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.
This is one of my favorite lessons! It is fun and engaging and the kids love it!
To begin, I read It Was Halloween Night: A Scary Math Story-- With Tangrams. This book, written by Grace MacCarone and Marilyn Burns, is published by Scholastic. It comes with tangrams to make the Halloween shapes in the story. If you don't have this book, you can skip the story and still create shapes - or even better - create shapes and make up stories along with the students.
I set up my doc cam and read the story. As I read, I build the tangram shape that is in the book so the kids can see how it's done. Students vote on their favorite tangram Halloween shape. Every year, the bat wins!
After I finish reading the story, I demonstrate the job they will be doing. I choose a random geopuzzle and build it under the doc cam. Next, students interactively help me to sort and count the pieces so I can demonstrate how t o record the data on the recording sheet.
Me: I write my name at the top of the paper like this. I put it on the right side of the paper like this.
Now I build the puzzle and then I will count each type of block. Watch how I do this. (I build a bird.) After I finish building the bird, I point to the first shape on the recording sheet. I take each block off the puzzle board one at a time and stack them, by shape, on the recording sheet. When the shapes are all off the puzzle page, I count the total number of each shape and record it. I do the same for all the shapes.
We go over the sheet together when I am finished recording all of the pieces.
For guided practice, I have the kids do their first puzzle (they all have a different one) and then raise their hand. I bring them a recording sheet but tell them that because we are going to count the pieces and record that data together, they are not to start that work until everyone is ready. Once everyone has built their puzzle and received a recording sheet, it sounds like this:
Me: Hands up! (The signal that we are going to start) Hands in your lap!
Take your finger and touch the first shape. I wait until they are all doing it.
What shape is that?
Me: Good job! Now carefully take all of the hexagons out of your puzzle and stack them on the recording sheet. I wait for all of them to get done with this part.
Now count how many hexagons you have from your puzzle and record how many hexagons you have and write it down on your recording sheet. By collecting and recording data, Kindergarten students are modeling their thinking with mathematics (MP4).
We follow this pattern for the rest of the shapes.
For independent practice, the kids are asked to build, sort, and count two more puzzles on their own. They are reminded that it is important to put the name of the puzzle on each recording sheet. Each puzzle has a title printed on it that they can copy.
To make it easier, I have them fold the recording sheet in half (long way) so they are only looking at one recording sheet at a time.
I give 25 minutes to build, sort, count and record. Students are addressing - MP5:Use appropriate tools strategically, and MP6: Attend to precision - when using the geoblock "tools" and then sorting/counting the shapes accurately.
I walk around the room and monitor while the kids work, assisting any that need extra guidance or who struggle with the recording of their shapes.
After all the puzzle pieces (geoblocks) have been cleaned up and put away, we meet on the floor for a quick closure.
I ask the following questions:
1) What is one thing you learned in math today?
Here are some examples of our math discussion.
Student: I learned that you can make a hexagon out of triangles.
Me: Did you count it as a hexagon or did you count it as triangles?
Student: I counted the triangles, but they still made a hexagon.
Me: You are right! You can make a hexagon out of triangles. I like how you remembered we were counting each shape, and still counted them as triangles on your recording sheet.
Another student: I learned that all of the same shapes were the same color like all the hexagons are yellow. So we were sorting by shape and color at the same time.
Me: Wow! That's right! We did sort by shape and color today. That was a great observation. Does everyone understand that? Does anyone have any questions about that?
Student (one of my "new" 5 year olds, turned 5 Christmas Day): I don't get it. How are we sorting like that?
Me: Well, let's look at our geoblocks. What shape is this?
Me: What color is it?
Me: Are all the hexagons yellow (asking student who has the concern)?
Me: What shape is this?
Me: What color is it?
Me: Are all the trapezoids blue?
Me: So when you sort the geoblocks, you are also sorting by color because each kind of shape has it's own color.
Student: Oh! I get it!
2) Is there anything we could do to make this activity better?
Student: Can we have puzzle papers that don't have color so we have to figure out what shapes go in them?
Me: Of course! That's a great idea. I have a book of them I can copy. We will have to take a little extra time to figure those out. I'll find a day we can do that.
Student: Maybe we could draw the shape and then write how many there are in the puzzle.
Me: We could do that if we use the colored puzzles again. That's a good idea. And if you have a hard time drawing them, you could just trace them like you do in art class.
At this time, we have to end because it's time to go to Music, but the feedback from the kids was very helpful.
The exit ticket is the completed recording sheet. I check them to see if they sorted and counted accurately.
Students that I flag as need extra help (sorting incorrectly based on number recorded) are pulled into a small group for further direct and guided instruction so they will be prepared for our next lesson which involves sorting by color, shape, and size.