“Girls and boys—how old is our friend [student name] today?!?? I ask with excitement.
“Yes [Student name] is 6! YEARS! OLD!” I declare. “And on his 6th birthday, we are learning all about the number 6!” I continue.
“Let’s practice our number writing poem: ‘Roll a hoop and make a loop! There are no tricks to make a 6!’ Let’s practice that together!” We repeat the poem a few times.
I make a big 6 on our white board, and then I pass a white board marker to 5 students—including the birthday boy—who write their 6’s around the 6 in the middle, to create at total of 6 6’s on the board.
As individual students write on the white board, the rest of us are writing on our “white boards in the sky,” as I like to call them, tracing invisible 6’s again and again, reciting the number-writing poem.
“Let’s talk about our jobs!” I announce.
At the “teacher table,” we work on the All About the Number 6 Practice page together, focusing on proper formation and matching the quantity 6. We go through each portion of the practice together. In particular, making the tally marks for 6 is challenging for most students, so we go very slowly and carefully at the end.
The familiar play dough number formation and quantity mat table is made slightly different by a new “party pack” of small play dough canisters in assorted colors. I let the students know that after they make and show 6 in one color, they can use a different color!
Bumpy Boards is getting darker and darker as the numbers get larger, with students directed to use 6 different crayons to trace each 6! 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 6, but it requires some time and effort to get each numeral traced with 6 different colors.
Finally, our 10-frame number labeling activity has fun pumpkins and scarecrows that can be used through out fall. I place them on different colored backgrounds for each group of 5—chosen in colors that look like colorful fall leaves. (I do this so I can quickly distribute the groups of mats.)
The counters this week are small orange counters to resemble pumpkins. I have small green counters available if students need an extension to show different ways of showing 6. I remind students how to decompose 6—after they have already been “checked off” for showing and labeling 6 successfully. I remind them also that they will be expected to actually touch each circle as they count their mats.
We work at each “job” for about 10 minutes, with the All About the Number table setting the pace. On at least one group, will need 11 or 12 minutes, so our pace is adjusted to reflect the needs of the group.
This is our first week without our student teacher, and I try my best to monitor the independent play dough and bumpy board tables, while teaching the All About the Number and jumping over to have kiddos count their 10-frame mats to me. It’s insanely tiring—and I’m a high-energy teacher! My thought remains, “Just get through this!”
Right after math, we have to go to our “specials” classes, so we have rush through our closing.
I ask how the play dough mats went today, and students report that they liked the new colors, but the lids were hard to get off the new containers.
The bumpy boards went okay, they report, but I notice that they are possibly becoming a little too familiar. I note to myself to think of another independent activity to practice 7 next week.
The trickiest thing, today, the students say, was tally marks for 6. I agree wholeheartedly and promise that we will practice.
We talk about our 10-frame mats, and an honest student points out what I saw as well, it took a lot longer for me to get over to check them this week because I was busy doing another job at the same time. I tell them that I noticed that too, and I will do some homework to make it so they don’t have to wait so long for me next week. “You have homework?!?” the students ask. Oh, if only they knew…