For types of questioning and example discussion, watch master teacher and workshop presenter Kim Montague facilitate a Count Around with a group of elementary teachers.
When you watch the video, what do you notice? What do you wonder?
A Count Around is a powerful instructional routine (a mini-lesson) that can be used in many different grades to promote numeracy, especially place-value relationships and connections.
Count Arounds are a great part of a well rounded mathematics curriculum. They are also a wonderful beginning routine for teachers to implement as they get their feet underneath them in their journey to teach real mathematizing. In other words, it’s a good place to start. The routine is fairly contained, easy to facilitate, and gives teachers a chance to hear student ideas and thinking. It is also an opportunity for teachers to practice responding to students.
A Count Around begins with the teacher selecting a starting number for the class. A student begins at that starting number and adds a specified amount. The class continues to count around, one student at a time, by that same specified amount. As each student says the next number in the count, the teacher records the count. At certain, pre-planned junctures the teacher stops the count and asks noticing, probing questions. Often these junctures are at important place values, where patterns shift or after enough numbers are listed so that students can notice important patterns shifting somewhere in the list.
For example, the teacher might choose the number 8 and then tell the class to count around, adding 10 each time. The first student starts with 8 and adds 10 to get 18, the next student adds 10 to get 28, the next student says 38, and so forth. As students count, the teacher writes the numbers on the board. Somewhere around 138, the teacher would stop and ask what students are noticing and what patterns are emerging. Then students start counting again until they reach 248. The teacher would again press for description and discussion.