“Girls and boys—check it out!” I announce as the kiddos enter the room after lunch. Hanging near the calendar is a big, blank 1.
“It’s one!” a student blurts. “Oh, you are on to something… how do you show in kindergarten that you have a great idea you’d like to share?” I ask with a smile. Blank stare. So I grin and gesture a raised hand. “Oh!” I hear, and watch a grubby 5 year-old hand get lifted up. Yes! Victory!!! It’s the little things, really…
“So this one is all empty. We learned how to make 1 this week. You are going to help show different ways to make 1!” I announce, passing out a variety of printed examples of the number 1. (MP.4)
“Now, you will all get something to color or trace, and the ones that look really great, or the students who are doing their best work, may just see their work put up on our classroom learning poster, our anchor chart, that shows all about 1! Do your best work--precise work-- friends, and meet me back in our meeting spot!” I say. (MP.6)
(I added a picture about how I used my document camera and the large 1 to project it onto my Promethean board and then use gentle, blue painter's tape to attach my paper and then trace. The number is not a perfectly formed number--it's Janda Manatee Bubble font, free from the internet. It was easy to use and provided the room I needed for our different representations of each number.)
Students go to the tables and color away. When students are rushing, I gently prompt them to slow down and be precise. (I love using correct mathematical terms, even early in the year. The more kids hear proper math terminology, the sooner the students will begin to use proper math terms. MP6 - Attend to precision.) Some students are fast finishers—even with quality work, so I have lots of copies of every way to show the number 1. A few copies of the word, a few sunshines, a few number cubes…
We stay busy during our work time, with lots of encouragement for students taking their time and doing quality work. Their work will become our model to represent 1! (MP.4)
We all reconvene at the meeting spot, staring up at the blank number 1. Then I start calling for different ways to represent 1, for instance, I say, “Some friends have letters, ‘one’ the word, spelled out. Raise your hand—or hold up your ‘one’ to show ‘one’ if you have it.” I gather the “one”s and quickly select one. I don’t make a big deal about what I don’t select, but especially as we are doing this for the first time, I really spell out why I selected one of the examples.
“This chart is one of a bunch of charts. You know you’re gonna learn so many numbers in kindergarten. You will all be helping build these charts, but we might not have 29 friends help us out this morning. If your work doesn’t get picked today, next week might be your week!” I reassure.
We put all the of the different representations on the big 1. I try to spread things out so that the colorful, visually appealing stuff is mixed in with tally marks and the number line—the really useful stuff! Naw, it’s all important, but it’s fun to “mix it up.” (MP.4)
The students smile as the different ways to show 1 get added to the chart.
“My goodness, friends!” I exclaim, “You’ve just barely started kindergarten, and look at all this great stuff you have already learned! YOU built this! All these different ways to show a number! You know so much about the number…”
“ONE!” students exclaim.