“Girls and boys,” I begin. We will be working with some new math counters today. We need to break them in and get ready to work with them. Even though it is Hallowee, you still have math to do before we celebrate with our buddies. Do you want to see the counters?” I ask, like a big kid. (I can’t keep acting like it’s “all business” on Halloween.)
The students agree to see our math, without much excitement, and then---THEN I bust out a big box of gummy treats!
They smile so big, and a few kiddos shout “Hooray!”
We are going to work so hard with these yummy little counters, but we will have SO. MUCH. FUN! We will sort, we will graph, and we will even ADD!
Everyone will get their own baggie of gummy snacks, but we will have the same possible shapes. Let’s color our sorting mats so we can get ready to get started.
The helper of the day passes out the sorting sheets, and we color the shapes according to color. After the mats are all ready, we agree that we are ready for our gummy counters. First, though, we get a quick squirt of “magic soap” (hand sanitizer) since my classroom doesn’t have a sink.
Next, students each get one baggie of Halloween gummy snacks, which they are instructed to open and immediately sort. Before even getting graphs, we begin observing our different groups of candies, using comparative terms like “more” and “less.”
Graphs are distributed, and we each graph the candies that are own are particular mats. I make a point to talk to as many kids as possible, stretching them to compare the numbers in their sorts.
For students who finish early, the packet of free activities includes an addition page, even! Wow, oh, wow! This math is good—chock full of possibilities! Now, the kiddos who finish quickest and really understand math will do the addition page without question, but the kiddos who struggled with graphing will finish and want to do addition. With the symbols and no room to add the accompanying numbers, these little guys need a little support to finish the last piece of their math for the day.
After a 2-minute warning, we clean up and wrap up. We talk about the fun activities and the delicious counters. Kiddos seem confident and joyful… and ready for their Halloween celebration! In spite of the holiday, we had a meaningful, fun, day of math!