# When to Teach Math Standards in Kindergarten

Let’s talk about when you should teach each of the math standards in kindergarten. Your curriculum guide may have it all laid out for you, but if it doesn’t or if you teach using a guided math format you may need to decide this for yourself.

To help make this easier – let’s first cover which standards are most important (and which ones aren’t) so we aren’t wasting precious instructional time.

I’m also going to share every math standard listed by quarters and a printable version of this list – so you can see how math standards can progress across an entire year of kindergarten.

## Math standards that are a big deal in kindergarten

Not every standard is created equal. As teachers, we have to decide where to focus our instructional time so we get the most bang for our buck.

Here are the standards that I think make the biggest overall impact on a kindergarten student’s ability to develop a strong mathematical foundation in school.

• Counting objects one-to-one
• Composing and decomposing numbers 11-19 using tens and ones
• Counting orally
• Making 5 and 10
• Subitizing numbers 1-9 (especially 1-5)

You can disagree with my list if you want. But after years of teaching students in small groups – working on these skills is what I’ve seen develop the best math thinkers.

Now please understand – these are just the core version of the standards. There is a lot that goes into each one. But if I have to choose where to spend my time teaching, I’ll pick these every time.

You should know that “subitizing numbers” isn’t spelled out as a standard. But it is crucial for young students to learn to do addition, subtraction and a lot more successfully.

Check out this set of free subitizing activities. It is one of my favorite resources that I use to plan many of my small group math lessons – especially at the beginning of the year.

## Standards that are not as important

When it comes right down to it, some kindergarten standards aren’t nearly as important. The reason is is that they are more limited in scope. They aren’t as jam-packed and can’t go as “deep.”

In my opinion, this includes:

• 2D and 3D shapes
• measuring and comparing

I’m not saying that I skip these standards. In fact, I’ve got lots of ideas on how to teach 2D and 3D shapes.

But I am saying that these standards a “fluffier” and are easier to cover whole-group in a mini-lesson, or in small amounts of time and don’t generally need entire lessons devoted to them. Seriously.

## Standards for each quarter

Here are our kindergarten math standards as they were planned out into nine-week quarters, though some quarters had 10 weeks.

Some standards are repeated and others are broken down into sub-parts since mastery takes place over a longer period of time.

You can also think of this list as a math standards scope and sequence master list for kindergarten.

### 1st quarter standards

This set of math standards usually covered our school calendar from mid-August to mid-October.

### 2nd quarter standards

This set of math standards usually covered our school calendar from mid-October to Christmas break.

### 3rd quarter standards

This set of math standards usually covered our school calendar from returning from Christmas break to mid-March.

### 4th quarter standards

This set of math standards usually covered our school calendar from mid-March to mid- to late-May.

We didn’t limit ourselves to only teach these standards in these quarters. When students were ready to move on, we did!

### Printable version

Here is a printable version of these standards. Print them out and lay them side by side to really get a good understanding of how each standard grows in difficulty or abstraction over the year.

If you want help planning what standards to focus on then try this with your printed version:

Highlight a handful of standards from each quarter you think are the most important. These will become the main focus of your small group math instruction for those nine weeks of instruction.

Then find creative ways to hit the other standards you didn’t highlight, but with less time and effort dedicated for mastery. Think about using games, warm-up activities or mini-lessons.

Tuck your highlighted standards list into your lesson plan binder so it’s always at your fingertips and use it to plan your math lessons.

## Let’s wrap it up

I hope that, if you need to know when to teach specific math standards, this list can help.

Remember to cover the standards that go the deepest to strengthen your kinders’ math thinking to get the most out of your math lessons.

Want to know more about teaching math standards like these in small groups? I’ve got your back with this ultimate guide on how to start guided math in kindergarten.