“Girls and boys—you know how we have been learning all about apples?! Well today, we get to use apple trees to practice making 5!” I announce enthusiastically.
“Okay, let’s review the numbers we already know. We are learning so many!” I state.
I pass a white board marker to a student, who writes a 4.
The marker keeps getting passed from student to student, each writing a number on the white board. (Numbers may be backwards, but the goal is to get the numbers, 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 recorded.)
“Yes! We have learned 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4! Let’s talk about number 5!”
“Here’s our poem to help us remember how to make 5,” I continue.
“Jolly old 5 goes down and around—put a hat on top for a crown,” I say as I write a large 5 on the white board. (Yes, this is my least favorite number writing poem. I was told to use it when I started teaching kindergarten 9 years ago. I need to find a better 5-formation poem!)
We practice reciting the number formation poem as we write our giant 5’s in the air on our “magic white boards in the sky.” I make sure to pretend “Erase, erase, erase” in between numbers. The kids love that part.
After a few invisible 5’s, I ask a couple friends to write their 5’s on the white board, as well.
“Looks like we are ready to practice!” I announce.
At the “teacher table,” we work on the All About the Number 5 page with together, focusing on proper formation and matching the quantity 5. We go through each portion of the practice together.
The familiar play dough number formation and quantity mat table is spiced up this week, literally—with my homemade apple pie play dough. It actually smells like cinnamon! We use Wikki Stix again this week to form the number 5s, since the kids shared in their reflection last week that they really liked the Wikki Stix. The children use the apple pie play dough to make the 5 spheres for the 10-frame.
Bumpy Boards is getting darker and darker as the numbers get larger, with students directed to use 5 different crayons to trace each 5! Students use plastic needlepoint forms from a craft store to place under their papers to create a bumpy texture and effect. (It's also possible to make bumpy boards using squares of masonite, screening, and duct tape to tape the screen onto the middle of the boards. I have both in my class, but the needlepoint forms come ready to use!) This activity provides the support of simply tracing 5, but it requires some time and effort to get each numeral traced with 5 different colors.
Finally, the previously mentioned 10-frame apple tree mats are on the carpet. When I show the students the groups of 5 trees, they smile. (I use the same image, but I print it on different colors so that each set of 5 mats looks similar, but different from other sets. This helps get the mats passed out quickly.) A couple easily excitable kids actually say, “Wow!” Kindergarten is the best!
We talk about how our counters can be “apples” today. I ask, ”What would your apple be if you used yellow?” The little experts exclaim, “Golden Delicious!”
“And if you use red…?” just to enjoy the moment, I continue. “Red Delicious!” they respond.
I remind them that if they get done and get checked off early, they can stretch this activity by showing different ways to make 5. I tell them, “Now, as apple experts, we know we each tree only grows one kind of apple. One these trees, though, you can have both Red Delicious and Golden Delicious! See if you can find different ways of using red & yellow to make 5,” I challenge.
We work at each “job” for about 10 minutes, with the All About the Number table setting the pace. (I know that one of my heterogeneous groups has a mix of slightly slower paced students than others, so I anticipate that at least 1 work period will extend to 12 minutes.) We rotate through these activities, a total of 4 in all.
Those “teacher eyes”—the ones we have on the sides of our heads and back behind our ears—really come in handy during these work stations. The independent tables are nestled closely between my activity and my student teacher’s spot on the carpet, and I secretly lament that it will be just me when it’s time to learn 6. It’s fun sneaking peeks at the kiddos with the colorful combinations of “apples” on their trees. As with every Tuesday, time just flies past.
Right after math, we have to go to our “specials” classes, so we have rush through our closing.
I ask how we are liking the Wikki Stix, and the kiddos report. We talk about how dark the bumpy board numbers are getting with 5 colors layered on.
Finally, we talk about making our apple quantity/label trees. The kids seem to have as much fun putting their “apples” on the trees as I had hoped they would. (I had a lot of fun making the apple tree counting mats!)
The handful of students who practiced decomposing 5 share briefly about how it’s getting easier to find the different ways to make 5.
I like to ask one “pointer” before we go, and one of my little jokesters states, “Ya gotta be careful making that 5, or it can look like a weird S!” Ahh… such a wise suggestion!