How to Teach Drawing Ten Frames

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How to teach drawing ten frames is important when asking young students to show their thinking. Ten frames give them the tool to show groupings, place value and composing or decomposing while keeping their drawings organized. It didn’t occur to me {for way too long I’ll admit} that I’d need to explicitly teach how to draw a ten frame.

When I realized students were trying to draw 10 separate boxes, I felt like I needed a big smack on the forehead. Then I began to break down how to draw one into essentially 4 steps. Just the right number of steps for kindergartners!

Teach Junkie: How to Teach Drawing a Ten Frame

How to Teach Drawing a Ten Frame

Step 1. Teach and model how to draw a rectangle. I like to use a sing-songy chant about how to form the lines. Practice makes better, but this first step they usually get pretty fast. Learning how big to draw the rectangle is definitely something to teach explicitly.


Step 2. Draw four dots, {roughly} evenly spaced along the top of the rectangle. I’ve got a few tips up my sleeve on comparing the spacing between dots for students to doors and french fries. This really helps them visualize the spacing as they are working.

Lines are drawn from the dots straight down to the bottom of the rectangle. This forms the 5 columns in the ten frame.


Step 3. Draw two more dots, one on each side of the rectangle. Draw a line to connect the dots, creating the horizontal line and two rows.

How to teach drawing ten frames becomes part of daily instruction and they quickly can do it on their own. Read the rest of this tutorial and get the details on how we start off our year’s math instruction using ten frame as a beginning tool.

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Leslie @KindergartenWorks
Leslie is the author of KindergartenWorks. She teaches kindergarten students how to be pretty incredible along with teaching them to read, write and think for themselves. She enjoys graphic design, learning new things and sharing with teachers.
Leslie @KindergartenWorks

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