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.
Direct instruction, guided practice, and independent practice in this lesson look very similar because the students build upon each one through gradually assuming the responsibility of the math.
I get the kids thinking about adding and subtracting quantities by reviewing what we know - We go over addition and subtraction signs, what they mean and what actions need to be taken.
We then practice adding and subtracting using story problems online. I have a can of sticks with names on them that I use to pull names to come to the board to solve the online problems. We start with the site, ABCya. We practice two to three levels of problems and then move to mixed addition and subtraction problems in Turtle Diary. If a student who struggles is chosen from the name stick can, we support him or her as a class by working through the problem together. They also have the option of choosing a partner to come up to the board to help them.
I then demonstrate thinking through and drawing out story problems on a whiteboard. I state the problem out loud to the kids while I think-aloud and demonstrate how to solve it by drawing dots on the whiteboard:
There were 5 frogs on a log (I draw 5 dots). Two more swim over to join them (I draw two more dots and state that it looks like I am adding since I have MORE frogs). I state, "I wonder how many frogs I have now." I slowly and deliberately count the 7 frogs (dots) on my board. "I have 7 frogs."
I state a new problem: There were 7 frogs on a log. 4 frogs swim away. Since frogs are leaving, I have to cross off some frogs. Let's see, there were 7 frogs on a log (I count the 7 dots). 4 frogs swim away. I cross off 4 frogs and explain that I cross them out because they are going away and now I will have less frogs.
I have my helpers give each student a whiteboard, dry erase marker, and wipe. I have the kids place all of their materials on the floor in front of them and raise their hands so they don't mess with the materials before we start working.
Me: Okay, we are going to do some story problems together. There are 4 birds in a tree. Everyone pick up your markers and draw 4 dots. Why are we drawing 4 dots?
Random student: We are drawing 4 dots because there are 4 birds. I require all my students to answer questions using complete sentences.
Me: There are 4 birds in a tree (I repeat the first part in case anyone forgot what was said earlier) and 2 more came to sing with them. Everyone draw 2 more dots. Why are we drawing two more dots?
Random student: We draw two more dots because two more birds came to sing.
Me: Are we adding or subtracting in this story?
Me: That's right. We are adding. Why are we adding?
Random student: We are adding because more birds came to sing. If the student does not use a complete sentence to answer, I ask them to explain their idea again using a sentence frame, "We are adding because..."
Me: Nice listening! And that's right. When we get more of something, we are adding and we got 2 more birds in this story, didn't we? (random group response) Okay, here's your next one: There were 6 alligators in a swamp. What do we do?
Students: Draw 6 dots!
Me: Everyone draw 6 dots for your alligators. 3 alligators went to go find food. What should we do now?
Students: Cross out 3 dots!
Me: Exactly! Why are we crossing three dots out?
Students: We cross them out because they left.
Me: Is that addition or subtraction?
Students: It's subtraction!
Me: Why is it subtraction? (I want them thinking about the meaning of the operation)
Students: It's subtraction because we are getting less.
Me: Excellent! I use subtraction when I will have less objects at the end. Now lets try a few more:
I continue in this pattern for a few more practice problems guiding them step by step until I feel (through observation) that most of them understand the concept and can try to do it on their own with little guidance. I just make up the problems as I go e.g. cookies being eaten, dogs going for a walk, bugs flying away, etc.
Once I see that they are working ahead of my guidance, it is time to move to the independent practice.
For this section, I do the exact same thing as the guided instruction except now students have to draw the dots on their own first and then check their work against mine. I teach addition and subtraction in layers because it is a very abstract concept for kindergartners and they do not internalize it easily. It takes a great deal of time and it is best to teach in small bites.
Me: Okay, now you get to try a few of these on your own. I'll tell you the story. You draw what you think it looks like using dots. I had 4 cookies and my sister gave me 2 more. When you are done drawing, hold up your board. I choose a student who represented the story problem correctly and ask them to bring their board to the front to explain their thinking.
Student: Mrs. Gunn said that she had 4 cookies so I drew these four dots (four dots together in a row on left side of board). Then she said her sister gave her 2 more cookies so I drew 2 more dots on this side (right side of board). Then I counted them all together and there were 6. So she has 6 cookies.
Me: Thank you! You did a great job, and I loved how you explained your work using complete sentences. Okay, check your work with Anelyse's work and see if they look the same. If not, let's fix it. I only had two kids who did not get it right so I had them come up front to me very quickly and we worked the problem together. They will be in a small group with me later this afternoon.
I continue having them draw out the story problems and check them for the remainder of the class period. The next session we will add writing the correct number sentence.