Archive for August 19th, 2010

Tally Marks and Guided Math

Posted on August 19, 2010. Filed under: Differentiated Instruction, Elementary math, Guided math, Guided Math Introduction, Math Centers, Math Picture Books | Tags: , |

Tallies: A special way to skip count by 5’s:

Building Conceptual Understanding: As a mini-lesson to introduce counting by tally marks  I read Tally O’Malley When introducing tallies, I have the children come up in groups and they count off. Every fifth student makes their arms like a tally mark across the other 4. We pull numbers or roll a big number or dotted die to decide which number we will make. The children have great fun and they are getting to see, feel and experience the tally first hand.

After this, we begin to practice toothpick tallies. First we do it in partners and then we do it individually.  In partners, one person rolls and the other person counts out the toothpicks and represents them as tallies. The partner has to agree or disagree. They then glue down what they have decided is the correct representation of that number.  They take turns playing this game for several rounds.   After they play in  groups,  they start to work individually.  I differentiate the whole process by giving different pairs and inidividuals different number ranges to represent. Finally, we play this same game, but we do it by drawing the tallies with crayons. The fifth tally is always represented by a different color, whether with toothpicks or drawings.

Practicing on the Pictorial and Abstract Level: We sing the tally song for reinforcement (see Mrs. Jones Tally song- we make up our own tune)   See examples of tally mark cards on Enchanted Learning. You can make your own or sign up for membership and download them from this site. I have found this site to be worth the $20  dollar investment each year ( )  Another idea can be found here (   I also download these tally dominos and have the students match the number to the corresponding domino.  I also have the students play comparing games with them.

Tally Mark Resources: See the template below for a great way to practice procedural fluency. The children each have a template and they take turns rolling and tallying until someone finishes (

Other Tally Mark Links

You should do some sort of tally chart for your daily routine.  For example you could tally the amount of teeth lost every month or any other data that students decide to collect. has some great templates for this …see

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