EL Support Lesson

Monkey Counting

In this fun lesson, students will love monkeying around as they practice counting! This can be used as a stand alone or support lesson for the **Catch Those Fish** lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Catch Those Fish! lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Catch Those Fish! lesson plan.

Students will be able to correctly order numbers and use one-to-one correspondance skills to determine how many items are in a group.


Students will be able to identify numbers 1-20 and explain how to find the total number of items in a group using tactile supports and sentence frames.

(2 minutes)
  • Gather the class together for a read aloud.
  • Display the book, Count the Monkeys and introduce the title, author, and illustrator.
  • Say, "Today we are going to practice counting and keeping track as we count."
(5 minutes)
  • Read aloud the book and pause to model counting animals using one-to-one correspondance on each page.
  • Explain to students that sometimes when we count we miss something or count the same thing more than once.
  • Use a think aloud to demonstrate how to keep track when counting using objects (e.g., counting manipulatives) and model moving the counted objects to a new pile.
  • Use a set of precut number cards to show how each item corresponds to a written numeral.
  • Instruct the students to echo count as you recount the number of items to check your total amount.
(5 minutes)
  • Place a pile of counting manipulatives in front of you and say, "How many bears do I have in all? How can I find out?"
  • Invite students to turn and talk to share ideas.
  • Use the number cards to connect written numbers as you count. Count the pile aloud with student input, and invite a student up to help you move the items as they are counted chorally by the class.
  • Say, "The total number of bears is 10. Do you agree or disagree? Use a thumbs up or thumbs down to share your opinion."
  • Recount the bears to check and encourage students to count along.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that now students will get their own set of number cards and counting manipulatives. They will work with a partner to practice matching each counting manipulative to one written number in order to find the total amount.
  • Ask students to turn and talk to a partner to restate the instructions in their own words.
  • Pass out the materials and pair students with a partner.


  • Allow students to count in their home language (L1).
  • Work with students in a smaller teacher-led group.


  • Provide a greater challenge by asking students to count a larger group of items. Then, explain how they kept track with a partner.
  • Have students draw 1-20 items and label them with a written number in order.
(5 minutes)
  • Assess that students are able to accurately match the correct number of objects to a written numeral by circulating as students work and noting how students are interacting with the materials.
  • Ask guiding questions to check for understanding. For example, "How many ____ are there? How do you know? How did you keep track, what strategy did you use?"
(3 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together and review different strategies for keeping track as you count.
  • Ask students to turn and talk to share their favorite strategy using the sentence starter, "My favorite strategy was ____."

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