Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Math {Supposed to be…} Monday!-Subitizing & Ten Frames

Okay so I had really good intentions.  All last week I planned out this idea to start a “Math Monday” feature and was excited about the first post.  Well…Monday came and the weather was gorgeous…and I just couldn’t pull myself away from the pool Monday afternoon/evening!  So here is what was supposed to be Math Monday on a Wednesday…sorry!

In a lot of the math materials I create and use I utilize ten frames.  I am a HUGE fan of them!  I’ll be honest…I didn’t used to be.  But there are so many ways to use them to teach and reinforce math concepts. You have probably seen them in some of the things I've created, like…

I have gotten a lot of questions (which are wonderful!) about the way the ten frames are filled.  The “traditional” way to fill a ten frame is to go from left to right on the top line and then start on the bottom line going left to right.  Like so…


I think it is so important for kiddos to be able to recognize ten frames that are filled in traditionally, but I also think it is extremely important to be able to recognize numbers no matter what formation they are in.  The fancy name for this is subitizing.  Basically subitizing is recognizing a set and being able to name that set quickly, without counting.  So, I love to use ten frames like this…


You see, the first thing your kiddos will see on this ten frame is that there are 2 dots on the left and 3 on the right.  But, a kiddo who has the skill of subitizing down pat will automatically see that this is five!  And without realizing it they also know that 2 and 3 equals five…and there is the beginning foundations for addition.  Incredible, huh?

There is also another way I use ten frames…


This ten frame was filled two at a time.  So I filled the top left corner then the bottom left corner, and so on.  This one is incredible for a visual on odd vs. even!  If you teach kiddos that every top dot has to have a “buddy” bottom dot for an even number they will be able to look at a ten frame quickly and know if it is odd or even.  Another way that I reinforce this is having kiddos use their fingers.  For example, if we were talking about the number 7, kiddos would start by holding up two fists in the air (and I would be doing it also to model).  We would start counting, 1…hold one finger up on right hand, 2…hold one finger up on left hand, 3…hold second finger up on right hand, 4…hold second finger up on left hand, etc. until we got to 7.  We would end up with 4 on one hand and 3 on the other.  Then we would put our fingers together (only the ones standing up) to find their buddy (pointer finger to pointer finger, etc.).  Then students would realize the same thing they did with the ten frame…there is one finger without a buddy (the odd man out) so it’s an odd number!  If all fingers had a buddy then it would be an even number!  The kiddos catch on to this really fast!

Now, I’m a clipart/theme-aholic! Smile So I created some fun themed ten frames to use throughout the year.  They include all three different types of ten frames I talked about above in each different theme.  The kiddos love the variations!


You can also download the preview on TpT and get the black with dots I showed above for free!  Check it out!






Teacher's Notebook 2





If there is something you would like to see featured on Math Mondays, please let me know!!



  1. Thanks so much for your comment! Go Texas! I love these tens frames.

  2. Im a preschool teacher who has some advanced kids and i would like to use those number galore pages but i can;t figure out what the circles and the boxes where the tally marks go. I love the ten frame idea and think my little one will catch on quick.
    Thanks For sharing!

  3. On the worksheet above their are two empty circles attached to the number 3. What to do with this? I bought the 1-100 sheets.

    1. Janet, Did you get a reply? I am wondering the same thing.



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