Moving On Before It’s Over (Kindergarten)

This school year isn’t even over yet, but in my role as a Curriculum Coordinator, I’m already starting to look ahead to next school year. I feel like I’m cheating on the current school year, but if I don’t start now, there’s no way I’ll have everything ready when the teachers come back in August.

One of my responsibilities every spring is to analyze our instructional units to determine whether any changes need to be made for the upcoming school year. Over the past several years, I’ve made some pretty drastic changes to our scope and sequence, but each year I feel like it’s been less and less and that we’re settling on a coherent plan that works for our teachers and students.

Now that I’ve been doing this for a few years – and I’m starting to feel like I actually know what I’m doing – I thought I’d share our scope and sequences to give you a sense of what kinds of changes we’ve made over time and what we’re planning for next year. I have no idea whether this will be useful to anyone, but if I don’t share then I’ll never know.

Let’s start with Kindergarten!

Here are our scope and sequences of units for the past three school years. What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Kindergarten – School Year 2015-16


Kindergarten – School Year 2016-17


Kindergarten – School Year 2017-18


Let me explain some of the big changes that have happened over the past few years as well as the rationale behind our scope and sequence.

Kindergarten starts with introducing students to the numbers through 5 and then the numbers through 10. This has been fairly stable over the past few years. At this early part of the year, the focus is on counting, counting, counting and representing, representing, representing. Students come to us with a wide range of abilities. We can’t presume their understanding so we want to ensure everyone has a solid foundation in the first month or so of the school year.

You’ll notice over the past few years that unit 3 on sorting and classifying jumped up from 11 days to 15 days to 25 days. Sorting and classifying are huge verbs in mathematics, and we wanted students to start engaging with them right away via our data and geometry standards. The jump in days came because the unit used to only include 3D figures. We used to introduce 2D figures later in the school year. Now this unit includes both 3D and 2D figures.

We circle back around to numbers to 10 in unit 4. Students continue to count, count, count and represent, represent, represent, but they also start comparing in this unit. This is followed by our measurement unit which extends the concept of comparison as students talk about things being longer or shorter, heavier or lighter, and more full or less full.

During the 2017-18 school year we made it so our addition and subtraction units are back to back, followed by our unit on numbers to 20. This is because the old scope and sequence confused teachers. For the first half of the year students engage with numbers to 10. After winter break, students used to work in a unit where they engaged with numbers to 20, only to encounter a subtraction unit afterward that suddenly said to only focus on numbers to 10 again. Teachers were baffled by this. If students were learning about numbers to 20, then why weren’t they subtracting with numbers to 20 in the next unit? The answer is because our standards explicitly state to add and subtract within 10.

We opted to remove the confusion by putting both the addition and subtraction units before the unit on numbers to 20. That way it maintains a flow of working within 10: They learn to count and represent numbers to 10, compare numbers to 10, and then add/subtract numbers to 10 (in contexts). Finally we extend to numbers to 20. Our unit on numbers to 20 is a long one because it takes the concepts of counting, representing, and comparing and puts them together all in one unit.

The year closes out with two units. The first is our personal financial literacy unit, which introduces skills such as identifying coins by name, identifying ways to earn income, differentiating money received as income vs gifts, listing simple skills required for jobs, and distinguishing between wants and needs.

The second unit to close out the year is our addition and subtraction unit that brings the operations together to give students an opportunity to start having to identify which operation is needed in a given situation. The earlier units focused on working through the language stages of addition and subtraction separately to help students connect those operations to the actions of joining and separating (as per our standards), but at the end of the year we want students to have the opportunity to problem solve and make decisions about whether a given situation involves joining or separating.

These last two units used to be in reverse order, but after some feedback from teachers I changed it for the 2017-18 school year. Basically we ran into an issue where teachers couldn’t give grades on the report card regarding the financial literacy standards because grades were due before they completed that unit. Since addition and subtraction were already introduced earlier in the school year, I moved that to become the final unit so that teachers could teach the entire financial literacy unit before they have to submit report cards.

Kindergarten – School Year 2018-19

I’m pretty happy with the Kindergarten scope and sequence from this school year. I’m going to meet with my Kindergarten curriculum collaborative in a month or so to see if they agree, but I’m not anticipating making any changes for next school year.

You’ll notice that our scope and sequence spends a TON of time on numbers to 10 because that is the focus of our Kindergarten standards. Students do extend these understandings as they work with numbers to 20, but numbers to 20 is actually the focus of the 1st grade standards. You’ll see what I mean in my next post on 1st grade.

One of my primary goals across each grade in grades K-5 is to ensure sufficient instructional time on core concepts for that grade level. I want students who need intervention later on to end up there because they truly aren’t understanding concepts, not because they weren’t given sufficient time to learn during first instruction.

One thing I am trying to decide about for next year is whether I’ll specify spiral review topics throughout the year. Here’s our at-a-glance so you can see how each unit is broken down into three instructional goals – focus TEKS (standards), computational fluency, and spiral review.



In Kindergarten we don’t have spiral review in the fall semester because the math block is only 60 minutes – 50 minutes for core lesson and 10 minutes for computational fluency. In the spring semester we add in 20 minutes of daily spiral review to bring up our math block to 80 minutes daily.

I suggest topics to review during spiral review to help teachers out, but I am afraid that this creates a confusing message. I wholeheartedly want teachers to review the concepts their students need to review. For example, if a teacher knows some students are struggling comparing numbers to 10 in unit 8, then by all means, review that concept rather than sorting and classifying with 2-D and 3-D figures.

The only reason I list topics is to give some guidance to help teachers ensure that topics are coming up again throughout the year. I know from firsthand experience as a classroom teacher that I was often working at the day-to-day or, if I was extremely lucky, the week-to-week level. Now that I’m in a position that allows me to look at the level of the entire year, I try to provide as much guidance as possible for teachers to help them navigate the school year.

