Each day we begin our math block with an interactive online calendar followed by counting songs and videos.
My class does calendar on Starfall. 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:
We do daily counting practice to reinforce the counting skills. In the first two to three weeks of school, we watch two to three number recognition 0-10 videos (one to two minutes each) until all students can identify numbers correctly in random order. Depending on time, we may watch "Shawn the Train" and count objects with him. I may also choose to rotate songs, videos and counting depending on time and skill needs. As the students become more proficient at counting and number identification, I begin to add additional skills such as counting to 20 forward and back, counting by tens to 100 and counting to 100 by ones.
I begin the lesson by reading 5 Little Bunnies Hopping on a Hill. Any counting 5 book would work with this lesson. It is okay and encouraged to read the same book for more than one lesson. It helps to develop a pattern of counting in young minds without distraction by literary content. Just make sure the story is fun and engaging so it will keep the kids interested and actively engaged in counting no matter what academic achievement level they are on.
It sounds like this:
Me: As I read the story I think aloud the combinations of 5 that are presented on each page. For instance on the seventh page there are four little bunnies. I say, "There were five bunnies. Now there are only four. How many more do I need to make five?" I hold up a 5-frame with four filled in spots to help them visualize what I am asking.
Me: (after I read the next page) Oh no, one of the bunnies was bit by a mole! Now how many little bunnies are there now?
Me: How many bunnies have we lost?
Me: So 3 and 2 is 5 (again I hold up a 5-frame. This time is has three spots filled in)
I continue in this pattern for the rest of the book.
I hold up a number tower of 3. Then I hold it in my hands in a way that the kids can't see the tower. I break it into two random pieces. I hold one piece up and hid the other piece behind my back. I ask the kids, "If I am trying to make 3, how many are hiding behind my back?" (I am holding up 2 cubes)
Students: 1 (They are all holding up 1 fingers) I take mental note of those who do not respond, or respond only after they looked around at the other students' responses.
Me: Let's see, and I pull the other part of the tower from behind my back. I put the tower back together and I have the kids repeat, "2 and 1 is 3."
I continue to do this over and over using different combinations that make 3 or 4.
I make sure to include combinations using 0 (3+0, 0+4). Discuss any confusion or misunderstandings the kids may have about the concept of 0.
We continue like this until our time is up and then the kids go to their tables.
I have the kids go to their table and I ask a few helpers to pass out whiteboards and markers.
We practice a few more combinations the same way as the guided practice, but with no support from me. They are asked to write the number of cubes that are hiding and draw that number of cubes.
It is important for the kids to write their responses because I want to engage as much of the brain as possible to get them fluent as quickly as possible. Now they will see, hear, say and write the combinations that make 3 and 4. (If they appear ready, I do help them record the appropriate number sentence that goes with each combination.)
I first hold up a 4 tower. I break off 2 and hide them behind my back. I ask, "How many are hiding?" Write it down on your whiteboard and then draw the number of cubes that are missing. When you are finished, hold up your board. I take a mental note of those who look around at other boards before writing on their own.
Let's say it together, 2 and 2 is 4. One more time, 2 and 2 is 4. At this point, if I feel they're ready, I show them how to write out the equation and they copy it onto their whiteboards.
We erase our boards.
Let's do another one. I hold up a 3 tower and say, "This was a four tower. Hmmm. How many are hiding now? Write it on your board and draw that number of cubes."
We continue like this for the rest of the period.
We gather back on the floor and discuss what we have learned about combinations that make 3 and 4. Since this is an introductory lesson, I don't give an Exit Ticket. I simply use observations of the students and make note of them.
As we discuss what combinations we made, I record them on two separate bubble maps. One for 3 and one for 4.
Me: What combinations of 3 can you remember we made? I pull a name stick from the stick can.
Student 1: 2 and 1 is 3
Me: Yes it is! Good job. (I record the combination on our bubble map for 3)
Student 2: 3 and 0 is 3
Me: Good! (I record it on the poster) Is that all of them?We continue until we have all the combinations of 3 and 4 listed. I have them use their fingers to help remember all the combinations of 3 and 4. The wrap the fingers of their other hand around some or all of the fingers they are holding up so they can show the two parts of the combination.