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I am a first grade teacher who has rediscovered a love for firsties this year. I have taught pre-k, kindergarten, first grade and even second over the past 16 years. I have been married for 17 years to my wonderful husband and have been blessed with 2 very active boys.

Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K Back to School
Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

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Calendar Math for Primary Grades

Calendar Math for Primary Grades
Primary Calendar for the Year

Small Group Math Activities in Pre-K


                                                If you are new to The Resourceful Apple...
Let me introduce myself!

I am a pre-k teacher in a Florida public school.  We have a FREE, voluntary program open to four and five year olds. I have taught both full and half day programs depending on the funding.  Being a public pre-k, we are given a scope and sequence to follow. This means the order of standards are preset in all academic areas.


Small group is the perfect time to work on standards. We have five rotations that include math, literacy, technology, exploration and listening and library. Each small group rotation lasts from 8-10 minutes.My para and I rotate teaching math and literacy each day.This post contains affiliate links to support this blog.


Bubble gum tens frames and bottle cap counters from Pre-K Math Unit 1:  Counting to 10 are a must have as they can be used year round for a variety of activities. 

Apple counting with red pom poms add novelty to the concept of counting from Pre-K Math Unit 1:  Counting to 10.  Bottle cap apple templates are also included.  Numeral cards can ne added for differentiation for those students who have mastered counting to ten.


One to one correspondence can be introduced using recycled marker caps and Colored Pom Poms. I introduce this activity during small group and then move it over to our sensory table during centers.
Fine motor muscles along with hang/eye coordination also benefit from this activity.


The Dollar Tree always has fun seasonal ice cube trays and mini erasers.  Novelty is key and this concept can be changed during any time of the year with new seasonal materials so your students will be excited and think it is a new activity!


Identifying numerals is often goes along with counting during small group time.  Numeral cards (taped on cups) and beans are easy to set up and add fine motor practice as well.

Lakeshore Peg Number Boards are great for little fingers as children identify the number and then count that many pegs as they put them in the holes.  It is self checking and for those who are learning to identify numerals, they can count the peg holes first in order to identify the numeral!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Farm-Early-Literacy-and-Math-Skills-2465053Farm:  Early Literacy and Math Skillsprovide tens frames up to 20 and again contain the templates for farm animal bottle caps.  These are a good resource for when you start comparing numbers with greater and less than.  In addition, the tens frames come blank as shown and a second set comes with matching animals in the tens frame to work on one to one correspondence.  


Tangrams and Tangram Mats are an ideal activity as children explores shapes. Vocabulary such as turn and flip can also be introduced in context while children play.  

Kinetic Sand and Shape Cookie Cutters are a favorite and can be changed out with numbers, shapes and seasonal cookie cutters.  It also provides a sensory activity with very little mess!



Fall Table Scatter and Light Table  along with a clear transparency provided a new activity for the light table after we worked on patterning during the week and after the children were allowed to play independently with the table scatter on the light table.  We introduced the concept of patter unit (pre-k standard) during our math small group and then left it at the light table during centers.

Candy Corn and Pumpkins are not only a manipulative, but a delicious treat and incentive to follow along during small group math!  This can be done throughout the year with candy, goldfish crackers, or even fruit during our unit on nutrition!


Seriation is a new standard in pre-k and involved ordering objects by size.  Snap Cubes were given I  a bowl and students were asked to snap together like colors and then put the towers in order from smallest to largest. This took modeling for some and others saw the pattern right away!  To foster independence, child received a bowl where the towers were different from their other friends.  For example, one student had two yellow cubes and the other had two red cubes.  

We also sorted our Frog Street Press Frog Counters by small, medium and large frogs.  This activity also lent itself to sorting bear counters on another day that week.  


We introduced the balance during small group math so the students could hypothesize and problem solve which pumpkin or gourd was the heaviest and which was the lightest.  One they understood how it worked, this was moved to the science center for exploration during the week.

We then added teddy bear counters so the students could compare the size and weight of the bears.  
Yes, sometimes they just dumped them in, but that was a teachable moment and we soon realized
that having a teacher sit with them to follow up to guide the conversations was key.


Larger graphs where students use actual objects are great to make in small group and then discuss during circle time.  We leave them up for a few weeks and refer to them as the situation arises.  You can grab FREE Graph Titles for bulletin boards and read more about class graphs  HERE.

After we have worked on several class graphs, children are given the opportunity to make an individual graph.  Using concrete objects is key as most four year old children are not able to  think abstractly.



I use Lakeshore Magnetic Numbers and Counters  as I provide each child with a cookie sheet, addition problem and a bowl of magnetic counters to work out an addition problem.  This activity comes after a great deal of modeling and guided practice.  

For those students who are ready, dry erase boards, Expo markers and seasonal erasers or manipulatives and used during small group math.  We work with a variety of erasers and create word problems to help tell the story that goes along with the number sentence.  



10 Little Rubber Ducks Books is our go to book when introducing ordinal numbers.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears is read to introduce the concept of sorting by size,  We provide an opportunity for children to act out the story with props and then compare the bowls, chairs and beds.  A sorting  activity in Pre-K Math Unit 2: Sorting unit is a great way for me to assess the children.


Reading and comparing fairy tales was part of our scope and sequence.  You can compare any books, have the students illustrate their favorite store and then graph the results.

You can read more about how I run  small group time HERE



Make sure to pin this post for easy reference for planning small group math activities!









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