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French Counting and Number Recognition

Kindergarten is the only grade where Math is taught in French in my school board, so I feel a lot of pressure to get that Math vocabulary in. I’ve found that the trickiest part about Math in French for most students is number recognition. They really struggle looking at a number and knowing its name as well as hearing a number name and knowing which number it is. In this post, I’ll describe methods I use to help teach French Counting and Number Recognition. Are you looking to teach the French alphabet to your students? Click here for a link to my Teaching the Alphabet blog post.

Various French counting activities - counting with 10-frames, number activity sheets (find the number, draw it, tally marks, 10-frames, trace the number, write the number), write the missing number, find and colour, count and write, tally, dice, finger counting

We count every single day. We started at 1 on the first day of school and we will continue counting until we get to 100. This is a simple and accessible strategy to get them to learn to count in French, because it starts out very easy. I noticed my class figured out the counting pattern (up to 69) quite quickly. Every time I would teach them the word for the next group of tens, they could count all the way up. It gets tricky once you hit the 70s, but that’s why we are practicing every day. I also brought their attention to it and told them that the numbers get a little funny. They were expecting it! Once we hit 100, I will pull each child individually and assess their counting skills using the Math and Literacy Behaviours Checklist I created.

A great way to assess your students' French counting skills throughoug the year!

During my circle lessons, we also play some math games. I use my Representing Numbers cards to play bug under the rug, number identification games and sorting games. Bug under the rug is quite simple: I hide a little photo of a bug under one of the cards while all the students have their eyes closed. Then they take turns guessing where the bug is. They cannot touch the cards – and they have to say the number out loud for it to count. I always use one type of card for this one (i.e., 10-frames, number, photo, tally marks, etc.), but I mix up which one I use during my circle. This is game is always popular with my students and really helps them work on their French counting skills.

Showing the game bug under the rug being played. The bug is hidden under one of the numers. Students must count in French and find the bug.

I will also lay out all the cards and give a few students fly swatters. Then I call a number out loud and the students need to hit the number. Because I’m using a variety of cards (number, 10-frames, pictures, tally marks, etc.), there are lots of opportunities to find the number I call out.

Finally, we use the cards to play sorting games. For this, I lay out all the cards with the numbers on them on the carpet. The students sit in a circle and I give each child a card or two. One by one, they have to say their number out loud, then put it down in the right spot.

Here is our number recognition game once we have completed it. Students have counted the cards in French, then sorted them by the number

During my centres, I put out various different activities to help them practice counting. I put out activities like: Number Clip Cards, Number Construction, Count and Colour, Count and Represent Worksheets, Number Puzzles, Bead the Number, and my newest freebie – Tree Counting Mats (see below for the link!). The French Counting Mats are great – there is one version with the numerals shown and one with the numbers written in words. Students must count the appropriate number of manipulatives and put them on the tree.

I hope this helps you teach early numeracy skills in your own classroom! Here is a freebie (French Counting Mats) that you can put out in your centres.

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