Attention Grabber: Introduction
When iPads are part of our math for any day, just letting the kiddos know that we will be using the iPads is enough to get them cheering, so my best attention grabber is projecting my app either using my document camera or Air Server on “the big screen” as the kiddos walk in from lunch.
“Yay! iPad math!” I hear the kids say excitedly.
”Oh yes, friends!” I announce. “You recognize this Math Joy app. Today—we are using the ‘big kid’ game—and our number lines!”
I briefly show the Chapter One contents page and point out the “Count to 5” game from a couple weeks ago. “You played this game when we used this app before,” I say, pointing as I talk. “We are beyond that now. We are getting so good at addition—and addition with a number line is our expert area lately!” I say.
I point to the Addition (sums to 5) game at the bottom of the contents, and say, “We are going to use this big kid addition game today! We’re going to use our number lines, too, though. It won’t be too tricky if you watch carefully and pay attention to the steps. So what do you need to do right now?” I ask, to be sure we all know the immediate task ahead.
“Watch carefully and pay attention!” kids announce. If I have some of my distractible buddies looking, well, distracted—I might ask them personally, just so I know we’re all focused.
“You are going to use a number line page like this,” I say, and I project a “Math Joy & the Number Line” practice page, which I have copied double-sided, so there are exactly 8 spaces for the corresponding 8 problems in Math Joy.
I tap the Addition box, again projecting the iPad on “the big screen,” and then I stop, very deliberately. “Now, you’re used to just touching the screen to do your math when we use iPads, but this time, we have some big kid steps in between! Watch carefully—this is what you do!”
I focus on the problem on the Math Joy page. “I don’t touch the answer! I don’t do anything with the iPad at all right now! Now, you know I love to see your learning, but can I see all 23 of you at one time?”
“No!” kiddos respond.
“You are going to write down what you are learning, so I can see your great practice, and you can use your number lines, too!” I announce.
“The first thing I do is write the numbers in the math sentence. So I write a 1 and a 1 in the boxes. Do I touch the answer?”
“Yes!” kids respond.
“Oh noooo!” I say with extra drama. “Not yet!! First, I need to use the number line! You tell me what I need to do with the number line. Let’s see… the first number, or addend, is 1. So how do I show that?!” I ask.
I call on a kiddo who tells me, “Find it on the line and put a circle around the 1. Then put a dot on the line!”
I find the 1, put a circle, and then dot the space for 1 on the number line. “Like this?” I ask, keeping the students involved and pointing out the model.
“Okay, now what?!” I ask.
I choose a different student who says something like, ”Jump up 1 line!” Another kiddo sings, ‘To the right, to the right, to the right…” from our addition number line song, and we all sing real quick, partly for our auditory learners, and in part because it’s just fun.
“Okay, so where do I start jumping?” I ask, making the kiddos direct me to the 1, and then I articulate my bumps as I move up the number line. “1 is where I start, and I move 1 bump to the right! So 1 + 1 equals…”
“2!” students announce with enthusiasm.
“Awesome!” I say as I write in the 2 in the answer box. “Now am I done?”
Some kiddos nod “Yes,” but a few kids actually say, “The iPad! Answer on the iPad!!!”
“Oh, yeah!” I say, and I put the iPad back under the document camera. We already solved the problem… which number do I choose again?” I ask, keeping the student involvement high.
“2!” they tell me. “2!”
I reiterate that “1 + 1 equals 2,” as I press the 2, and the iPad—and the kiddos cheer their applause.
“Let’s practice together!” I announce, and send kids—one work group at a time—to their tables.
Now, if you have kiddos who have lots of iPad practice and aren’t as enthralled with iPads as my little turkeys, you might be able to make this a 1 or 2-problem step. There’s also an iPad option to consider: you can reset all the Math Joy games to get every player back to the first question on Level 1, if you need a lot of guided practice, or you can let the iPads be at various places in the game, depending on where you left of the last time the students used the app.
With my group, I know that Guided Practice is essential, so we all start at Level 1, problem 1. Here’s something really cool: the kids will all have that same 1 + 1 = 2 problem that I just modeled, so I start at the front of the class, and quickly circulate throughout the students as the students complete the steps. (It’s so nice to have the model on the big screen and the freedom to move about the room and help students!) The most important point to establish early is to write the problem first--before any number line work, and definitely before any answering on the iPads!
Some kiddos who are really confident with their addition skills will want to jump ahead, and this can be a challenge. If a student presses an answer too quickly, the equation will disappear from the screen, so recording the addends is critical.
I like to keep the guided practice really guided—and well, I will even swoop in and pick up iPads if a kiddo is having trouble with self control. If it’s too hard to not push buttons, I remove the buttons (and the entire iPad!) during the steps when we need to record the numbers or show the problem on the number line. I sound a little bit like a broken record--nagging with a smile--about writing the numbers first, (because if we don't--we will lose all potential work with the problem!)
With my group, I do the entire Level 1—all 8 problems—together as guided practice, but that might not be essential for all classes.
Level 2 is a great level for independent practice! Here’s the drawback to whole-class guided practice for an entire level: it takes a lot of time, but independent practice is where the fun really happens! What I love about independent practice is that you get to see what the turkeys actually know—not what they can follow along from the overhead or from their neighbors.
Also, differentiation possibilities are amazing! During independent practice, I pull my students who have been struggling significantly, and we continue our guided practice in a small group setting.
The students who really “get” the idea zoom through Level 2, and when they get to Level 3—they get to solve for missing addends! This is so exciting! (It sounds terrible, but I love when those quick, little speedsters have to seriously hit their proverbial brakes and shift gears! I almost hear them say, “Whoa!” but it’s so exciting seeing them have to slow down and think. It’s even more exciting when they figure out the new challenge!) Truly, every student is challenged and enjoying meaningful practice!
After a 2-minute warning, I have the students carefully stack the iPads in the middle of the tables, and I call us over to our meeting spot on the rug so we are not tempted to keep playing. The kids are quick to tell me that they love the iPads, the applause, and all the levels when I ask about their favorite part of the lesson.
When I ask about what was tricky, they are quick to tell me that it’s hard to stop and write what’s on the iPad when they are so used to just zooming through iPad practice. Some kiddos accurately state that the number lines are tricky, and I listen and nod as students report in.
I tend to be a bit of a giant cheerleader in kindergarten, (you may have guessed), but I like to bring them in and have a good “heart to heart” sometimes, and this is as good a time as any. “This was tricky…” I begin, and kiddos agree, but some kids—especially my “Level 3” guys—say that it was cool.
“We had to do something really different with our iPads, though…” I continue, and a couple turkeys say, “Add!” I smile and continue, “Well, we have added before, but we had to stop and write! And mark it on a number line! How was that?” I ask.
A few kiddos note that it’s hard to slow down and write the problems from the iPad before you solve the problem. One little guy says that it was hard to do iPads and number lines. I join in: “There were a lot of steps…” It’s good to acknowledge challenges.
“Still," I persist. “Did you get to use iPads to help you practice your adding skills? Did you get to practice number lines, too?" The students answer “Yes!” each time. Finally, I ask, “Did you have fun practicing iPads and addition?!”
“Yes!!!” students respond.