This group loves to count. They count rocks on the play ground, the largest arm-load of walnuts and the number of days left until Halloween. Without any prompting from us, snack-time has become the most common opportunity to practice one-to-one correspondence. The counting strategies range from lining items up, counting-as-you-eat, removing one item from a bag at a time and pile counting. Pile counting doesn’t usually end up the true total number of items, but making this mistake is part of the learning process.
They may hear if I tell them, they will know if they discover it.
Although our Halloween inspired classroom store has been open for over a week, it only just occurred to our students that the venue really should have a name. Following Pre-K tradition, an assortment of name ideas were collected on Monday’s Morning Message.
Voting for favorites in Pre-K can be kind of tricky. Often, they’ll vote multiple times and not necessarily for their own favorites. Naturally, this activity lends itself to modeling and practicing. We suggest that the children sit quietly for a moment as they listen to the list of choices. We offer, “Tell yourself in your mind, like talking inside your head, which store name you like the most. Keep it there in your brain so you will be ready to vote for your favorite.”
(One of our goals here is to explicitly model and practice consciously using an inner voice to process a decision. This is not something four and five-year-olds regularly do.)
Next, we give each child one small stone. This stone represents their vote. Since each child has only one, the system helps the children visualize and physically practice the one-to-one correspondence inherent in voting. The list of options is read aloud one last time and each child turns in their rock to cast their preference. The students count each option’s results as they are collected. We also model and provide guided practice with the one-to-one correspondence involved in counting the votes. Sometimes, we purposefully slow down or pause counting to model what happens when we don’t assign one number to every object. At first, children typically keep reciting the counting numbers regardless of the number of objects present. After much practice, though, they are keen to our trickery and pause their counting right along with us.
Tallies are used on the original list. We choose to use traditional, basic tallies without the cross-over at five. This early in the year, we’d rather they noticed that each line represents one object instead of puzzling over why one line is crooked.
When all votes are collected an tallied, we have a final vote between the top two contenders.
As you can see, The Haunted Halloween Store held and obvious victory. Now, on to re-stocking the shelves!