Friday, January 9, 2015

Irregular Ten Frames to Build Number Sense

Do you use ten frames in your classroom?  How about irregular ten frames?  I use both standard and irregular ten frames and have seen so much growth in my students' number sense.  Irregular ten frames require higher level thinking and promote children to develop their own strategies to count.  I want to share how I use irregular ten frames in my classroom.

I begin each math lesson with a number talk.  For each number talk I choose two irregular ten frames.  I draw the frames on chart paper and cover them up so the children cannot see the ten frames.  

I flash the first ten frame for about five seconds.  The children have to count the dots as quickly as they can.  If they know the amount of dots, they give me a thumbs up right below their chin.  I flash the ten frame once more to give the kids another chance at counting.  Then, I ask some of the children the number they counted. I choose two children who counted correctly to share their strategy for each ten frame.  I record their strategies on chart paper.  We compare and contrast the different strategies shared.

As I do more number talks in my classroom, I have seen my students' critical thinking expand and number sense strengthen.  They begin to group the dots in ways that make them easier to count (foundation for addition).  They no longer count the dots one by one.  Some children are even moving the dots in their head to make them easier and faster to count.

If you would like to use irregular ten frames in your classroom check out my FREEBIE below by clicking here: Irregular Ten Frames

Let me know how you use irregular ten frames in your classroom!  I would love to hear how you use them in your classroom!


  1. Great post! My kids love Subitizing with ten frames. Thanks for the Freebie.

  2. Thank you for your comment! I'm glad your kids enjoy using these. It is exciting seeing their thinking begin to change as you consistently use these.