“It’s Friday, you know what that means…” I say as kindergartners walk in after lunch.
“It’s Saturday tomorrow! Sleep in!” a student annouces.
“Yes, that is true, but we have some important work to do before we are ready to go off for the weekend. You will notice a big number by the big screen. What are we going to do with it?” I ask.
Students respond that we are going to color and make ways to show 4. They catch on quickly, my little cherubs!
“Yes—for sure!” I say. This time, I say that our 4 things are going to be apples. A few students say, “Yeah!” in response to our beloved book that currently holds such an important place in our instruction.
The students begin working on their illustrations, and again, I take requests first, encouraging kiddos to use their math vocabulary and really stretch as we are learning these first numbers.
Talking to students during the illustration process is critical. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to use language and really see where students are “at” in terms of concept development. Sometimes, a kid will want to color a coconut tree because he likes coconut trees, but that’s when I get him talking about the specific number of coconut trees and why that number is so important to what we’re doing. Little things like that make the difference, I’m finding.
As we gather to attach the examples to the 4, a kiddo says to a friend, “It’s time to put the 4 together!”
“We are starting to get the idea here!” I declare. “Let’s talk about what we’re putting on this anchor chart as we attach each thing!.”
I won’t lie—I kind of “work it” to get the kiddos talking as much as possible during this assembly process. When one student gets “stuck,” I offer support or get other kiddos talking on the topic, never letting on that someone has “limited” knowledge. Being conversational and upbeat is critical, I’m discovering.
“So what number did we “put together?” I ask.
“You are so very smart!” I say with a smile.