Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Wash Day with Numbers

Linda Johns


Students show the real-life skill of hanging up wash with clothespins, after enjoying a book that sets the stage. Students then match and sequence numerals by 10's.(If successful, move on to same skill but by 5's.)


The student counts orally to 100 or more by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s using a hundred chart or concrete materials.


-One boa, either a toy, beanbag, puppet, or cut out photo ( bean bag works best because you can wrap it around clothesline, and it slides down easily)

-Simple, soft, vinyl clothesline

-Laundry basket

-Clothes pins (not clip kind), numbered 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 (two each)

-Clothes items (use all one shape, like shirts) numbered in front with the same numbers counting by 10s.

-A copy of book or filmstrip of THE DAY JIMMY'S BOA ATE THE WASH by Trinka Hakes Noble, illus. by Steven Kellogg, Penguin Putman Books for Young Readers, 1980.


1. Cut out ten doll-sized shirts of fabric or paper.

2. Write a large number 10 on the first one. Continue numbering the shirts with 20 -100 by 10's. (You may switch to a different shaped laundry for 5-100 by 5ís when doing the extension.)

3. Get a laundry basket.

4. Get clothespins (the slip kind) and mark 2 each numbers 10-100 by 10s (another set 5-100 by 5s for the extension).

5. String a clothesline across the corner of the room.

6. Obtain the book or filmstrip THE DAY JIMMY'S BOA ATE THE WASH.

7. Familiarize yourself with the story and what questions for pre-discussions you want the children to answer.


Note: This lesson satisfies part of the GLE selected. See the extensions section for further information on satisfying the entire GLE.

1. Introduce discussion as to -Who has done laundry at home? How do you hang up wet clothes? What does a, clothespin looks like? What kind of snake is a boa? How many of you have been on a field trip by bus? How many of you have visited a chicken farm?-

2. Read the book or show the filmstrip -The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash- by Trinka Hakes Noble, illus. by Steven Kellogg.

3. Have a pre-hung clothesline; a laundry basket filled with shirts (I cut simple doll clothes type shirts) labeled 10-100 by 10's, and a box of clothespins (2 each) labeled 10-100 by 10s.

4. Pass each child 1 shirt and 2 clothespins. Makes sure all 3 items are a different number. (This assures each child 3 turns at coming up out of the audience.)

5. Write 10-100 by 10s on the board in sequence as a guide.

6. Call out -Who has shirt 10? Come on down. Who has clothespin 10? Come on down. Work as a team and hang your wash up.-

7. Do this for the 20 through 100 until the clothesline is full.

8. Have class recite orally the numbers as you move the toy boa down the line to each shirt.

9. Then choose different teams to -take down- a numbered wash. This time mix up the numbers to see if they remembered the numbers correctly.


1. Students should be observed participating in the discussion, working as a team to hang up the correct coordinating laundry and clothespins in sequence.

2. Students should be observed working cooperatively to hang the laundry up correctly and with matching numbers.

3. When calling out random numbers, not in sequence, students should be observed having recall skills to recognize the correct numbered laundry.

4. Their cooperative learning will be in teams of three.


1. You can bring out laundry that is counting by 1s, 5s, and 2s depending on the abilities of the students.

2. For ESOL students, the laundry shapes can be that of serapes and shawls for Spanish children, hats and suspenders for German children, and other culture appropriate clothing.
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