“Hey, hey, hey, friends!” I say as kindergartners enter the room after lunch recess. “What do you see today?”
“2!” they exclaim.
“Do you remember what we did with number 1 last week? We’re going to show all the ways to show 2 this week! Hmm… Let’s think about different ways to show 2.”
Students come up with a few ways, but I re-introduce a few, including tally marks and ten-frames. A pretty savvy little guy asks, “Why do we need to use a 10-frame if our number is 2?”
“Excellent question!” I say, actually pleased as can be that a beginning kindergartner is putting that much thought into numbers so early in the year. I explain that a 10-frame is like a picture frame—it holds the number inside it. As long as a number is smaller than 10, a 10-frame is a useful way to show the number! He seems satisfied with my explanation, and we begin working on illustrating ways to show 2.
Usually, I am not a fan of students being picky about what they want to work on. Student choice is huge, but sometimes we have to wait to do our first choice. Here, I am all about getting students to articulate some of the different ways to show 2. If a kiddo asks for the letters, I will say, “Oh, you’d like to color the number word for 2? Absolutely!”
It’s particularly cute when a student asks for a telly mark. I grin cautiously and say, “Here’s the tally marks for 2 that you can trace.” I don’t want to discourage the attempt at using math vocabulary, even if it is very “early kindergarten.” (MP.6)
As students are working, I’m constantly circulating, getting them to talk about their work. This isn’t just coloring—we are creating a useful tool that helps us organize our learning! (MP.4)
As we attach the different ways to show 2 on the anchor chart, I explain my choices in selecting the examples. Depending on the personality of the child, I will say, “I’m selecting this monkey colored by [student’s name] because I saw him really take his time when he colored.” (Now, that monkey may be absolutely atrocious, but if a kiddo—particularly a little guy with a limited early academic background or special needs—doe his or her best, I celebrate effort every time!)
“This is your second anchor chart. You know you’re gonna learn so many numbers in kindergarten. You have done an excellent job illustrating ways to make 2!” I declare. “Tell me again about some of the ways we show 2 here.”
Students describe the pictures, the 10-frame, the number line, the “telly marks” again… and I thank them for their hard work. .
“Are we representing 2 up here?” I ask.
“Yes!” students exclaim.
I ask them to give themselves a pat on their back for the hard work!