This lesson was taught to a bright and vibrant child with some slight challenges in hearing and speech. 5 years old. Fine motor skills undeveloped. Cannot draw or write (YET). He had class after his brother and I made sure that we did not put the blocks away before the new lesson. Therefore his first task was put away blocks.

He sorts and counts blocks as he puts them away. Counting to nine several times as a warm up...then we built 10, 9 , 8, 7, at the lowest degree of difficulty where I put the blocks in first and he just has to put the block that matches in the tray, for example the nine is in the tray and he has to put a one in there to make 10...etc. See picture below. Then he built them himself with no help. But still at the lowest degree of difficulty where he put in one thu 9 or 1 thru 9 etc ad ten added the matching addend. Building them one at a time is the next degree of difficulty.

I then made him use alternating hands to put the blocks in the tray, he could not pick up a block with the same hand twice in a row, thus engaging more of his brain and making it more FUN. He showed me each hand before he grabbed the block he wanted and I nodded and smiled each time giving him positive reinforcement.

Then we made a house with walls that were 10, 9, 8, and seven and eight high (this is not the exact one but you get the idea, this picture shows one a little more advanced with addends past ten.):

Then we counted on our fingers. Two fingers on this hand three on the other: how many?

He had a little trouble putting up his fingers and copying me, but it was fun ad we did lots of combinations less than 5, obviously. 2 + 2, 3 + 2, 4+5, 4+4 etc.

Example: 5 + 3 = 8

He always counted starting at one, even if he knew one hand was 5 and the other 3. He started 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and then 6, 7, 8. They have to be taught to start at FIVE and then count 6, 7, 8. this takes patience and practice because they always want to start at one just to be sure. We are counting on our fingers now because one day soon we will NOT be counting on our fingers. Fingers are a crutch we will ween off of shortly. Like training wheels on your bike, we won't need them once we get going and it will actually hamper you once you want to go fast and do tricks. We will know these facts "by heart" and the child will know all 45 addends by heart too. He had fun making up his own problems for me to count, part of the fun was getting his fingers to do what he wanted them to do. We then counted to 20 by fives using all our hands...we did this several times.

Many students come to me with an F in algebra and can't add 7 + 8 without either counting on their fingers (as seripticiously as possible) or stopping to think about it. Multiplying 7 x 8 also gives them pause. Fractions poorly understood...gee how come they don't get algebra? But I digress.

Then just for fun we built 3's and 4's because it's super easy, fun and quit because an hour had gone by. Note we never once used paper and pencil or even a white board.

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