed to language. It’s great the student can recognize the pattern involved in our digits–he/she never lost sight of the order, even if the place value (and actual value) is out of whack. And, really, to be fair, the tens is the one language set that doesn’t follow the pattern established and used by all the others.

I think practice counting by tens, and sorting/regrouping could help this student. I’m thinking of the calendar exercises & base ten block activities I’ve seen done in lower grades. Connecting those visual/hands on experiences to the more abstract task of place value and writing numbers could be way beneficial.

And, on the eleven/twelve note, I just read this week how those words came to be:

I think the transcription should be:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 112 (saw the second one in 11 and thought that it was for the 12) 30 (hearing thirteen sound like 30) 14
15 60 70 80 90 20 21 22(started 22, but didn’t have enough room, so left it and started on the next line)
22 23 24
My guess is the child was taught the lower numbers audibly (maybe at home) much earlier and recently was taught the tens (10, 20, 30, etc) as a group and is just confusing the two because they are sounding out what they know as a string of sounds that has no visual representation.

There’s an interesting section in “How the Brain Learns Mathematics” by David A. Sousa about counting and how language affects children’s ability to learn to count.

I do think a lot of it is the student writing how the number sounds to them. For the longest time I could not figure out why the Kindergarteners I work with go from 90 to 20 when counting. I think ninety sounds like nineteen, so they go back to their cadence in counting to get 20.

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