1 Counting and Flexible Counting

The students need to feel secure counting forwards and backwards by ones, fives, tens, and twos up to and just past 100.  In second grade they start to mix up the counts.  For example, the students might start counting by tens and then at some point be told to switch and continue counting by fives, and then switch and go back to counting by tens.  (It might sound like this:  10, 20, 30 switch 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65 switch 75, 85, 95, 105, 115,…)

Here’s the typical sequence to do a quick check on home to see how secure students are in counting.

Part I  Starting at Zero

Counting forward by 1s to 130.

Counting backwards by 1s from 130.

Counting forward by 5s to 130.

Counting backwards by 5s from 130.

Counting forward by 10s to 130.

Counting backwards by 10s from 130.

Counting forward by 2s to 130.

Counting backwards by 2s from 20.


Part II  Starting on any given Number

Given 36, the students should be able to:

Continue forward by 1s:  37, 38, 39, …

Continue backwards by 1s: 35, 34, 33, …

Continue forward by 10s: 46, 56, 66, 76, 86, 96, 106, 116, …

Continue backwards by 10s:  26, 16, 6.

Continue forward by 2s:  38, 40, 42,…

Continue backwards by 2s: 34, 32, 30, 28,…

In the second grade math program, they start with Part II relatively quickly.  A Part III would be mixing it up to see if the students can be flexible.  You might say, “Okay, starting with the number 49, count by tens.”  After they have been counting for a bit, tell them, “Stop.  Now count by 5s.”  After you have seen them make the switch, say, “Stop, now go back to tens.”