Attention Grabber: Introduction
“Hey friends,” I begin, “You know how when I ask you about your favorite part about Math Work Stations, you say, ‘Rolling the number cubes’ pretty much every day?”
Students nod & respond from our “meeting spot” on the rug, “Yes.”
“Well, today, we are rolling number cubes to practice adding on the number line!” I announce.
One of my turkeys interjects, “We’re doing number line work stations?!”
Oh, boy… We are wearing our turkey hats on this day before Thanksgiving, and my buddies, whom I repeatedly call “my turkeys” with love, are really living up to their “titles.”
“Actually, we are working on addition with number lines, using number cubes, just like the ones we use for our math work stations,” I clarify.
“We are also going to use a bead to keep our spots on the number line!” I declare.
“You will get a bead like this,” I announce, holding up a plastic pony bead for the class to see. “It doesn’t have to be your favorite color—you just need a bead that you can move on your number line.”
“You will also need a number line page like this,” I continue, projecting our work page with the document camera on “the big screen.”
“And now… your favorite part: the number cube! Do we just roll & roll the number cube? No! We are rolling the number cubes to get the numbers that we will add together! Let’s start our practice together!” I say, as I send the kids out to the tables.
Now, some logistical notes: I do not distribute any supplies before we need them. It’s just too tempting to have extra “stuff” around! I ask my helper of the day to help me pass out the Roll & Add Down the Line papers that have been copied double-sided so there’s plenty of options for kiddos who might finish fast.
While my helper is passing out papers and kiddos are writing their names, I am distributing pony beads. I avoid the white and black beads in favor of beads that will “stand out” against the colors on the page. A few times, I remind friends with a smile, “Now remember, this bead is just for math. It’s not your new favorite color…”
I like to make the kiddos the stars of our lessons, so I ask a student to come up and roll a number cube to get us started. We all watch on the big screen as a girl rolls a 3, and then we all write the 3 in the box for the first addend on the left of the page. I quickly check to see that all kiddos have written the 3.
Next, I call another student—from a different part of the room—to come up and roll. We all watch as another student with a silly turkey hat rolls the number cube, and together, we declare the number showing on the big screen: “4!”
“What do we do?” I ask.
“Write the number!” students reply. I walk around again to be sure that the turkeys are actually writing “4” for the second addend.
“Okay, so we rolled to get our addition sentence, and we wrote it down,” I continue, “What do we do next?”
Some kiddos say “Add it up!” but I interject quickly, “With our number lines & our beads!!!”
“So, we start our beads…” I hesitate, waiting for direction from the turkeys.
“At 0!” students announce.
“Let’s all find 0 on our number lines right now,” I say, and I go around to make sure the kiddos have moved their bead to the 0.
Convinced that we’re ready to begin, (which is actually really necessary!), I talk us through our first addition sentence, “Okay, we move to 3, because that was the first number we rolled, our first addend,” I say, and quickly move my bead, projected on the big screen to 3. Then I cruise the room, watching the turkeys and helping them get moving, when necessary.
After quickly returning to the front of the room, I ask, ”So from 3, I bump my bead up 4 on the number line, like this,” as I demonstrate “bumping” the bead from 3 up to 7. “Let’s do that now!”
Again, I walk around and watch all the kiddos moving their beads. I may linger a little longer by some students, but I make sure I see all students moving their beads. It’s fun to hear some of the turkeys singing our Addition Number line Shuffle song as they move their beads “to the right.”
I circulate back up front and sum up the number sentence, with the turkeys joining in: ”3 + 4 equals 7!” we all say with exuberance.
This process is repeated a few more times with my class, so that we have the entire left side completed together. (Some classes may not need as much guided practice, but this works for my turkeys, especially right before a long holiday weekend, wearing turkey hats on our heads!)
“We have the hang of this, friends! Let’s get practicing!” I announce.
Some of the turkeys cheer. (We get happy about addition.)
I pass out the containers of number cubes so students can get rolling. Some kiddos have smaller number cubes, and some students have cubes that go all the way up to 5 on a side, so they can get sums of 10. It’s instant differentiation!
I keep circulating constantly, but soon I realize that some of my turkeys aren’t quite independent, and I pull a few of them to a table where we practice in a much more guided format. We still roll the number cube and move our beads, but we roll one number cube for our group and then we all practice together. It’s pretty guided, to be honest, but I pull my involvement back as students build skills and confidence.
After a two-minute warning when it seems like most of us have had plenty of practice—and success—we return to the meeting spot to talk about the lesson.
One kiddo says, “I got it! I don’t get confused with number lines anymore!” Hallelujah! I think, but I just smile.
When asked about their favorite part, I get classic kindergarten answers. “I liked rolling!” or “I liked that my bead was so pretty!” or “I liked getting 10 for the answer. That’s a big number.”
Nothing beats the declaration of getting the concept, though.
Usually, after our lesson wrap-up, we take a bathroom & drink break, but I took a quick picture of my turkeys all “turkey-ed up” in their turkey hats. They sure are cute turkeys!