Ordinal numbers are amongst the first set of number skills that I teach at the beginning of each year. They are numbers that describe an object’s place and thankfully students tend to catch on this concept fairly quickly. I love incorporating multiple ways to engage my kiddos and read alouds, skill practice, and daily review help ensure that they are working with these skills each day and work towards mastery.
Here’s how I introduce ordinal numbers with my students!
Bringing reading into the fold is one of my favorite ways to introduce a new skill. These are a few of my favorite storybooks that help students recognize that ordinal numbers are found all over the place. I also love a reason to read a good book with my kids! Plus, Pinterest has a million ideas on how to incorporate these books into large and small group math activities.
Do you have any books that you love to teach ordinal numbers?
Large Group Instruction
I always use these manipulative cards as a means to introduce ordinal numbers. I love that I can use these cards in multiple ways afterwards, too! Typically I place these cards on the board and ask my kids what they notice about them. They’ll give answers that range from, “They’re in a line” or they’ll notice some kind of pattern (which is another way you can use these character cards!).
From there I lead them into a discussion about how when placed in a line each character card holds a specific place. Beginning with the line leader in first place and so on until I (or the class) labels each place. This way they are exposed to the word and numerical form that ordinal numbers can be recorded.
We’re going on a number hunt!
I love using scavenger hunts in my classroom whether it’s in a reading or math center. Getting kids up and moving (quietly) around the room keeps them engaged and completely immersed in their learning all throughout center time.
I simply print both the word and numerical form cards, laminate, then hide them all around the room. Then, during center time students use the recording sheet to locate each card and write the ordinal number on their sheet. This demonstrates that they recognize and can write each form of the ordinal number. This center is perfect for the entire week and, again, can be reused throughout the year or in small groups for remedial practice.
Because who doesn’t like a poster?
I love providing my students with resources displayed in the classroom. It teaches them that the answers, or at the very least a little help, can be found right in front of them! These ordinal number cards can be placed anywhere around your room and be used yearlong.
This year I’ve added the circular floor cards that I laminate and tape to the floor where my students line up. Instead of using electrical tape as a marker, I use these dots to mark the place for each child. That way there is a time for daily skill practice for each child to recognize ordinal numbers in everyday life AND it doubles as classroom management. ;)
A small group or center activity that is a popular one are these ordinal number cards and clothespins. Each clothespin has the matching word form written on them and students must clip them to the correlating numerical form on each card. This is just another way students can independently practice recognizing and matching ordinal numbers.
Another tool I love using are these Do-A-Dot paints and they make these number hunts a lot of fun. I have ordinal numbers 1-10 and students must highlight both the numerical and word form found on the page. This activity can easily be independent practice, review, or even an activity for students who finish an assignment early!
Getting hands-on with our learning!
Using both unifix cubes and those wooden shapes, students select 10 and line them up. Then they use that to help answer and demonstrate their understanding of ordinal numbers!
I love using these resources during my ordinal numbers unit because it allows my kids to discover, engage, understand what ordinal numbers are and how we use them in everyday life.
How do you introduce and teach ordinal numbers in your classroom? What is your favorite tool or resource?