We love fall, because it’s the month of “Halloween” in our goofy minds. (I will say that after a few days of reiterating that the MONTH is OCTOBER and that the holiday on the VERY last day is Halloween, I think we may have that concept down—most of us, maybe.) Anyhow, fall-like things are indicators of the upcoming Halloween, so I made some fall pages in a flip chart for the beloved Promethean board. The title page of our flip chart is projected as the kids walk in from lunch.
A few of the highly excitable kids, (bless their hearts!) gasp with excitement. “Fall! It’s Fall math!” they say. One kid after my own heart mutters, “I wonder if there will be candy up there…”
“Yes, girls and boys, we will be working with the Big Screen and fall pictures to practice our new, big kid…”
“ADDING!” the kids finish for me. Yes! They remembered!
“What’s that?” I ask, baiting the entire group to yell out the answer even louder. (I wonder if my “neighbors” wonder about my tendency to turn math lessons into cheer practice, but hey, we get excited about math!)
“ADDING!” is even louder this time, as all of the kids join in.
I ask with a grin, “Tell me what adding is again…”
I call on a student, “It’s when you put things together into a group!”
“Oh yes, that’s right. Now I remember. Let’s practice adding some more!”
I send the kids to the tables, each of which contains a container of 2-sided counters.
“Please get 5 counter or circles,” I begin.
“Let’s agree that the red circles will represent orange leaves, and yellow can be the yellow leaves, okay?” (It’s good to get the basics settled before kiddos get confused.)
“Please put 2 orange leaves on the ground.” I pass the Promethean pen to one of the “on-the-ball” kids, who happily drags 2 leaves to the “ground” area of the Promethean board. Meanwhile, I remind the students to move 2 counters on the table in front of them.
“Next, please put 1 yellow leaf on the ground.” Again, I pass the Promethean pen to a student who I am sure can follow that direction with ease. (I try to get us off to a good start when we are all looking up to the big screen.)
At the tables, most kiddos pull out one yellow counter. I remind the ones who haven’t to pull out one yellow counter.
“How many is that?” I ask.
I call on a student—another one of the kiddos who I usually make wait to bail us out until we need extra help—who joyfully announces, “3!”
“Is she right?” I ask the class. “Let’s check! 2 and 1 more is… 1-2-3! Yes! 2 and 1 is…”
“3!” the students finish.
‘Let’s say that together,” I say. We all repeat together, “2 and 1 is 3!”
We repeat this again and again with different addends and sums to 5, and as it seems like we have this idea and it could possibly be getting a little stale for some of the quicker learners, I bust out my iPad and start taking pictures of the students’ work at the tables. Then I use my Air Server and I project the students with their careful representations up on the Promethean board. (As much as they like the fall/Halloween scenes, they just LOVE seeing themselves on the big screen… except for one shy guy, of course!)
Now, I mix up the slide show at my lunchtime while the kiddies are in for inside recess(!), because our first snowfall of the school year is blowing all over the place outside. I use snowflakes for our last slide, but that was just a one-time “make the most out of a snowy day” situation. One great thing about flip charts is that they are really easy to modify.
The slideshow included here has 4 fall scenes, with the last one having jack-o-lanterns. The jack-o-lanterns can be easily replaced by fall leaves if need be.
We practice, practice, practice! And I am ever so grateful for my not very sophisticated technology to keep the students’ interest high.
As all of the 2-colored counters are returned to the containers in the middle of the tables, I collect the containers and ask, “So, we all had a chance to come up to the big screen and move pumpkins or leaves. What were we doing with them as we moved them?”
“Adding!” a student responds.
‘What is adding again?” I ask a student who might not be fully paying attention.
Quickly, she sits straight up and says, “Adding. Adding! That’s when you move things together.”
I ask a few more students about adding… just to be sure we are getting the big idea. Then I ask what the students liked best.
Not surprising, in spite of my efforts making our flip chart, (it really didn’t take that long), the kids most enjoyed seeing themselves and their counters up on the screen. (I had a feeling they would say that, but I ask about the students’ favorite part of the lesson most days, just to be sure that my guesses are actually accurate.)
I assure them that we will have much more practice with addition, or adding, and that my favorite mathematicians will have many more opportunities to see their smart, happy faces on the big screen!