EL Support Lesson

Counting Fishermen

In this fun lesson about early addition, your students will love listening to a hilarious read aloud while learning how to add within 5. Can be used as a stand alone or support lesson for the How Many Presents Addition lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the How Many Presents: A Lesson in Addition lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the How Many Presents: A Lesson in Addition lesson plan.

Students will be able to solve addition problems using numbers 0-5.


Students will be able to explain how to solve an addition problem using tactile and visual supports.

(2 minutes)
  • Gather the class together for a read-aloud.
  • Display the cover Five Silly Fishermen and ask, "Does anyone know what fishermen do?"
  • Use the vocabulary card and glossary to define a fisherman as someone who catches and sells fish.
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud the book pausing throughout to ask, "How many fishermen are there?"
  • Ask the students to turn and talk to share with a partner the problem from the story (e.g., the fishermen counted incorrectly and didn't know how many there were in all).
  • Explain that when you add you are putting things together to find out how many you have in all.
  • Use a page from the story to create an addition problem (e.g., 4 + 1 = ____ ), and saying something like, "There are four fishermen and then one more fishermen comes. How many are there in all?"
  • Model how to solve the problem by drawing 4 stick figures and 1 stick figure and counting each (pointing as you count).
  • Show how to recount or check your answer by using counting manipulatives and a number line to recount 4 + 1.
  • Ask students to hold up 4 fingers and then add 1 more finger to show how many fishermen there are in all.
  • Write a number sentence to go along with the problem and explain that we use special math symbols like the plus sign and equals sign to help us understand that this is an addition or adding problem.
  • Model how to read the number sentence aloud 4 + 1 = 5.
  • Review the problem with the class by saying, "Four plus one equals five. There were 5 all together."
(5 minutes)
  • Share the following problem, "I have three balloons. My friend gave me one more balloon. How many do I have in all?"
  • Distribute the pre-made blank number sentences and counting manipulatives to each student.
  • Instruct the group to count out 3 manipulatives and to place them in the first box of their number sentence, and then place one in the second box (model how to do this using a document camera).
  • As a group, count the manipulatives together to find the total (4) and place four in the last box.
  • Read the problem aloud, having students echo read after you and finish the equation, 3 + 1 = 4, and read aloud, "Three plus one equals four."
  • Repeat with a second problem, guiding students to use the number sentences to solve each problem.
(10 minutes)
  • Display the worksheet How Many Are There? Trees.
  • Pass out worksheets and pencils to each student.
  • Instruct students to follow along as you model the solving the first problem. Think aloud, "First, count all of the trees. Next, write the total number in the space after the equal sign. Last, read the number sentence: Two plus one equals three."


  • Allow students to count and add in their home language (L1).
  • Work with students in a smaller teacher-led small group to practice solving addition equations.


  • Ask students to share problem solving strategies with a partner.
  • Invite students to create and act out their own story problems with a partner or in a small group.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate around the room to assess the language objective and ask guiding questions such as: How did you solve the problem? What do you do first?
  • Prompt students to point to the parts of the number sentence as they read it aloud to you.
(3 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together.
  • Practice solving an addition problem using acting and having students say the corresponding number sentence aloud.
  • Project the worksheet on the board and go over each problem, reading them aloud and having students echo read after you to provide additional practice.

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