Literature and Math using Counting

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We had a wonderful time camping this past weekend. Twelve children and eight adults made for a crowded, but exciting trip.  We were all sitting around the campfire the first night.  The sun had set and darkness crept in.  All of a sudden, we saw twinkling lights throughout the trees.  Yep, fireflies.  If you haven’t seen them, they are a beautiful sight!  And all twelve kids were out there trying to count all the flashes they saw!

Of course, when I got our book out for the week, my kids started rattling off all the things they learned about fireflies.  I love finding books and activities that help build their schema.  Little Miss was even able to tell us what she knew about them, as well!

How to Bring Math and Literature Together

I love this book, Ten Flashing Fireflies, for so many reasons.  It has a great rhyming pattern. The pictures are rich in color. And a lot of students can relate to this book, even if they have never seen a firefly.  There are a ton of bugs out there!

However, this book is a great resource for counting practice. The author creates a great visual for two way counting.  The two kids in the story see ten bright flashing fireflies in the night sky.  They catch one firefly at a time, so readers have a good visual of counting down and counting up at the same time.

This book was great for both of my older kids.  Little Miss was able to practice counting up to ten and down from ten.  However, G was able to practice his ten’s addition facts. He was able to spout off addition facts that equal ten very quickly as we turned each page.

In addition, this book is great when introducing ten frames!  There are multiple reasons why I love teaching ten frames. It’s a great visual for mental math fluency.  Are you prepping your students to learn place value?  Ten frames are a great starter before jumping into place value! Your students will have a better grasp of number sense with ten frames too!

Firefly Math

I knew I wanted to create a fun, hands on math activity after reading this book.  And I wanted to make it appropriate for different learning levels.  So, I created a ten frame firefly activity that can be used in many different ways!

As I read this book, we used the ten frame as a visual when adding flies to the jar.  For my youngest, we just worked on counting down from ten, however, my oldest was able to use the jar and ten frame to make addition problems to ten!

After we finished the book, we practiced our subtraction problems and used the fireflies as a visual.

I love passing on fun learning activities to my fellow teachers and homeschool teachers, and you can get this activity for free by clicking on the download button at the bottom!

Do you try to find ways to integrate more literature in other subjects?  Check out these blog posts that might help you out!

There are so many counting books out there, and this one is another favorite of mine!  Your learners will love building and creating the snake to count the mice in the jar!


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progress monitoring in the early elementary classroom for math, literacy and reading

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