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 begin this lesson by reading a counting book. Any counting book will do for this lesson. I use a counting book that is to ten like 10 Furry Monsters. I chose this book because it is their favorite counting book. They never get tired of it and it keeps them engaged.
I think aloud as I read. I do this in every lesson because many of these kids need to have thinking modeled for them. In my school we have many children whose parents do everything for them and never make them solve problems for themselves. They do not know what it is to think in order to solve a problem.
Me: I read a few pages of the book. As I read I think about what is more and what is less. We started with 10 bears and now we only have 7. I think 7 is less than 10 because we have lost some bears. Let's count these bears together.
Students and Me: We count the 7 bears while I touch each bear. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Me: Now, let's turn back to the first page and count the bears there.
Students and me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Me: I heard us say 7 when we were counting to ten and then we kept on counting a few more numbers. I think that means 10 must be more than 7.
I continue with this pattern of thinking aloud until we finish the book.
Once we are finished with the book, I introduce the game.
It sounds something like this:
Me: Today you are going to play a card game to compare numbers. You will be playing with your table partner. Each team will get one deck of cards. The goal is to identify the numbers that are greater or more than the others.
I call a student up to assist me in demonstrating the game using the doc cam. I choose a student who is higher achieving so she needs little coaching to pick up the clues on how to play and naturally participates well.
First, Partner A will draw a card and state what they drew. I'll be Partner A. (I draw a card) I got 4. Now Partner B draws a card and says what he or she gets. Zayra draws a 7. Zayra says, "I got 7." Now the partner with the greater number says, "I have more" and gets to take both cards and put them next to her in a pile. Zayra says, "I have more" and takes my card and her card and sets them on her side of the desk.
Okay, turn to your talking partner (these are pre-arranged by me every morning based on who is in attendance. I pair a strong speaker with a weak speaker to encourage language development) Say, first Partner A draws a card and states what they have. (kids repeat) Then Partner B draws a card and states what they have (kids repeat). Then we compare our numbers. Last the partner with more or the greater number keeps both cards. (kids repeat).
I have my helper of the day pass out one deck of cards per team. The kids have already been set in table partners that are pre-arranged by me. A's have been assigned and B's have been assigned. The letter is written on their name tags on their tables.
Note: I partner High with Med-low kids and Med-high kids with Low kids. Pairing kids any more than 2 academic levels apart can frustrate one or both the partners and increase behavior issues in the classroom.
I guide them through the first two rounds.
As the materials are passed out I tell the kids, Hands up! Hands in your lap! I don't want anyone touching the supplies before it is time to play the game.
Partner A raise your hand. Now take the cart off the top of the pile. (All the A's take the top card) Look at it and tell your partner what number you have.
Now, Partner B, take the next card off the top of the deck and tell your partner what you have.
Partners A and B, put your cards next to each other between you. Raise your hand if your card has the greater number. (MP2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively.)
One group has both partners' hands up so I go over to help out. I explain to Partner B that greater means more and that their card does not have more than Partner A's. I use the pictures on the cards to prove the point by touching and say each number as I count. Partner B agrees and tells Partner A that he has more. I make a note for myself to monitor Partner B on that team because either the numbers confuse her or the concept of greater/less or more/less does.
I continue with two rounds of guided game play. The last round I ask them to tell me what comes next. They do a great job and appear to be ready to play independently.
Once the guided practice shows they are ready to play on their own, I let them go for it. I roam the room to solve any problems they may encounter. I monitor behavior and watch to make sure everyone is playing and doing it correctly.
For this lesson, independent work is to carry on exactly as we did during guided practice. I stop partners if is see them having a problem with the flow of the game and I guide them through one or two additional plays until they have it completely on their own.
You can see in the below video the kids playing independently with no assistance from me. In the first portion of the video it is obvious that the little girl who drew her card first did not take the top card and drew from below the top. After recording, I sat with that team and walked through the steps in the game again and from there on they no longer had any problems playing.
The other team in the video tell me that this is their favorite game and they do a fair job in demonstrating how to play.
Partner 1: I got ___.
Partner 2: I got ___.
Partner 1: I have more and she takes the cards.
We play until we run out of time. Most of the time I set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes and we stop when we hear the timer go off. Otherwise, I just watch the clock and give them a 5 minute and 2 minute warning.
We gather on the floor to discuss how the game went and what they have learned. I call on three to four students per question to answer to prevent subconscious bias. I pull random names from a name stick can to call on students. I record their thoughts on chart paper.
What is one thing you learned?
What did you like about the game?
What would you like to do differently?
Me: What is one thing you learned?
Student: I learned that I don't have to use the objects on the cards to compare anymore. I can just look at the numbers now and know what is bigger.
Me: Wow! That's an important step! That's exactly the goal of this game. We want to be able to look at a number and just know that it's greater/more or fewer/less. We want to be able to compare numbers just as numbers. That's excellent. Thank you!
I call on two more students to share their thoughts. Then I move on to question number two.
Me: So what did you like about this game?
Student: I like using the cards. When we played comparing games with counters they were falling on the floor and sometimes my partner would cheat and not close his eyes (referring to Grab, Count and Compare lesson) and he would grab extra blocks to put on his tower so he would win when you weren't looking. But with the cards he has to have what's on the card so he can't cheat and if he tries, I'm gong to tell you.
Me (trying not to laugh): I'm glad the cards work better for you. I like them too. I think they are easier to use and much easier to clean up and put away. I call on two more students to respond.
To the class I ask, "So, if you could change something about this game what would you do different?" I call on three students. The third one has a good suggestion.
Student: I think we should draw our cards and write it down and say it. Then we can circle who had the bigger number. That way you can count how many times you each had more and got to keep the cards.
For the next time we play this game, I will develop a recording sheet that simply has two columns. Each player puts their name at the top of the column that corresponds with with their A or B label. Each time they draw a card, they write down the number they drew on the lines below their name. The partner with more circles their number to indicate they got to take both cards.
For the Comparing Numbers Worksheet exit ticket, I ask the kids to count the number of objects and write the number above each group. I then ask them to circle the NUMBER, not the objects that is less.
I separate the exit tickets as I collect them:
Misses 0 = Meets the standard
Misses 1 = Approaches the standard
Misses more than 1 = Falls Far Below
The Meets kids continue with the teaching and learning cycle as designed. The Approaches kids have a quick meeting with me to see if there was just a miscount or a small misunderstanding about something on the page. I usually clear things up with these kids in one quick meeting. The FFB kids are put in a small group to meet with me to have further direct instruction and support.