Sunday, September 18, 2011

Teaching Tally Marks

Teaching tally marks is one of the first things I do to kick-off the new math curriculum.  Why teach tally marks at the beginning of first grade?
-Practice counting
-Practice making groups
-Practice counting groups
-Practice counting by 1's, 5's and 10's
-Practice counting on...
-It is hands-on!

The following are some ideas that I use:

-Students manipulate stick-shaped objects.  Students use popsicle sticks, straws, stick pretzels etc. when practicing tally marks. 

-Create popsicle stick stories!  While you show the children the sticks, tell them a story.  When I use the trees, I make-up a story about how I need to cut down the last tree.  You can take your hand and make chopping noises as the tree falls down.  When I use the people, I make-up a story about the last kid tripping or falling down and the other 4 kids catch him.  Get creative and silly because with some kiddos, the stories really do help!
Popsicle Stick Stories- Create trees out of popsicle sticks to represent tally marks.  Share a story about the trees and why one of them falls down.
Popsicle Stick Stories- Create people out of popsicle sticks to represent tally marks.  Share a story about the people and why one of them falls down.
This is an inexpensive, quick way to teach this concept.  The following supplies are all you need...
Click the links below for additional tally mark resources.
Tally Mark Printables


  1. What a cute idea! I'll be making those this week! Thanks for sharing!

    Ms. Preppy's Adventures in Primary and Polka Dots

  2. Cute ideas! And thanks for the freebies! They are awesome. We'll use them next week. :)

  3. These are truly the best way I have seen to teach tally marks! What a great center once you get the kids trained! Thanks so much! (I pinned them too!)

    Empowering Little Learners!

  4. How did I never see this (or your blog?!) before?! I am going to make these up today and use them this week! Thank you!!

    Oh My Little Classity Class

  5. What clever ideas! Some kids really need an extra handle to grab onto when it comes to tally marks, and this could be it! Thanks!!

    Primary Inspiration

  6. I am a first grade teacher from Spain and just found your blog through pinterest. What a great idea to teach tallies. I am your newest follower.

  7. Just love this idea and I am an ESL teacher from Israel, I just love your creativity. I actually found you on Facebook, thank you for sharing.

  8. I loveeee your page!! My heart belongs to kinder and first grade. Taught these grades for almost 20 yrs. Started selling my own materials then... I was moved to fifth grade!! I found out like it also but now I am a fifth grade bilingual teacher starting from scratch. I think some of your activities can also be used by them. Thanks for sharing. Check my pages out also ;) Dolly Loaiza in Dallas Texas

  9. I love this! I just shared it with my kinder team. Thanks for sharing this! :)

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