Monday, December 7, 2015

Crazy Counting Sets, Groups and Arrays

The CCSS through around the terms "group" with "set" and "array," and I noticed that I did not frequently use those terms in instruction, and consequently neither did my students. A work around for these terms, as well as the skills that come with counting a set or array of objects is summarized in a little game our class is calling Crazy Count.

First, this game is modeled by the teacher during a math talk. Next it becomes a small group center at the SMARTboard and finally can become independent practice using SMART Notebook software on our student's iPads. It is also really useful for students to play in a partner setting to compare different routes or paths of counting the objects which all arrive at the same total.

The directions are simple. Students count each object by writing a numeral inside of it. To differentiate for students who struggle with numerals, have them write a dot or an X to show it was counted. Count all objects and write the total. Partner 2 comes up and counts the same set in a different way. Circle the total that Partner 1 wrote if you agree with that number. Or, since good counters always go back and count again, recount the set and find a total you both agree on.

Here is what the game looks like, using images from SMART Technologies. 

After establishing rules about taking turns and using the SMARTboard appropriately, students are really motivated to get up and play.

Here is an example of student work. The objective is arriving at the same total through different paths, boosting flexibility in my student's thinking before we tackle our addition unit next month.

There are numbers in each object and students are using the word "total" with one another while working through these sets. All in all, a great day in math for us!

Have you noticed how some students can be rigid in their counting skills? What activities do you do to boost flexibility in their mathematical thinking?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Padlet to Share Writing

My students used the app Feltboard to write speech bubbles for the stuffed animals they brought in from home. I share out 1 or 2 projects each unit using padlet, so students can read one another's work and families can read their writing as well. Padlet is free when you sign up, and although Feltboard is not, this is a really efficient and accessible way to boost student's writing by augmenting their audience.

Please check out our work here, and more will come next week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Math Talk: Frames

Five and ten frames are everywhere, but my students' previous connection to them was always contrived. They used a five frame or ten frame only because I asked them to, not because it was an authentic counting tool. This year, I changed it up. Here is a math talk our team is using as a precursor to the 5/10 frame counting tool.

First, I showed this picture frame. Name this object? They said picture frame. We decided to frame our faces with our fingers as a signal for "picture frame." This is supposed to be fun! A hook to reel them in...

Next, we saw an empty five frame. I explained, "This is a row of frames, just like picture frames. Is it empty or full?" They yelled, "empty!!" Our hand signal for empty is a closed fist in front of our chests.

Then, a full five frame. I explained, "This is a full row. Show me full!" Our hand signal is an open hand, palm facing out.

We practiced the signals and saying the words echo-style. (I say, they say).

Then, quiz time! They practiced a context for frames using picture frame, empty and full hand signals in a simple Keynote presentation I made. We'll repeat tomorrow. The next steps include playing silently ("Voices Off") and using hand signals only to identify picture frame, empty five frame and full five frame and ultimately exploring what happens to the frame when it isn't quite empty and isn't quite full as with quantities of 1-4. I hope to report back on if this mini-lesson series helped contextualize this tool with my students. Let me know if you try it and it works for you! Are there any other tips or tricks that work well using this tool?

Hand signal fluency offers comprehensible input and participation using receptive language if students aren't yet ready to use expressive language (Shy kids, ELLs, kids who need lots of exposure to a concept)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Anchor Chart/Math Talk: Place Value

Here is a glimpse of our Math Talks for this week, all centered around the new Place Value unit we are starting. From my understanding, students have to identify numerals in the tens and ones places in two-digit numbers. Additionally, we are asking them to visualize the quantity of a given numeral and describe it. Not too long ago, we were simply trying not to mix up numerals 2 and 5. This is a huge task that is "new" to the grade level thanks to CCSS. We also talk a lot about what the numbers we know well represent, or stand for. Tricky stuff for children to conceptualize!

Here is about how the story goes. The Number House has a place for all our numbers, but we noticed 2 doors. One door is tall and one door is short. The tall is for the "groups of ten" and the shorter is for the "extras," or "ones." We've named them as such because they are not a full group of 10, and therefore qualify for the tens place. Any number can go into the house, but they have to use the correct door. We explore

This language comes from our daily calendar routine, or math meeting. We count the school days on a base-ten style board. It helps students understand that full groups have 10, and are moved to the next "place." More on that to come soon!

Screenshot of our Place Value Day of School Count, using SMART Notebook

As for the math talk, our number house is a very fine number house, and paired with the student's previous understanding during calendar time will go over just fine. How do you introduce, explain or extend place value in your EC classroom?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

3-D Shape Showcase

This year, I found many students struggled to name basic shapes, both 2-D and 3-D. This is a standard for our grade level but not a focus standard so I tried something new that would help them identify the shapes. Our next step after naming real world shapes is describing them by their attributes. This project helped students learn a new app, practice organize shapes in space and produce a product they can use along the way as a resource tool. We used Pic Collage to make a 3-D Shape Showcase, but really it is like a personal math word wall. Their products are below, but thanks to Kristi Meeuwse over at iTeach with iPads who is a constant source of ideas and reassurance for me in my 1:1 iPad Kindergarten classroom here outside Chicago. No shout out is quite big enough for this amazing educator!

Did you notice words aren't spelled quite right? Not a problem since the objective of this lesson is to increase the student's oral language not written language, specifically with the labeled words above. Can't spell sphere but can identify one and describe it as a solid shape with no corners? A+ in my book! Also another example of how technology helps make this product accessible to students of all skill levels. 

Resources came from a 3-D Shape Hunt the students were assigned for homework. Thanks to all our families who did an amazing job with this piece at home!

-Molly Mac and Class

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Shapes Activity

Hi all,

 This week we are working toward the K.G CCSS standards, and a pre-assessment showed me many students cannot name the basic shapes (!). To explore shapes and practice talking about their attributes, we used the tangram game on a beloved website, Then, students worked in pairs and trios to help their "teams" recreate the shape on their Tangrams app on their iPads. They were about as engaged as a teacher could want with a puzzle like this, but their conversations were the real best part. 

"I noticed two triangles connected make a diamond."
"You have to rotate the square so it's like a rhombus."
"Slanted lines come from when you spin it."

The tool, on our iPads:

The task, projected on the SMARTBoard:

Really excited to continue with this activity and see what skills and language come out of it.

-Molly Mac and Class

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Return to Blogging!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin I'm linking up with BlogLovin to get back into sharing some of the things my Kindergarten team and I are doing. Check back soon for some Math and management freebies. Merry Christmas! -Molly Mac