Got a question about our scope and sequence? Wondering what in the world I’m thinking about planning things this way? Ask in the comments. I’ll continue with 1st grade’s scope and sequence in my next post.



15 thoughts on “Moving On Before It’s Over (Kindergarten)

  1. Jennifer Denham

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Another coach and I just had full day planning meetings with our Kinder teachers…I wish I would have had this three days ago, before we met with them!! I’m curious about the stamina of the kinder kids in an 80 minute math block, as we would love to encourage a longer math block for our teams next year. Looking forward to seeing how the Scope and Sequence for other grade levels has changed over the years as well. I see that you will be doing 1st grade next. Will you be doing a post about each of the other grade levels after that???

    1. bstockus Post author

      D’oh! Sorry I didn’t write this sooner. 🙂

      Good question about the 80 minutes. We don’t require it all be done in one go. Campuses are free to break that time up throughout the day. As we create lessons, we also look for opportunities to get the students up and moving regularly so we aren’t expecting them to sit for long periods of time, which would be painful for everyone concerned.

      My plan is to write a post about each grade level. Not sure how quickly I’ll be able to write them, but I will keep tackling this blogging project I’ve created for myself.

    2. jessicacheyney

      Hi Jennifer!

      As a kindergarten teacher in RRISD, I find in both the fall (60 minutes) and the spring (80 minutes) go WAY too fast for me! I’m nearly always trickling into the next content area because we just can’t seem to get enough! An hour might sound like a large chunk of time, but, it is completely appropriate when approached with a clear and purposeful plan.

      It is so amazing to see all of the thinking and reasoning a 5/6 year old mind is capable of – I’m so thankful we set aside the time each day to see it!

  2. Jennifer Bell

    Thank you for sharing this! I wish my district had a curriculum coordinator like you to help teacher in planning math for the school year. What math curriculum do you use? I’m a first grade teacher and I’m eagerly awaiting your next post. I’m forever grateful to you in learning about numberless word problems. 😀

    1. bstockus Post author

      Our district adopted a resource called Stepping Stones. The publisher is ORIGO.

      While it’s our adopted resource, we don’t follow it verbatim. My job is to work with teachers to bundle our standards into meaningful units across the school year. Then we bring in lessons and activities that can be used within those units, including the lessons from Stepping Stones.

      Here’s hoping I can get my post about 1st grade written soon! 🙂

      1. Jennifer

        Thank you for the info. Our district adopted Go Math (sigh), but also trained teachers in CGI Math (which I LOVE). District stated that although Go Math was adopted, we could use any math program as long as we are teaching the math standards. My first grade colleagues and I only use CGI Math. I look forward to viewing your first grade document in how you layout the math plans for the school year. THANK YOU FOR ALWAYS SHARING YOUR THINKING AND WORK IN PROVIDING MEANINGFUL MATHEMATICS FOR STUDENTS (AND TEACHERS TOO)!

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  7. Patricia Buys

    Thank you for sharing this with us! It is very helpful to see how your pacing guides change over time and to hear why you made specific changes. This is my second year as a math coach and I am beginning to do this kind of scope and sequence work with my teachers. I am wondering if you include decomposing numbers in different ways in your first two units (counting and representing numbers to 5 and 10). Do you incorporate 1 and 2 More/Less into your addition and subtraction units? At what point in the kindergarten year do you think it is appropriate to incorporate counting collections?

    1. bstockus Post author

      Hi! It’s my pleasure. I’m happy if these blog posts help others doing similar work get to see how others are doing it.

      To answer your first question, we start working on composing and decomposing numbers up to 10 starting in unit 2 and then it continues in every unit for the rest of the year as either a focus standard or as a computational fluency standard. To me it’s one of the most critical standards of the entire grade level.

      To answer your second question, we incorporate one more and one less in our number units rather than our addition and subtraction units. I see the purpose of the standard for students to understand the number sequence with enough familiarity that they can name nearby numbers (one more or less) without having to start the count from 1. In our addition and subtraction units, the focus is on joining and separating situations, which might involve adding on 1 more or removing 1, but the bigger idea is building the language of addition and subtraction. Does that make sense? (By the way, I didn’t mention 2 more or 2 less because those aren’t explicitly in our state standards, but I’d still put that with our number units.)

      And to answer your final question, we suggest starting counting collections in unit 1. It’s a great time to start teaching the routine. It also provides wonderful formative assessment information to the teacher about what students come to Kindergarten knowing about counting. Collections this early in the year may be very small, but the teacher can differentiate by providing larger collections to students who are ready for them.

      Let me know if you have any additional questions. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and questions!

      1. Patricia Buys

        Wow! Thank you for your thorough response! It makes perfect sense to me and is very helpful! I’m so glad I asked!

        I have a question regarding your ‘comparing quantities within 10’ unit. What types of activities are included here? I am thinking that students are sorting objects by color or size and then counting to compare which group has more/less. Counting Collections could come into play if they are comparing the size of two small collections. This is also a time when students could be working on 1 or 2 More/Less as they compare.

        We started using Eureka Math this year and there was just way too much in each lesson to possibly accomplish (not to mention too many lessons to realistically fit in)! We pulled away from following the lessons in K-2. This allowed us to SLOW down and really focus on the major clusters. Seeing how much time you spend on each major cluster has helped me to have a vision for what the pacing guides will look like for us next year.

        One last question regarding counting collections… how often are students working on these? They are new to me this year but the students are completely engaged and there is so much they can learn about counting, grouping, representing, and place value that can be learned through this activity! It’s powerful!

        Thank you in advance,
        Tricia Buys

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