Choral Counting Connections
Are you ever overwhelmed by the amount of content that you need to teach? Fortunately, you can use choral counting to accomplish many of the goals you have for your students. Choral counting can be used to review concepts, go deeper in depth, view concepts from multiple perspectives, and build connections. It can make typically confusing concepts easier to discover and discuss. For this Teaching One Moore Monday, let’s look at a few ways to use choral counting in your classroom to accomplish multiple goals.
Made into equal rows of 4
3 6 9 12
15 18 21 24
27 30 33 36
39 42 45 48
51 54 57 60
63 66 69 72
Made into equal rows of 5
3 6 9 12 15
18 21 24 27 30
33 36 39 42 45
First, decide what you are going to count by 3’s, 10, 1000’s, 12’s,etc. Every number choice has value that’s just waiting to be explored. Will you count by 3’s starting with 3 or will you count by 2’s starting with 10, for example?
After you have decided on a number to count by, test it out. A pattern will always show up if you have an equal amount of numbers in each row. However, make sure you write it out first, because some patterns take longer to show up than others. In addition, there can be some interesting mathematics discussions that come out based on the number selected. See the example above.
Once you have decided what numbers you will count by, make sure you have a counting strategy discussion with students before you start to count together. For example, if you are going to choral count by 10, starting with the number 900 say, “How can we figure out what number will come next?” The key phrase is “How can we figure out the next number?” Not “What is the next number? By making that simple word choice you go from asking students to know the answer to thinking about the process (more thinking more language).
Ask students to stop and consider multiple ways to figure out the next number. Say, “If you can think of one way, can you think of 2 or 3?” To encourage think time, you might say, “Show me with your fingers how many ways you can think, not with your words.” Did you know that by simply adding a few more seconds of silent think time after asking a question, the length of student responses increases 300% to 700% ? This is in addition to many other positive effects What?!
After students have had some think time, ask them to turn and talk to their partners. This allows ideas to spread like wildfire. The discussions are so much richer based on the “how” question you posed versus the “what” question. Students spend their time discussing their thinking as opposed to stating a number. This student to student conversation is an opportunity to practice academic language, empower students, and create a safe environment for learning.
After a few minutes, share out students’ ideas with the whole class. Record these ideas on the board next to the chart so that students have a strategy to refer to in case they get stuck while counting.
Then, it’s time to count. Some students will want to count too fast, but this is a group activity that is best done together.
900 910 920 930 940
950 960 970 980 990
1,000 1,010 1,020 1,030 1,040
What do you notice?
What do you predict will go on this ____ spot? Let’s continue the count to verify your prediction.
Highlight all that your students see using different colored markers.
What academic vocabulary might you introduce or review based on this choral count?
Students can see relationships between numbers in choral counting as additive and/or multiplicative. We can use these relationships to pose equations. We can make the connection between counting and equations explicit.
12 24 36 48 60
72 84 96 108 120
132 144 156 168 `180
Connect to Additive Equations
Ask “How can we use the chart to help us balance the equations?” Again, allow for some quiet think time (no voice overs allowed).
12 + 12 + 12 +12 = ____
84 = 60 + _____
24 + 36 = ____ + 48
What new equations can you create using the above chart?
Connect to Multiplicative Equations
5 x 12 = _____
60/12 = ____
48 = ____ x 4
7 x 12 = ____ + (5 x 12)
What multiplicative equations can you create using the chart?
Connect to Language
Facility with language and the use of Standard English is a gateway to higher education in the United States. How are you supporting your students’ use of language in an academic setting?
What academic language can you layer on with the above choral count (ones place, tens place, increase by, factors, column, row)? The possibilities are endless!
Choral counting can even be used to make connections to measurement. This counting by 12 chart allows students to convert between inches, feet, and yards!
How will you make connections
with choral counting in your classroom?
I am always happy to hear from you.
Send me an email at
and tell me what you’re up to. Make sure you share this with your friends.
for more resources.