Each day we begin our math block with an interactive online calendar followed by counting songs and videos.
We do calendar on Starfall every afternoon. This website has free reading and math resources for primary teachers. It also has a “more” option that requires paying a yearly fee. The calendar use is free. A detailed description of Daily Calendar math is included in the resources.
Counting with online sources: Today we did counting practice to reinforce the counting skills. We watched two to three number recognition 0-10 videos (one to two minutes each) because some of my students students were still struggling with identifying numbers correctly in random order. We watched "Shawn the Train" and counted objects with him to refresh our memories on how to count objects to ten and to reinforce one to one counting. Since we have started the second quarter of the school year, we added to today's counting practice: counting to 20 forward and back, counting by tens to 100 and counting to 100 by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.
I start this lesson by reading Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. I introduce it by telling students the title, author, illustrator and publisher (reinforces kindergarten ELA standards). As I read the book, I stress the length of Chrysanthemum’s name. We count the number of letters in Chrysanthemum’s name and I write it on poster paper as a visual model.
Me: I read the first couple pages. pointing at the picture of baby Chrysanthemum I say, “Aw, look, they had a baby. Isn’t she cute?!”
Kids: Aw! She is so cute! One student yes out, “I love baby mouses.”
Me: Me, too! Baby mice are so cute. This little baby is especially cute. Can you guess her name?
Kids: They yell out a variety of names. It’s so cute because many of them do not connect the title to the character. Two of my students (my high achievers) yell out, “Chrysanthemum!”
Me: Did I hear someone say, Chrysanthemum?
Kids: Me! with hands raised
Me: Well, you are correct! I read the text under the picture of Chrysanthemum. Her name is Chrysanthemum. I show them the title of the book and point out the length of her name. “Wow! Look how long her name is! Let’s count how many letters are in her name.” We count them together... “13! Wow! That’s a lot of letters!” I don’t have 13 letters in my name. Do you have 13 letters in your name?
Kids: They look at their name tags and count the letters in their first name. Some count the letters in their name as they same them out loud.
We finish reading the story. I continue to stress how many letters are in her Chrysanthemum’s name as I read.
We are going to compare the number of letters in our names to the number of letters in Chrysanthemum’s name. I write Chrysanthemum on poster paper and we again count how many letters are in her name. I write the number 13 next to her name.
I write my name under her name (to the left side because I am going to list all of our names on the poster) I count the letters in my name and write a 4 next to it.
Me: Hmmm...Who has more letters in their name? Me or Chrysanthemum?
Me: I want you to think in your brain before you answer this question. And don’t yell out your answer. Raise your hand when you think you are ready to share. Here’s the question, How do you know that Chrysanthemum has more letters in her name than I have in my name? (MP2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively.) Don’t say anything. Be quiet and think. I will give you 30 seconds to think quietly. Is set my phone timer for 30 seconds.
Okay, time is up. I’m going to call on someone who is sitting crisscross apple sauce and has their hand in the air.
Student 1: I know that Chrysanthemum has more letters in her name because 13 is bigger than 4.
Me: Okay, so how do we know that 13 is bigger than 4? (I address the whole group with this question to give others an opportunity to expand on the initial answer.)
Student 2: 13 is bigger than 4 because i has more. See the number line? (I have a number line posted up by the ceiling).
Me: I take a small number line out (1-20). I put one finger on the 4 with one hand and another finger on the 13 with my other hand. I ask, “Which number is further on the number line?”
Me: So Chrysanthemum does have more letters in her name than I do. Let’s see if she has more letters in her name than any of us. I’m going to write each of your names on the poster. You have to tell me the letters in your name as I write it (MP4 - Model with mathematics).
I record everyone’s name on the poster in two columns. I write the number of letters next to each name. We discover that Chrysanthemum has more letters than anyone in our classroom. The kids are amazed that she has more letters than Christopher.
Me: We are going to make mini posters to hang in the room (8.5 x 5.5 copy paper) that show Chrysanthemum’s name has more letters than each of ours (usually - I have had a couple of students in the past whose names were longer than Chrysanthemum's! It does happen!) I hold up the job paper.See how Chrysanthemum’s name is written in dotted lines?
Student: Are we going to trace that?
Me: Yes, you will trace Chrysanthemum’s name with any color crayon you want. Then see this line here (pointing to the line below Chrysanthemum)? You are going to write YOUR NAME on this line right here, but you have to write it BIG like Chrysanthemum up here (pointing to the pre-printed name).
We gather on the floor to discuss what we discovered about our names versus Chrysanthemum's.
Me: Your posters came out great. I see some of you numbered each letter in your name and Chysanthemum's. that was a good idea! So if your name had more letters than Chrysanthemum's, please stand up (no one stands).
Wow! she really does have a long name doesn't she? Okay, let's do this. I'll say a number and if your name has that many letters in it, stand up. (MP 6 - Attend to precision.) I start with two. The first student stands up at 4 and we go all the way to 12. Our highest count was Christopher.
I quickly collect the mini posters and I share them quickly with the class so they can all see the creativity in the posters. Some wrote their names in bubble letters, some imitated the dotted lines and then traced them, and some tried to right their name with fancy letters.
For this lesson, the exit ticket is a quick check to see if the kids can independently identify whether their name is bigger or smaller than Chrysanthemum (two exit tickets on each page - copy and cut). I have them turn in the paper one at a time and ask which name is larger. They have to point to the larger name. This is based on the number of letters, not how large they write.
If a student points to his or her name based on the size of print rather than number of letters, I place them in a small group for further instruction as they missed the point of the activity completely.
Note: If time does not permit for the kids to write their names and compare independently a second time, you can collect the independent activity and have them identify the larger name at a later time. For instance, while lining up for lunch or recess. Each child could be asked to ID the name with more letters as they take their place in line.