Grade One Tasks

I encourage every grade to begin the year with physical skills and building vocabulary.

Physical skills develop as we build word walls, develop attribute language by touching and describing materials, build dot cards, lay out sorts, trace ChunkitZ.

Line up the fives

Line up the fives

Physical skills are a key component of the tasks in these 2 articles by Constance Kamii. 

 Kamii Article: Tasks to build reasoning

Kamii Article:  Line Up Fives

Try playing line up the fives and using some of the other tasks she sets out. Once students know how to “play the games”  some students might be able to use them in independent centre time. REMEMBER AMERICANS Talk GRADE LEVELS and curriculum very DIFFERENTLY THAN WE DO. When you read the articles just think early numeracy skills.

TRACE, TRACE, TRACE: Develop a rubric for tracing and stick to it.

When kids make mistakes say: NICE TRY, TRY AGAIN.

Trace faces of 3D objects

Give feedback on pictures of tracings. We want straight sides, sharp corners that meet!! The grade ones above were given vocabulary cards to match to their tracings. This is six weeks of regular discussion and practice. Notice the student work to the right has green dots on the vertices, but indicated green meant edge.Teacher needs to probe for meaning here.

Grade one tracing objects

This must be a cube. Do you know why?


Trace Chunk itZ to build physical skills as students puzzle and explore number.

can you be more accurate with six

Chunk Kinder not accurate

Tracing Chunk itZ could be about number, space or shape. The tasks above focus on 3 and 5.

The task below: How many sides ?

Count Chunk sides


Grade One Year at a Glance.

Grade one Glance page one j

Grade one page 2 Glance j

Downloadable  version  : The Final Grade one Glance Aug 7 2018

What can a Grade One do?

Grade one I can

Jessica class: subitizing

Vikki class flashmath:

These two videos give some thought to daily practice with dot collections. Oral discussions about ways to express number.

Thinking and Reasoning Matter:

Start your year with sorting, describing, explaining. The What does not belong cards can be used to develop vocabulary and apply it in a reasoning setting. Which set does not belong and why? See the Kindergarten page for more.

Sesame Street play a game based on the song “one of these things is not like the other ones.” Grayson Wheatley has developed a set of cards he has published with the title: What Doesn’t Belong. Carefully consider the sets below and decide which set does not fit with the other two and why? You should find there is a reason for each of the sets to be chosen to be removed.

There is no right answer. This task is open-ended to provide opportunities to develop vocabulary, logic and critical thinking skills.

WDB card

Student discussions:

#1 doesn’t belong. It makes a triangle. (But so does card 3 piped up a voice)

#3 doesn’t belong. It has a space in the middle. 

#2 doesn’t belong. It has different stars. (Describe what you mean different stars? These have 4 vertices, this one has five and these have 6.)

 #2 is arranged out of order  #1 and #3 the stars are arranged in a triangle.

 #2 doesn’t belong because it isn’t grouped in threes. (#1 and #3 are arranged in threes)

 #1 doesn’t fit it is an even amount (#3 and #2 are odd numbers)  

A powerpoint to try some cards: My colour ppt for WDB 2018 

Some cards you can download and laminate to use with students  What Doesn’t Belong mini version 2018

These are copyright materials. Please do not share with others.

Be sure to include tasks to build attributes then use those attributes to sort and pattern.

Sorting tasks might include sorting names by length. Chrysanthemum started this.

Chrysanthemum sort

Compare Chrysanthemum names

Chrysanthemum names

Sorting All Sorts Candies

all sorts sort one

Choose an attribute to sort some into.

All sort subsets

Sorting Dowels

Sorting Loops

Loops 1

Loops 2

Loops 3

Sorting and comparing dot collections of 2, of 3, of 5. Make cards and compare to build vocabulary and to introduce equal.

Compare 2 red dots

Compare 2 dots

Michelle class sorted dots

We sorted according to where the dots were positioned on the card.

Here is a powerpoint that includes some ideas for building attribute vocabulary.

Gr 1 sort 3 dots


2 equals 2 russell

Once students have 2, 3, and 5 use them to explore and study other numbers to 10.

Equal in a line

5 chunk equals 5 chunk

Additive Composition not Equations 

The focus is express numbers. The focus is not write equations.  Find 2, find 3, find 5 in collections.

Find the dots in the collections.Find 2, 3, 5 in collections

When you describe a collection it is about the parts that make the whole. You use an addition sign but you are only describing or expressing the number.

These are ways to describe 6:

chart for 6

These are ways to express 7. There are no subtractions because we are looking inside 7. Seven is composed of these parts.  Sevens cards chart

2 colour dot collection

“Don’t the colours confuse the kids?” and other falsehoods in the field.

The two colour cards are intended to challenge. Can you look beyond the colours to see all the expressions for 7?

EQUAL is so important. Introduce it with subitizing, not after. Soon as you know 2 and 3 you can work on equal.

5 equals 5

chunk dot worksheet

Inverse Thinking develops as students work with expressions.

As students express ways to describe a quantity, the teacher will introduce what’s covered or what’s missing.

“You said you saw 8. You said 6 and 2 make 8. I see, (circle with a finger the 2) this two and (circle with a finger) this is 6. You said 2 and 6 make 8 therefore 8 (cover 6) minus 6 equals 2 because 2 (uncover 6) plus 6 equals 8. And 8 (cover 2) minus 2 equals 6 because 6 plus (uncover the 2) plus 2 equals 8.”

Focus on the relationship first. And often.

The chart below was built with Grade 1s after Christmas. Equations come after automatic recognition is established. And note they are only working with the 5 to 7 cards. Go slow to gain traction for all.

The Diagnostic for Grade One

The two items below are from the B.C. Early Numeracy materials. They hit on some key thinking abilities that we need our students to develop. 


Shapes Puzzle  

Shapes Puzzle 2

How many cubes in all. Quick as you can.

cube task

more cube task

Cube Building  

Cube Page 2