“Do you wanna know a secret?” I whisper for effect.
Of course they do! The students get so excited!!!
“I have a favorite number. I bet you do too, right?” I call on some students to share their favorite numbers. (So many of them love 100! So funny! I think they think it is the biggest number ever!)
“Well, friends,” after a couple minutes of favorite-number sharing, “My favorite number is 7—our number this week!” I declare.
Let’s practice our number 7 writing poem: “Across the sky; slide down from heaven. That’s the way to make a 7!” We repeat it a few times, making imaginary 7s on our imaginary “chalkboards in the sky.”
I make a big 7 on our white board, and then I pass a white board marker to 6 students who write their 7’s around the 7 in the middle, to create at total of 7 7’s on the board.
Meanwhile, the group keeps practicing on our “white boards in the sky,” tracing invisible 7’s again and again, reciting the number-writing poem.
“Let’s find out how we will practice 7 today!” I announce.
At the “teacher table,” we work on the All About the Number 7 Practice page together, focusing on proper formation and matching the quantity 7. We go through each portion of the practice together. A big change this week is the inclusion of dominoes instead of number cubes. I have an assortment of dominoes with 7 dots on the table, and each student chooses one domino to copy on his or her 7 page. A couple really observant kiddos notice more than one combination of dots makes 7, which is amazing.
The Bumpy Boards were getting a little stale, so I include 7’s with a similar format, but with “big kid” colored pencils. The colored pencils are the “novelty” aspect of the week, as we use them for a couple Word Work activities in the morning, but they’re not part of the daily “routine.” Rainbow Numbers 7 seem to be interesting enough for the kiddos this week, and relatively no prep or clean up.
Watercolor 7's are another fun opportunity to practice 7 with paints, but they also have 7 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 stress the importance of painting the seven objects inside the 7s first, and they really seem to be attentive to the tips.
There’s an 7 Somethings page that I present as our last “job.” The students seem excited about this new activity. They can draw anything they want, just as long as there are 7 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 7 have to fit on the 7 Somethings page, and they must be labeled with numbers: 1, 2, 3, etc… all the way to 7. They nod their heads in agreement.
Finally, our 10-frame number labeling activity utilizes 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 7. I remind students how to decompose 7—after they have already been “checked off” for showing and labeling 7 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 7’s on their 10-frame mats when I see their hands up, which is the signal we established early in the year. I try to get a 1:1 aide for a student with special needs to help, especially when “her student” is in that area, but well, 1:1 aides are 1:1 for a reason, and she is soon out of the room with her student, and it’s back to being me and 21 friends. 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.
Right after math, we have to go to our “specials” classes, so we have rush through our closing.
The kiddos actually seemed to like the colored pencil Rainbow Writing 7s. (I personally was not super thrilled with it, and I did notice that despite a rather warm review at the end of the lesson, I had to redirect kiddos at that table a few more times than I’d like. For goodness’ sake, I was already running between 2 jobs! Redirecting kiddos on a third table is just not fun!)
The watercolor 7’s are an engaging, entertaining activity, but I really want to be sure they’re not just having fun painting. Painting is fun, yes, but it’s important to keep that focus on tying the numeral 7 to the quantity. So I bring it up here and really get them talking about the 7s. If I had a helper or an assistant, I would be sure to have that person get the kiddos talking while painting their 7s.
The kiddos say that the 10-frame mats are taking a long time to get finished. They say they’re doing “really good” getting their counters out and writing little 7s by the mats, but its taking a long time to get me over so they can count their 7s.
This is the best part about student feedback: I will take their comments and change things up for next week.