How to Tackle the Tricky Teen Numbers in Your Classroom - Down River Resources

How to Tackle the Tricky Teen Numbers in Your Classroom

Howdy, friends!

We've got problems. We've all got problems when it comes to teaching teen numbers. In recent years, those pesky two-digits have taken on their own identify becoming the dreaded TRICKY TEENS. It is not uncommon for students to have difficulty with the numbers 11 through 19. I mean, when you think about it, their names do not follow the traditional rule. This is where you, dear teacher, come into play. Enter stage right. Teachers must develop students' number fluency with these rule-breakers. Our students must know the number words and the corresponding numerals. Let's look at some manageable ways to taming the tricks.

Tricky Teens Don't Have To Be So

First, here are some basics that you and your students need to know:
  • Teen numbers are beTWEEN 10 and 20.
  • Numbers in the teens start with a 1.
  • Teen numbers have a group of 10. 
  • Teen numbers can easily be described as "ten and some more."
1. Use decomposing statements to build the foundation that numbers in the teens start with a 1.

2. Explore the teens by using ten frame mats and counters. Students can build teen numbers using the counters. It may help you follow the pattern: 10 and __ more is __.

3. Use number lines or number strips for supporting and sequencing. You have individual cards with the numbers written and create an interactive number line. You can mix up the numbers and put them in numerical order, you can highlight a special number and have the students build that number with a math manipulative.

4. Use number cards to help the students know that the group of 10 stays the same in the teen numbers, but the number in the ones place changes. Look at the photograph below, the number on the bottom card is "10." Students switch out the number card in the ones place (on the right) to represent a number in the teens.

This shows the students that there is always a group of ten and this is why the teen numbers always have a 1. Have the students make a model using a ten frame or place value blocks and have them use the number cards to represent that number.

5. Count one-by-one to compose a number or start with a group of ten and add "some more."

6. Sing a little rhyme. 

Adapted from Ten Little Indians 1868. (Feel free to use this song in your classroom. If posting on the internet or social media please cite and include link if at all possible.)

7. Create paper chain for each teen number. Keep the number 10 consistent in color, then use a different color for the other addend. (Example: Chain 14: 10 yellow links + 4 purple links)

Hint: Keep the two colors consistent for a powerful visual for students to remember. This is also a GREAT model for composing numbers.

8. Use the video Numbers in the Teens (They Start with a 1). I have used numerous videos from Harry Kindergarten Music in my classroom. They are catching, cute, and pretty fun too! (I may make up a few moves for me and kiddos to perform when we use his songs!) Videos are great for students who are visually and auditory dominate!

9. Use the video Numbers in the Teens (Have a Group of 10). There is a lot of repetition in these songs. For us, it may be a little much...but for our students, especially students who are struggling and English language learners this is just what they need to grasp the math language.

10. Reinforce the teen numbers giving your students practical real world experience. Are your
math toolkits or dry erase boards numbered? Does each student have a number that they use for identification? How many students are in the classroom? Have the students use one-to-one correspondence to pass out papers, count the boards, take lunch count or attendance, pass out napkins for snack, etc.
Chances are, these numbers will represent the teen numbers. If they don't, you are very very lucky to have a small class.

I hope this post inspires you to tackle those tricky teen numbers so you can use another adjective to describe them next year!

What are some of your favorite ways to tackle the tricky teen numbers in your classroom? What ways are you most excited to teach now?

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