Organic Number Line!

Hey friends!  Tomorrow is the first day back for us for the week!  We had off Labor Day and today was professional development!  We received training in Math in Focus- Everyday Counts Calendar!  I will be starting it too and will share as we get it started 🙂

My dear husband helped me get my organic number line started so I wanted to share it with y’all! The idea behind the organic number line comes from the Number Sense Routines book!  Click below to view that book.

I blogged about the organic number line this summer!  Here is a little from that! 🙂

Organic number line is something I heard about mid-year last year.  I didn’t have an opportunity to start it right off so I’m excited for that this year!  The idea behind an organic number line is that students help build it and because of that they have a connection and understanding to the number line.  I am guilty of having all kinds of fun and cute “stuff” in my classroom.  I usually get to a point where I explain each item and its purpose to my students.  However, haven’t we all been guilty of a student questioning what we use/how we use something displayed in the classroom.  With this “organic” number line the students are involved with 100% of it’s making.  

The book begins describing the organic number line as best for older grade students working with fractions.  However, our young students stand to benefit from it as well.  It is completely up to the teacher as how to set up the number line.  
Here are some ideas for setting up your display:

To set this packet up like a number sense display you have a couple of options- place magnets on the back and display on a whiteboard/chalkboard, or  you could hang a rope/string and have the number sense display attach to that!

 This display is like not like an ordinary number line. Basically, you will add to it as you teach the concepts.  There is no reason to confuse our students with information that makes no sense to them at the time.  Place only the items you have covered and add the others as they are introduced. 

At the beginning of the year you may only have just the numbers, but towards middle-end of the year you will have all concepts added.  Tips: when placing the numbers on the number sense display invite the children to help you do this.  Have them decide where the numbers should go- possibly starting with 1 and 20….then have students decide where the numbers in the middle would go. 

Also, make the number sense display in a visible location within the classroom.  I like to have mine in an eye level spot where if needed my students can approach the display as a resource. 
Make this number sense display with for YOU!

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Here are some more snap shots of my organic number line!

We purchased the twine, hooks, and clothes pins from Dollar Tree.  My husband hung the twine from the hooks and we placed a hook in the center to help support.  He tied the knots for the individual numbers loose so that I can move them around if necessary {ie. add more numbers that 20 later on}.  I then clothes pinned the number to each line.  I was having an issue with the individual line swinging around so I placed a piece of tape at the end down by the floor.  I’m sure you smart friends have lots of better ideas!  If so please feel free to share them! 🙂  I placed these initial “one” cards on here to show you how it works.  I will remove them and add them to the line with the help of my students.  We will decide together the most important ways we see to represent the number.  There are several options inside the packet available for you!  I attached each card to the twine with masking tape {again, you might find an easier way to do that as well!}

ALL of the cards needed for the organic number line can be found in the packet below!  

Have a great week friends!!!


  1. I started my organic number line focusing on 0 and moving on to 1 last week. We are focusing on the number 2 this week. I have the numbers 1-10 up now, and spaces for 11-20. We add a few pieces each day, I am also trying to focus on the vocabulary, the #1 is the "symbol", One is the "word", etc. The best part is building it together and revisiting it through out the day.

  2. L-O-V-E!!!!! What a fabulous idea! I bought the book this summer but haven't read it yet. Thanks for the info–I am sure the packet will be going into my cart soon (I already have half your store I think, so what is a little more??) Happy back to school time!

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