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 100by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.
I read 5 Little Ducks by Pamela Paparone and think aloud the math encountered within the text. I use my fingers to model the subtraction of each subsequent little duck until all the baby ducks are missing. When the ducks return, I talk through 0 + 5 and include them in my thinking that addition is the opposite of subtraction and that when the ducks were disappearing I subtracting because I was losing them and when they came back I was getting more and adding.
Think aloud example: "5 little ducks went out to play. Only four little ducks came back. Oh no! It looks like one ran away. Let's see, 5-1=4 (modeling with fingers). It looks like mama duck lost one baby."
I think aloud in this way for each page I read.
Each student is provided an envelope with prepared five little duck picture cards. I do not give them the mother duck for this activity. I use the same envelope of ducks for a language arts activity and I use the mother duck then.
I read the story again, but this time the kids are acting out the story using their duckling picture cards. I have them put one duck on to the side for each page and we review the corresponding subtraction problem(s) for each page. I use a set of duck pictures, a whiteboard and dry erase markers to write out the equations as we develop them.
Me: I read the story until the first duck disappears then I hold up my five ducks and say, "Here are my five ducks. One didn't come back so I'm going to take one out and lay it to the side because he's missing. So I had 5 little ducks (I write the number 5 on the whiteboard) and 1 didn't come back. I lost 1 duck (write a minus sign for losing a duck and I write the number 1). Now how many little ducks do I have?
Me: I count the remaining ducks while touching each one. "That's right, I have 4 ducks left." I write an equal sign and the number 4. "Okay, now I'd like you to count the little ducks you have in your hand." The kids count their little ducks. "How many ducks do you have?"
Me: "Good. Now take 1 little duck and lay it to the side because the story says we lost 1 little duck." (Kids place 1 little duck next to them.) "Count how many ducks you have left. How many do you have now?"
Me: Now I want you to read this subtraction problem with me: 5 - 1 = 4 (we all read it together). I continue with the story. "This time we have 4 little ducks and one disappears. Let's do this one together." I have the kids hold up their little ducks while I hold up mine. We count out the 4 ducks we are holding up. "Take 1 little duck and lay it next to you with the other little duck that disappeared." I leave the first subtraction problem on the whiteboard and write the new equation under it, 4 - 1 = 3. As I write, I say, "Four minus - take away - 1 equals three." I go to the equation already written at the top of the whiteboard. "I started with 5 little ducks. Look next to you and count your missing ducks. How many ducks have disappeared?"
Me: "Okay, then I need to change this problem on top because now we have lost 2 little ducks instead of 1." I erase the number 1 in the top equation and replace the 1 with the number 2 and I change the solution to 3. "Let's check this now. I had five little ducks and lost 2 of them. Now I have 3 little ducks left. Do you agree (thumbs up) or disagree (thumbs down)?"
My whiteboard now has 5 - 2 = 3 and 4 - 1 = 3. I continue guiding them through the problems on each page.
Note: I do not introduce the concept of multiple equations having the same solution at this point. that would only confuse the kids this early in the unit of study. I do, however, use this activity again to teach that concept later on in this unit. It is the same lesson except the focus is on the multiple equations have the same solution.
For this section of the lesson, I have the kids transfer what they learned in the guided practice to Subtraction to Five independent math practice. It is important that the kids make the connection between what we did with the 5 Little Duck book and standard mathematics.
I give each student a bag of 10 counting blocks. I give each student a math page that has subtraction problems to 5 and ask them to use the blocks to solve the problems and record their answers.
I do not worry about number reversals as that is normal and expected until age 8. I look only for mathematical reasoning and accuracy.
The exit ticket for this lesson is the kids' independent work (see resources above). As each student submits their independent work page, I check for mathematical reasoning and accuracy. Students missing 0-1 are placed in a "Meets" pile and will continue as planned.
Students missing 2 are placed in an "Approaching" pile and I meet with them to target the skill or step that is missing and making them unsuccessful. I have found that this is usually a case of sloppy counting and is easily addressed and corrected.
Students missing 3 or more are placed in a "Falls Far Behind" pile and I meet with them individually or in small groups (3 or less) and we continue with guided practice and clarification of steps until the kids are able to move to an independent status.