Lesson plan

I Spy Counting practise

Engage students in counting through fun "I Spy" activities! Students gain fluency counting and recording numbers to 30.
Need extra help for EL students? Try thePenny Toss!Pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try thePenny Toss!Pre-lesson.

Students will be able to count within 30.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
I Spy with Jack and the Beanstalk
  • Ask students to look around the room and find something red. Instruct students to put their hands on their head when they've found an object, but not to say the name of the object aloud.
  • When everyone has their hands on their head, have students share the objects they found. Write the names of each object on the board, with check marks next to objects that are mentioned more than one time.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that you are going to count how many red objects students saw. Tell students that you are not going to count the check marks because you're not counting how many people saw each object, just how many red objects there are in the classroom.
  • Count the objects students saw. Write numbers (1, 2, 3...) next to the words as you count.
  • Now tell students you are going to count yellow objects in the classroom. Write down the names of each object you see, then number them.
  • Explain that writing down the names of the objects you find helps you make sure you don't count an object twice. Writing numbers helps to make sure you count the objects correctly.
(15 minutes)
  • Hand out paper and a clipboard to each pair of students. Tell students that they are going to search for all the green objects in the classroom.
  • Have students find and record the names of all the green objects in the classroom. After they've found as many objects as possible, tell students to number and count the objects on their list.
  • Call the students back together and have them share how many green objects they counted.
(20 minutes)
  • Hand out the Jack and the Beanstalk Counting Exercise worksheets.
  • Have students find the objects on the worksheet and write the appropriate numbers.
  • If students finish early, they can come up with a classroom "I Spy" challenge for a partner (e.g. find the circles, find the animals, find the orange objects).


  • Have students work with a partner to complete the worksheet.
  • Have students reference a number chart when writing numbers.


  • Have students draw their own "I Spy" pages.
  • Have students work with numbers greater than 30.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to explain how they kept track of the objects they counted on their worksheets,
  • Have students actively listen to their peers and compare their strategies to the ones that are shared.
(5 minutes)
  • Call on a couple students to share "I Spy" classroom counting problems for their peers to solve.

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