Progressions in early number and counting, addition and subtraction

Take a look at these great videos by Graham Fletcher (who I have mentioned before in the blog posts about 3 Act Tasks).  He’s created several short videos highlighting the progression in key areas.  I’ve posted the ones for ‘Early Number and Counting’ as well as ‘Addition and Subtraction’ below.  Although this is based on the US system, you’ll notice that there is a huge cross over to what is being discussed here and what is highlighted within the Highland Numeracy Progression.

Remember to keep in mind as well that these are stages of development so you may have a child who is in P6 or P7 who is still working at one of the earlier stages, if they don’t spend the time fully understanding the concepts that underpin future learning, they are going to struggle so keep it relevant for the pupils you are working with.  (If you want to draw comparisons to our Primary levels and the US grade system, you can use this document here.)

While you’re watching, try and reflect on a few key points:

  • Where/how does this link with HNP, the diagnostic assessments and the developmental stages of thinking?
  • Are there hands on materials in your setting that could be used to develop conceptual understanding of these concepts?
  • Can you identify times when he is using a hands on manipulative (concrete material) and then creating a visual representation of this using a visual diagram?  Why do you think this would be useful for pupils?
  • Can you identify how the hands on manipulatives have been adapted/progressed?  For example, items that can be unpacked in ones then moving on to items that need an exchange to happen i.e. one ten exchanged for ten ones.

Graham has another three progression videos (multiplication, division and fractions) that you might want to take a look at.  I’ll be posting more about these in another blog post as I feel they are worth watching and link in really well with the ideas around teaching maths and numeracy that we are trying to promote however, if you can’t wait for the next post, you can go to the site here and watch them now.


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