Comparing Names

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SWBAT count and compare quantities by counting and comparing the number of letters in their name.

Big Idea

As kindergartners begin to understand the meaning of numbers and what they represent, they can begin comparing them for more or less. This lesson introduces comparing numbers by comparing the quantity of letters in their names. It's fun and easy.

Daily Calendar & Counting Review

15 minutes

Each day we begin our math block with an interactive online calendar followed by counting songs and videos.

Calendar Time:

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.

Direct Instruction

10 minutes

I start this lesson by reading a counting book (any counting book to 10 works). I chose to read Counting Bears.  Some other good titles include:

Let's Count by Tana Hoban

How Many Feet? How Many Tails? A Book of Math Riddles by Marilyn Burns

Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra

The Cheerios Counting Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath

As I read the book, I compare the quantities of objects on each page.

Me: There are 4 bears on this page (I touch and count the bears). There were 3 bears on this page (I touch and count the bears). I see that there are more bears on this page (pointing to 4) than on this page (pointing to 3). I turn the page, read the story and count the bears.

I see there are less bears on this page (pointing to 4) than on this page (pointing to 5), so I know that 4 is less than 5.

After I have read the book and done the think-aloud, I use number cards with pictures (playing cards work, but I cover up the small symbols in the corners so they don’t confuse the kids). I hold up two number cards at a time and I say, “I see that 8 is more than 6.”  I continue modeling with this activity several more times.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

After modeling for the kids how to compare numbers/quantities, I then guide them in doing it as a class. I continue holding up two cards at a time and ask them to identify which card has more and which card has less.

Holding up 7 and 2 I say, “Which card is less?” (MP2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively)

Students: 2!

Me: I pick a name from the name-stick can and call on a single student. I ask, “How do you know 2 is less than 7?”

Student: I know 2 is less than 7 because I don’t count as many times when I count to 2.

Me: Can you explain what you mean when you say you don’t count as many times?

Student: I don’t say as many numbers when I count to 2. I just say 1, 2. When I count to 7, I count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. That’s a lot more numbers.

Me: Thank you. Did that make sense to everyone?

Students: Yes (And a hand raises.)

Me: Do you have a question?

Student (intensive student): So if I count 1, 2, 3 and then I count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 then 5 is bigger?

Me: Exactly! I really like how you listened to Anelyse’s explanation and did tried it for yourself. That’s awesome work!

Next I hold up two more cards, 9 and 4. I ask, which number is less (I am focusing on the number, not the quantity of objects because I want the kids to get to a point where they can compare quantities through the numerical representations - MP4).

I continue with this guided practice until we’ve gone through all the cards or we run out of time (I limit this to 10 minutes for behavior management. If I do this too long, the kids start to get squirrelly and behavior issues begin).

Below is a picture of the playing cards I use. I cove the small symbol in the corners with white medical tape so the kids do not accidentally count them when counting the objects on the cards. You can also X them out with a permanent marker.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Me: Do you remember when we read Chrysanthemum and compared the number of letters in our names to hers? See my lesson titled “Chrysanthemum”

Students: Yes

Me: Well today we are going to compare our names with each others’. I ask two students to stand up and join me at the front of the room. I use their nametags as the example. Anelyse and Bayro (I chose two high achieving students because they take minimal explaining to model the task) are going to count the letters in their name and compare how many letters are in their names. (MP6) The person with the greater number of letters (we use more and greater interchangeably) will say, “I have more letters in my name.”  I have Anelyse and Bayro model the game.

Does everyone understand? Students agree that they do. Well let’s practice this with our talking partners. The students turn to their talking partners and practice. I notice that many of them are counting the letters in everything on their nametags. I stop the practice.

“Whoa guys. Stop, high five!” Everyone stops and raises their hands. “I notice many of you are counting the letters in everything on your name tags. I want you to count the number of letters in your FIRST name ONLY.”  I hold up a nametag that I borrow from the student in front of me. “See this part of the name tag? This is where your first name is. This spot right here on the nametag says, Christopher. Christopher will count the letters only the letters in his first name. Come up here buddy and demonstrate for everyone how to count the letters in your first name only.” Christopher gets up and demonstrates counting each letter in his first name.

Great! Okay, does everyone understand what to count and compare now?

Students: Yes!

Me: Okay, let’s try practicing with our talking partners one more time. (This time they practice correctly and we are ready to do the real thing).

Alright, great job counting and comparing your FIRST names ONLY. Now I’d like you to take the last five minutes and count and compare your name with as many friends as you can. Remember, the person with the greater or more letters in their name gets to say, “I have more.” Ready? Stand up. Begin. I set and start the time for five minutes.

The students play for 5 minutes. In this particular activity, we are only practicing counting and comparing, not recording, so the entire activity is verbal. I roam the room and listen to the students’ interactions.

After the timer goes off, I bring everyone back to the carpet. At this time I reflect with them on what went well and what needs refinement:

Me: You guys did an awesome job counting and comparing the number of letters in your names. Everyone counted accurately and everyone did a good job using the sentence “I have more.” The only thing I’d like to see different is if you disagree with a friend when they think they have more and they do not. Please do not argue with them. Please be polite and say I disagree. If they do not agree with you that they are incorrect, please raise your hand and ask me to come over and help you. Does everyone understand?”

Students: Yes

Me: Okay, now we are going to take the next five minutes to count and compare our names, but this time the person with less letters gets to say, “I have less.” Does everyone understand? We are doing just the opposite of what we did earlier.

Students: Yes

Me: Okay, turn to your talking partner and do a practice round of counting and comparing looking for who has less.

Once they have successfully practiced with their partner, I have them compare for less in the same way they looked for more.

Exit Ticket

5 minutes

For this lesson, the exit ticket is a quick check to see if the kids can independently identify numbers that are greater than. They look at the two groups in each box and color the group that is greater.

I sort the exit tickets as I collect them. I place them in piles of Meets, Approaches, and Falls Far Below. Meets has all of them correct. Approaches misses one. Intensive misses more than one.

Meets continues the program as planned.

Approaches has a quick meeting with me to see if it was just a misconception (confusing 6 with 9 or the like)

FFB is brought into a small group for counting and comparing practice.