Classroom inventory allows them to practice counting strategies. It also gives me information about many facets of their counting skills and number sense. After I pair them up and get them started with objects, blank paper, and clipboards, I meander. I observe, question, prompt, and cross my fingers that someone will invent a useful strategy that must be shared. A simple strategy might simply be moving the objects as they're counted. As soon as I observe something worthwhile like this, I call everyone over to see the strategy in action and be challenged to try it too.
The strategy I'm really looking for is grouping by tens though. Here's a picture of what I found on day two.
Yea! Alex and Hyrum grouped their cubes by tens. I called everyone over to see what they'd done and hear about it too. We dubbed it "The Alex and Hyrum Strategy." It spread like wildfire and by day three, I was seeing this:
I've shared just a taste of what classroom inventory has to offer. If this intrigues you in the least, you should check out this short article about it. It will fill in lots of holes that I just don't have time to talk about. Click on the graphic to get your own copy.
Lastly, I just have to share what Alex wrote on his clipboard when he and Hyrum grouped and counted 194 cubes. He's one smart cookie!