We walk in from lunch and sit on the rug in our “meeting spot.” Students, 1 at a time, write the numbers we have learned so far, in order on our white board easel. The numbers are different colors and sizes, and they are not written left-to-right in order. The counting is consecutive, but students are writing by where friends wrote a number or in an open spot or in other seemingly random places on the board. I’m not super stressed about this, because we are involved, engaged, and simply tying written numerals to spoken numbers.
My helper of the day erases all of our “warm up” numbers, and I write a “12” on the board. “Two-teen!” I say with a smile, and the kids yell, “Noooo!!!”
“Well, that’s what it means, right?” I ask. “A 10 and 2 extra ones,” I say, as I write dots in the shape of a ten-frame and then 2 additional dots below.
“What is that number that means ’10 and 2 extra ones?” I ask.
“12!” students exclaim.
“Let’s practice 12… now!”
As we have with other number practice days, we have a combination of mostly independent activities and a teacher table to build the “concept” of 12. We “walk through” the activities, going to each location.
A favorite activity is watercolor numbers. We have a big, puffy 12 with 12 triangles total embedded in the 12. I model painting the triangles first, and counting each as I paint. We talk briefly about dipping the brush between colors and technical issues… unfortunately, with the exception of “applied” watercolor painting, we don’t have too many opportunities to simply paint, so we teach painting techniques along with number sense. The kids absolutely love painting the numbers.
In an attempt to mix things up, I try to bring “pokey pin” numbers as part of our 12 practice. Now, I know this one is a little limited when I write it in my activities for my lesson, and almost instantly, I am wondering WHY I included this as a considerable component of my lesson. It’s very straightforward—take an oversized pushpin and poke away at the 12 to practice making the numeral. It’s not tied to a quantity or even the count series, but I thought the kids would like poking out the number. The problem is, even though I stress that to be “done” with this activity, you really need to have the numeral fully poked through, I notice there is no official “done” indicator…other than a completely poked “12,” which I don’t have the time to entirely model.
My next activity goes back to the very basics of number practice—our oldest 10-frames and lima beans. It’s as basic as it gets, but the kids love it. It’s comfortable and familiar, and even though 12 is a confusing, honestly in some ways baffling number, the familiarity of the ten frame and lima beans have a comforting element. I model placing one bean in each square, with 2 extra beans below the ten-frame, and then counting by placing a finger on each bean to count.
The guided activity, the “All About the Teen Number 12” page is formatted like the 11 page, and we do many of the same procedures. I mix markers for some coloring, crayons for others, and I lean on that group of 10 cubes and the 2 extra ones like nobody’s business! By that, I mean that when a student tries to write that 12 is 10 + 1, I simply ask the kiddo to count her cubes. She corrects her own number, and all I have to do is smile! The boxes for writing the 12s are super helpful as well. The 12s must be contained fully within the boxes, so there is some help with planning where to place the 1 and the 2. It also sets the bar a little high with fine motor skills—kiddos simply can’t write enormous 12s… even if they want to. Boundaries are good—even on number writing practice!
The activity part of the lesson lasts about 35 minutes total. Each of the 4 activities takes about 8 minutes, (although some kiddos are thinking they’re done with pokey pins in 3 minutes. Oh vey!). The “pace” is set by the guided group, and I leave a minute or two to clean up our area before moving on.
We almost always have the same situation at the end of math—we’re happy, we’re busy, we’re straightening up, and we are late to get to PE or some other “special” class. Now I’m not complaining—but I stretch teaching so long, that the lesson closing on these multiple “station” activities can get hectic.
Today, our lesson literally ends as we are lining up for PE. I’m asking students as they join us in line random questions like “What did we practice today?” or “What does 12 represent?” We get a quick fix on our favorite parts of the lesson, and even though I am not thrilled with the pokey pin 12s, the kids really seem to like the “different” activity. Kindergartners are so easily happy!