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  • Mrs G

One to One Correspondence

One to one correspondence is a valuable skill in the world of math. It is the foundation for counting, addition, subtraction and pretty much all number sense skills. Without mastery of one to one correspondence, students cannot achieve higher level math tasks such as how to multiply fractions. Having your child memorize a counting sequence is totally meaningless unless they understand that each of those numbers represents a value. So, it is likely you will see many IEP goals written about one to one correspondence.


One to one correspondence is a fancy way of saying: learning to count objects by acknowledging that each one has a value. You can slide them from one pile to another or tap them individually.

How to Teach One to One Correspondence

The nice part is, you can use anything to teach and practice this skill. At home with my preschooler, food is a favorite. Cheerios, carrots, pretzel sticks, you name it we count it. In the classroom, I also like to keep it interesting I have a jar of rando “cool” things kids have found/given me/left in my classroom over the years (you can see my JAR and the tools I made to use with it here). An abacus or homemade abacus of beads on a pipe cleaner taped to card stock work perfectly.

I also incorporate practice into everyday life by carefully phrasing my conversations with students. For example, I ask my students to put one arm in one coat sleeve when we line up for lunch.

Example IEP Goal

I like to keep special education jargon low and accessibility of information high! We have to be fancy in IEPs because… well… lawyers. But, when you break it down, it is actually simple. Here is an example of an IEP goal you might see for one to one correspondence:

Sample IEP Goal: Provided with ten objects, student will count the objects using one to one correspondence and verbalize the correct total number with 80% accuracy in 3 of 5 trials as measured by teacher data.

You can read more about how I break down math concepts in my classroom here. If there is a term in your students IEP that you are not clear on, be sure to speak up! Your team can help!


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