Teaching Children to Write Numbers

Sunday, 29 October 2017


It's easy to get caught in the loop of fast forwarding through math instruction, without spending a lot of time on numeral writing, only to find yourself reteaching "3" in the middle of a place value unit.

Speaking from experience here!

This might be because commercially available math programs consider this skill "handwriting" and fail to include a lot of upfront instruction.

So this year I decided to sloooow it down a bit and get it right from the beginning!  I created a set of posters and numeral rhymes to help my children picture the numeral and learn the sequence of steps for each formation.


I begin with numerals 0-5,  introducing one new numeral each day. We look closely at the poster for a number shape and then I recite the rhyme while tracing the numeral with a wipe-off marker as I see it in the photograph.  As I'm saying, "Long-necked flamingo," I'm tracing the curved part of the two.  As I'm saying, "sitting at the zoo," I'm tracing the straight line at the bottom.


Then, I recite it again while tracing the numeral at the bottom of the page.  The bird symbol helps children remember which direction to "fly" with their pencil.  I've already taught directional words so I can ask "Is the two flying left or right?"  I then invite children to recite the rhyme with me and to trace it on the carpet and in the air.

Following that, we practice the rhyme and formation using these practice pages. I always encourage the children to continue to say the rhyme out loud as they write the numeral, otherwise they might just trace the numeral in any old way without really practicing proper formation.  In many cases, I am trying to correct "bad habits" that have already developed, such as writing from bottom up vs. top down.


  
The first row is always done in highlighter, the second using a crayon of their choice, and the third in pencil.  The children enjoy the challenge at the bottom of each page where they get creative and turn the numeral into the picture shape that I am trying to imprint into their memory.

Once 0-5 is introduced, we make a counting book and I send practice sheets home for homework so parents can also learn the rhymes and support their child in correctly forming their numbers.




Practice continues as I add  Roll it, Write it, Count it  games to their math tubs.  Each game requires the children to work on subitizing (roll it), numeral formation (write it), and counting a set of objects (count it).  


Then we repeat the process all over again with numerals 6-9!

Taking the extra time to help my children build good numeral writing habits from the beginning will help me avoid the frustration of constant reteaching.



If you'd like to use Numbers in Nature Formation Rhymes with your children, click on the link to find them in my TPT store at a discounted price for the next 48 hours.

Thanks for stopping by!

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