Where’s the Math (Webcast No. 1): Pattern Counting Lesson

Watch children engage in pattern counting, verbally count one through five, and use one-to-one correspondence as they do it. Teaching teams and parents may use this strategy to help children develop basic counting skills and improve their ability to follow directions.


Setting: Whole Group –- first month of school

What happened before the lesson?  | What's happening during the lesson?  | What will I do after the lesson?

What happened before the lesson?

Where did the idea come from?
“Pattern Count,” pages 98-100 in Showcasing Mathematics for the Young Child.

What had the children learned BEFORE this lesson?
Children had counted to four over and over again using physical movements.

What did you plan to do AFTER this lesson?
After a few weeks of counting to FIVE, I would begin practicing the verbal sequence of counting to TEN and continue to use physical movements for one-to-one correspondence.

What's happening during the lesson?

Objective: Children will be able to verbalize the counting sequence for 1-5, emphasize the last number FIVE, and physically use one-to-one correspondence as they count.

Talk about FIVE as a “hand number” by asking children to “give you FIVE.”


  1. Model counting 1-5 and ask children to follow: slap legs for each number and on the count of FIVE, slap and then roll hands. 
  2. Model another way of counting 1-5 and ask children to follow: 1-hands over head, 2-top of head, 3-shoulders, 4-waist, and 5-knees. 
  3. Continue counting using model 2 but whisper all numbers 1-4 and shout on the number 5. 

What will I do after the lesson?

What would you do differently if you taught it again?  

I would continue to do this beginning sequence as I modeled it on this clip. This is a group activity that I have done for many years. The part I have emphasized most recently is the stress on the last number so that children will discover that the last number said in the counting sequence is the number that tells “how many.”

How would you describe the teaching that occurred using the words on the Continuum of Teaching Behaviors?

I was MODELING the counting behavior with cues and prompts.

Where's the Math (Webcast No. 1): Pattern Counting Lesson. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2007. English. Streaming Video. 00:02:24.

Last Reviewed: May 2012

Last Updated: January 6, 2017