“Girls and boys, we are doing some math on the go today! Don’t plan on sitting down too much—we are moving all over the room to do our math today!” I announce.
Let’s talk about what we are doing. You will notice there are little cards with pictures of school supplies hanging all around the classroom. You will get to take a white board and put it under a paper like this. (I project an image of our record sheet on “the big screen” using my document camera.)
Referring to a card in the front of the classroom, I ask the students, “How many crayon boxes are in the picture?
I call on a student who answers, “One.”
“Yes!” I say, and write a number 1 next to the picture of the box of crayons on the recording sheet.
“You will be writing numbers on your record sheet as you walk around the room and find cards all over the classroom. If you see 3 of something in a picture on a card, you will write a 3. If you see 2 of something, what will you write?”
“2!” students respond.
“Exactly! We will write numbers to match quantities. We are almost ready to go!” I announce.
“There’s a lot of you, and we don’t want to get too crowded walking around, so half of the time, you will be practicing numbers with a fun number cube activity, too.”
“You will be rolling away to get numbers and write them down, like this”. [I change the page on the document camera to the Roll & Write Number Practice page so the students can see.] I roll the special number cube with 1, 2, and 3 dots on the sides, and I model how to write 2 dots and then the number 2 in the adjacent square.
(I made the number cubes with blank cubes that I purchased at the local teacher’s store and a Sharpie. You could also use small, wooden cubes and write on them.)
“Now, we don’t want you stuck rolling the same number all day, so if you roll the same number 2 times in a row, you can re-roll to get a different number to write. So, if I rolled a 2 again, what would I do?”
I call on a student to say, “Roll again for a different number!”
Next, I choose a wiggly friend who is barely keeping focus to demonstrate for us. (A coincidence? Heavens, no!) Of course, wiggly friend needs a few suggestions from our more attentive buddies, but we work together to get the demonstration finished.
“If your group starts with rolling number cubes, you WILL get a chance to write the room, and the same thing if you start with Write the Room. Everyone is doing both activities! Let’s get started!”
In my class, we have 4 learning groups. I split half of the groups to do the Write the Room, and I have the other groups do Roll & Write to start.
The Roll & Write kiddos get their number cubes and their record sheets and sit around the tables, working independently and having a great time rolling and writing. (For very social friends or easily distractible kiddos, there’s twice as much space as usual to “spread them out” at the tables, which is nice.)
Write-the-Room students pick up a recording sheet with a white board (for aflat surface) and begin to move around the room, recording numbers.
I have my yellow marker ready for students who struggle with number formation. If a student writes an “S” for a 2, for instance, I prompt the number writing poem, “Around and back down the railroad track…”
If the child continues to make an “S,” I write a properly formed “2” on the page for the child to trace.
I circulate through the room, complimenting hard work and assisting students as needed. When most students are nearly finished with the Write the Room, (the shorter activity), I give a 2-minute warning.
After 2 minutes, we switch activities and repeat.
When most of the students have finished Write the Room, I give a 2-minute warning.
After 2 minutes, a song is played to indicate that the work time has ended. We meet in our meeting spot with our recording sheets.
“We wrote something to show something else…” I hint. “What did we write?”
One student (thankfully) says “numbers,” and I am relieved because hints were kind if vague, in kindergarten terms.
Then it gets really tricky: “The numbers show what?” Hmm… more information needed.
“So when I was writing numbers, could I just write any number I wanted?”
The students respond “No” and I encourage them to elaborate. Eventually, we will get to the point where one student articulates, “We write numbers to show how many things are there, like how many dots.”
“Tell me about rolling the number cubes. How did you like that?” I ask. Some students say they kept rolling the same numbers, so they had to roll a lot. Some students say they didn’t get a chance to finish.
“So which card was the hardest to find?” I ask. I call on a few students who mention some object cards.
“How did you like moving around a writing numbers?” I ask. The students say a variety of responses, including “It was fun,” or “I liked writing the numbers.”