“Hey, Friends What number has a letter inside it?!?? I ask with excitement.
Students look at me like I’m crazy. Again. (I love the crazy look—it means they’re listening!)
“Well, let’s practice our number writing poem: ‘Make an S but do not wait, go back up to make an 8! Kiddos say, “Oh!” in recognition of the letter S in the poem, and we repeat it a few times.
I make a big 8 on our white board, and then I pass a white board marker to 7 students who write their 8’s around the 8 in the middle, to create at total of 8 8’s on the board.
As individual students write on the white board, the rest of us are writing on our “white boards in the sky,” as I like to call them, tracing invisible 8’s again and again, reciting the number-writing poem.
“Let’s talk about our jobs!” I announce.
At the “teacher table,” we work on the All About the Number 8 Practice page together, focusing on proper formation and matching the quantity 8. We go through each portion of the practice together. In particular, making the tally marks for 8 is challenging for most students, so we go very slowly and carefully at the end.
Keeping a fun, multi-sensory practice opportunity is important, and we introduce Finger Paint 8’s with this lesson. I choose a few colors of finger paint & I put them in shallow containers—enough so that I don’t need to be refilling them halfway through our practice today. I also make a small pile of paper towels that I have cut with scissors to make big enough to wipe paint off fingers. I demonstrate how to use finger paint carefully, and I stress that we need to make 8’s—not blobs of paint.
Watercolor 8’s are another fun opportunity to practice 8 with paints, but they also have 8 objects inside, so the quantity is tied to the numeral. There’s still the playful aspect of painting with watercolors, but good practice is included. I demonstrate how to rinse the paint brushes in between colors, (and I also give tips like “Use less water to get your paint colors darker.” They really like those tips!)
There’s an “8 Anythings” page that I present on an “extra” table for fast finishers. Sometimes, a job can get done quickly, so I present the activity so everyone stays busy. I love the concept of 8 “anythings”—the kiddos can draw anything they want, just as long as there is 8 of them. We brainstorm a few ideas for things we can draw, and I stress that each student can choose something he or she like or he or she is really good at drawing—there’s only 2 rules: all 8 have to fit on the “8 Anythings” page, and they must be labeled with numbers: 1, 2, 3, etc… all the way to 8. They nod their heads in agreement.
Finally, our 10-frame number labeling activity utlilizes the same fun pumpkins and scarecrow mats that I am really using throughout fall. I place them on different colored backgrounds for each group of 5—chosen in colors that look like colorful fall leaves. (I do this so I can quickly distribute the groups of mats.)
The counters this week are small orange counters to resemble pumpkins. I have small green counters available if students need an extension to show different ways of showing 8. I remind students how to decompose 8—after they have already been “checked off” for showing and labeling 8 successfully. I remind them also that they will be expected to actually touch each circle as they count their mats.
We work at each “job” for about 10 minutes, with the All About the Number table setting the pace. On at least one group, will need 11 or 12 minutes, so our pace is adjusted to reflect the needs of the group.
I jump over and have kiddos count their 8’s on their 10-frame mats when I see their hands up, which is the signal we established early in the year. I won’t lie—especially when I have a kiddo who needs extra support at the “teacher table,” it’s hard to literally jump over and help kids, even in an adjacent area. I feel like I need to be in 2 places at one time, and I really wish I had a student teacher or a volunteer. Another big person would be super useful!
Right after math, we have to go to our “specials” classes, so we have rush through our closing.
I ask how the finger paint 8s went today, and they unanimously say, “Good!” or “Great!” I note that some 8’s clearly look like 8’s, but I saw a few blobs… Someone says, “But that paint is so blob-y!” We giggle.
The watercolor 8’s are going good, but they note that the water gets dark in the rinse containers. We quickly brainstorm a few options to keep the water less murky, (I like to introduce new vocabulary at moments when the kiddos are concerned and there’s lots of context), and the only student opposed to the option of putting less paint on the paintbrush before it needs to be rinsed is (of course!) the student who wastes the most paint. Some solutions take time to get in place, but some kiddos were receptive.
The kiddos say that it’s taking longer to put the counters on the 10-frame mats, but they say they’re getting better at it. I ask for more information, and they say that they keep the counters in the boxes better and when I come over to check their counting, they are “really good” at touching each counter as they count it. I agree with a smile.
The trickiest thing, today, the students say, was tally marks for 8. Ah, tally marks! I realize, as well, that tally marks are at the bottom of the page, when I’m jumping back and forth to check 8’s on 10-frames. I promise to help with tally marks before I jump over to check 10-frames.