If I had the power, I would invent nine new English words to replace nine standard English words.
- Oneten-one to replace the word, "eleven"
- Oneten-two to replace the word, "twelve"
- Oneten-three to replace the word, "thirteen"
- Oneten-four to replace the word, "fourteen"
- Oneten-five to replace the word, "fifteen"
- Oneten-six to replace the word, "sixteen"
- Oneten-seven to replace the word, "seventeen"
- Oneten-eight to replace the word, "eighteen"
- One-ten-nine to replace the word, "nineteen"
(If I were allowed to banish only four number words, they would be "eleven," "twelve," "thirteen," and "fifteen." That is to say, I could live with fourteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen. Those words don't obscure the underlying numerical meaning as much as the others do.)
Next week's focus in math will be teaching the teens. We'll play games with teens, build block buildings with a 15 blocks, do some arts and crafts projects involving the teens. And sadly, still, at the end of the week, some students will be confused about the teens.
Right now about a third of the class cannot count from 1 to 20 without making errors. It's very very common to hear kids skip 15. That's because once they arrive at FOURteen they think they're home free. They hear that "four" in fourteen and go straight to SIXteen, SEVENteen, EIGHTteen, and NINEteen. I suppose this would not happen if fifteen were given its natural name, FIVEteen.
By the way, the word, "teen" means ten. So, you know, seventeen is trying to say "seven and ten"—with a weird accent.
Parents, please, please help your child. Help your child learn to count out loud (by rote) to 20 without making a mistake. For many children this takes lots of practice. If they're skipping 15, help them. Fill in the fifteen if they're skipping it. Encouragement in the key. Remember, INDIVIDUAL practice is how your child will get from here to there. I've got 28 students in class, so it's difficult for me to provide your child the individual practice he or she may really need.
Also help your child learn to recognize the teens by sight. The activities we're doing next week will be stressful for the students who look at 16 and have no idea what it is and what it means.
When you point to 13, can your child say, "thirteen"? Students who can count aloud to 20 and who can recognize the teens by sight will get a whole lot more understanding out of next week's activities than the students who cannot.
Thanks in advance for your help...and remember, keep it fun. Frustration and tears interfere with learning.