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 100by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.
I begin direct instruction in this lesson by having the kids view and sing with Elmo. They love this video! It gets them so motivated to learn about measurement. When we are finished, I explain that we will be learning about height today and that we will be comparing how tall some objects are.
We then watch the second video which is about two sisters who are building cardboard brick towers and compare to find out whose is taller.
Sesame Street: Measure, Yeah, Measure
Now, student see students experiencing building to measure heights using nonstandard units, in this video from Peep and the Big Wide World.
Measuring: Building and Comparing in "Bricks"
Now that I have them thinking about measuring and comparing how tall things are, it's time to get them building some towers and comparing the heights.
I chose four kids randomly by using the name stick jar. I ask the class to help me put them in a line from left to right from shortest to tallest.
The kids begin yelling out the name of the shortest student standing. The tell me to have him stand to the left. They yell out the next tallest student's name and have me place her next to the shortest student. We do this until they are in the correct order.
I choose five students next and ask the kids to line them up by tallest to shortest this time. This is a little more challenging. They have shortest to tallest on their mind when we begin so I have to restate that this time I would like the kids lined up from tallest to shortest.
They take the clue well and they begin yelling out the tallest person's name and work their way to the shortest.
This kids sit down and i place counting cube towers in random order under the doc cam (representing quantities 1 to 5). I ask the kids to help me put them in order from shortest to tallest. They begin to yell out, but I want this portion of the DI to be more organized and deliberate so I quiet them and then I pull random names from the name stick can. I call on one student at a time to tell me what to do and why. I want them to explain their thinking as the tell me where to put them (MP3). This forces them to think about why they are making the choices the make which strengthens their conceptual skills.
I then place some objects (a variety of small objects collected from around the classroom) under the doc cam and ask them how to line them up from tallest to shortest. Again, I make them explain their thinking. Once we have successfully done this and the kids seem comfortable, i have them go to their tables and prepare for the activity.
On the table is a container of geoblocks. The game is played by Partner A building a tower of any design. He/she then tells his/her partner (Partner B) shorter or taller. Partner B has to follow Partner A's instructions and build a tower of any design that is either shorter or taller based on what his/her partner told him/her.
Partners are assigned with great care in mind. I partner kids according to ability levels. See the demo video below to see how I partner and/or group kids.
Partner B goes first on the next round.
They play like this until time is up. I roam the room and ask questions like, "How do you know your tower is shorter?" or "What would you do if...?"
I experience very little behavior problems during this lesson because the kids love it. The enjoy building the towers and they consider it a contest to meet the requirement of their partner.
We put our supplies away and gather back on the rug to discuss what they learned and experienced.
We talk about any challenges we encounter and any specific understandings we may gain.
I ask a few kids to come up and share what they did based on what I saw while I was roaming and questioning. One team added a third possible directive beside shorter and taller. They added a "same size" category.
The kids really liked this addition to the ideas because some of them were wondering about objects being the same height. The were excited to find out that it's okay to have towers that are the same size.
When we are finished with our discussion, we return to our tables to complete our exit tickets. I dismiss one table at a time to silently walk back to their tables and wait for exit ticket instructions.
This exit ticket has six sets of objects that compare height. Each set is numbered. I have the kids put up their privacy folders to avoid copying from each other. I tell them to circle the tallest object in box 1, 4, 5, and 6. They circle the shortest object in box 2 and box 3. I do not follow the printed directions on the page.
I separate the papers into three categories as I collect them:
Meets - no errors
Approaches - one error or two errors
Falls Far below - 3 or more errors
The meets kids continue with the unit as planned and may also receive challenge lessons. The Approaches kids are asked one at a time to explain their thinking. I find that it is often misidentification of objects that causes the problem with these kids. The FFB kids are pulled into a small group and given further instruction.