Lesson plan

Christmas Counting: 1, 2, 3! Time to Decorate the Christmas Tree

Farewell pumpkins and turkeys! It’s time to decorate for Christmas! Your students will work on the foundations of counting, one-to-one correspondence, and one-to-one tagging as they add decorations to their Christmas cookies and trees.
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  • Students will be able to implement correct counting procedures by pointing to one object at a time and using one counting word for each object.
  • Students will be able to keep track of objects that have been counted.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to share some of their favorite Christmas traditions.
  • Tell students that two of your favorite Christmas traditions are decorating Christmas cookies and decorating the Christmas tree.
  • Tell students that today they will get to work with numbers and counting to decorate cookies and Christmas trees.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that as a class you will decorate large pretend Christmas cookies.
  • Show students your paper Christmas cookies, bag of number cards, and bag of decorations.
  • Post one large paper Christmas cookie on the board.
  • Explain to students that they will pick a number card from the bag to find out how many decorations they will place on the cookie.
  • Model for students how to select a number card, read the card aloud, and count out the decorations one at a time ensuring that you have the correct number before placing them on the cookie.
  • Place the decorations on the cookie and model for students how to double check that you have placed the correct number of decorations onto the cookie by pointing at each decoration one at a time and counting them aloud.
  • Ask students to give you a thumbs up if the number of decorations counted matches the number written on the number card.
(15 minutes)
  • Post a new cookie on the board.
  • Call on student volunteers to come up to the board to pick a number card, count out the correct number of decorations, decorate the cookie, and double check their counting aloud to ensure that the number of cookie decorations matches the number written on the number card.
  • Ask students to give you a thumbs up if the number of decorations counted matches the number written on the number card.
  • Continue with this process using the four remaining cookies.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will now get to independently decorate Christmas trees with ornaments.
  • Hand out and preview the Missing Ornaments worksheet for students to complete independently.

Support: Adjust the worksheet so that the number of ornaments for each tree are smaller and more manageable for a student learning to count. For example, change six ornaments to two ornaments.

Enrichment: Students who are ready to move beyond just counting objects can work on the Christmas Pictures Math worksheet, which incorporates counting and addition.

(5 minutes)
  • With students sitting on the rug, project the Holiday Shapes worksheet onto the board.
  • Go through each shape and ask students to count the number of items (i.e. bows) and show you with their fingers how many they counted.
  • Continue this process with the bows, rectangles, stars, circles, and ovals.
  • Challenge students by asking them to count more than one shape. For example, asking them to count how many circles and stars they see.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students you are going to play a quick counting game that will get them moving and also let them practice their counting.
  • Call out a number and give the students ten seconds to get into a group of that size. (Note: it will be difficult to get every student into a group every time, but each new number will provide another opportunity.)
  • Have students count off in their groups to double check that they have the correct number of students.
  • Continue with numbers 1-10.

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