EL Support Lesson

Nature Counting

Use this fun lesson plan to introduce or review the concept of addition to your ELs. Can be used as a stand alone or support lesson for the **Nature and Couting It All Adds Up** lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Nature and Counting: It All Adds Up lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Nature and Counting: It All Adds Up lesson plan.

Students will be able to represent addition facts up to 10. Students will be able to explain addition within 10 using sentence frames.

  • Gather the class together and display a handful of items (e.g., buttons) to the students.
  • Model thinking aloud to guess how many buttons you have by saying something like, "I started with two buttons and then I found five more buttons in my desk. I wonder how many I have altogether?"
  • Ask students if they can think of a way for you to figure out the total number of buttons you have.
  • Have students turn and talk to share their ideas, then ask several pairs to share ideas aloud. Provide a sentence frame or sentence starter for students to use in their conversation. For example, "I could ____ to find the total number of buttons."
  • Record student ideas on chart paper (e.g., count all buttons together, draw a picture, write an equation, etc.).
  • Model writing an equation and using pictures, while thinking aloud.
  • As you think aloud, introduce or review the target mathematical vocabulary (using the Glossary) as needed.
  • Explain that now you will pair students together to practice finding the sum of two groups.
  • Pass out a group of items to each student pair (e.g., five bears to one student and two bears to another student in the same pair), along with whiteboards and dry erase markers.
  • Take note of student conversations and record ideas and discussions on the chart paper. For example, "I think we should each count our items first, then count them altogether."
  • Gather students back together after 5-7 minutes and allow pairs to share their process with the group.
  • Provide sentence frames as neeeded such as "We first ____, then we ____ to find the total."


  • Gather together a small group of students to practice finding the sum using additional problems (using math counters).
  • Provide sentence frames for students to use as they share their thinking with the small group.


  • Have students create their own addition equations with sums between 2-10.
  • Have students practice writing their own equations and checking their answers by counting.
  • Circulate around the room during pair and independent work time to note any challenges or misconceptions.
  • Take note of student conversations and comments and record them for sharing with the class during the closing.
  • Collect work samples to assess if students are able to accurately solve addition equations.
  • Ask students to share with a partner their work. Provide sentence frames as needed. For example, "I used ____to find the sum."
  • Share out with the group some ideas for keeping track while counting (number line, moving objects, drawing pics) using observations and notes from the group work session.

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