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Assessing Sequencing Numbers

Alignments to Content Standards: K.CC.A


The teacher will need numeral cards 1–10 and 11–20.

This task can be used with a single student or a small group of students. Each student needs his or her own set of numeral cards.

The teacher asks student(s) to put the numbers in order from the smallest number to the biggest number or in the order they would say them if they were counting. Next, students read the numbers in their arranged order (one student at a time). The teacher records each student’s sequence. Students who have numerals out of order may be able to self-correct as they read what they have done. This, too, should be noted.

If students are able to sequence 1–10, trade sets with them so they have only the 11–20 cards. Use the process described above to have students order the cards and read their results, again, recording the responses. To be clear, some students will have a 1–10 set of cards and other students will have a 11–20 set. This lets students struggling with 1–10 to practice and lets the teacher gather information on those students ready for the "teen" numbers.

IM Commentary

  • Students may be able to identify numbers in sequence although they missed those numbers when randomly posed. (See K.CC Assessing Reading Numbers). They still need additional instruction with those numerals.

  • The goal is for students to be able to identify numbers when they are given numerals in random order. Identification of numerals when they are sequenced does not necessarily indicate facility with reading numbers because the sequence of the numbers offers students support for identification.


The student should be able to sequence the set of cards from 1–10 or use the oral counting sequence when prompted to “read them” to correct the sequence on his or her own.

Students may have a hard time starting the “teen” sequencing task from 11. In this case you could give the student the 10 card from the first part of the task as a new starting point, or, if that is not enough support, give them the whole set from 1–20. Ultimately students should be able to sequence a group of numbers from various starting points so make a note if a student is unable to do so.

sbaldrid says:

almost 6 years

To improve this task, give a blank "number path" to each student and ask them to fill in the number path with number cards in correct order (the blank number path is a sequence of adjoined squares, each square the size of any of the cards). The blank "number path" turns this activity into a puzzle (something kids love), gives needed structure to the directions given to the students, and most importantly, introduces the number path. The blank number path establishes at the very beginning the important idea of counting adjoined units (squares), which is getting closer to the idea of a number line and length. Without the number path, it is very likely that students will put uneven spaces between each card, turning this activity into one about simple choral counting (the ABC song) and recognizing symbols.

The directions in the fourth paragraph are a bit unusual: why make the 11-20 cards disjoint from cards 1-10? (The directions seem to indicate that the numbers 1-10 are one counting system and that the numbers 11-20 are a completely different counting system altogether.) Again, this could be improved by letting students write in the numbers 1-10 on their the number path (or, if they cannot write numbers yet, a new number path is given to them with numbers 1-10 already written in but blank for 11-20), the teacher exchanges the student's 1-10 cards for cards 11-20 and then asks the student to extend their number path from 1-10 to 1-20 by filling in the 11-20 blanks on the number path.