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.
The direct instruction for this is very simple. Kids grasp on to concept of measurement quickly and the Measurement and Data strand of the Common Core is not a critical area of instruction. It is considered an introductory concept so it is best to make it fun and little stress.
I begin this lesson with a video that is a Sesame Street introduction to all three measurement concepts (height, length, and weight). It's fun and the kids love it.
As we watch the second video, I stop occasionally to have the kids participate and share which one they think is heavier.
The last video prepares the kids for the objective of the day, measuring weight. I use this one to get the discussion about weight going. Since most of the kids get the concept of weight quickly, we start comparing the weight of objects right away in this lesson.
For the guided practice, I walk around the room with a variety of objects in hand (good to wear a pocket apron for this one). I hold up two objects for each child (one at a time) and ask which object they think is heavier. I then have them hold the two objects and they share with the class which one is actually heavier.
The other kids are voting for which object they think will be heavier as I go to each student. The students may decide for themselves, or they may turn to their peers for advice.
In this video, a student states which object is heavier and then, after actually feeling their weight is challenged to confirm or correct their prediction.
In pairs, the students weigh large objects against small object using a balance scale.
The materials are prepared and placed on the table in a rectangle bucket before we begin the math block of the day. Once everyone has had a turn at predicting which object is heavier, I send them to their tables with a partner.
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.
They put large bears (or other objects on one side of the balance scale and small bears in the other side. There job it to tell their partner how many smaller objects they think will weigh the same as the larger one.
As the kids work with their partners, I roam the room supporting them in any way necessary. I found that one of the girls in my class was struggling with the concept of heavier and lighter. I had her meet me at the horseshoe table (see video) and show me which group of bears was heavier, the one large bear or the three small bears. Because she had it stuck in her head that the large bear was heavier than a small bear, she assumed that the large bear would be heavier than the three small bears together. She struggled with this as I had her weigh them. As seen in the video, she chooses the large bear as being heavier even though the three small bears clearly weighed more. After a short interaction with me at the intervention (horseshoe) table, she was able to identify that the large bear was actually lighter and that it is not about size, but weight.
I encourage the kids to discuss their ideas with each other and I randomly ask students to explain what they are doing, why they are doing it and how they are doing it. This helps the kids develop a conceptual understanding of what is being learned.
In kindergarten, the kids are expected to be introduced to weight and measurement and the idea of comparing weight and measurement attributes. They are not expected to master any challenging weight or measurement concepts.
Once the independent practice is over, I gather the kids back together on the rug. I call on students randomly by pulling names from a name stick jar.
I ask them to share one thing that they learned today. If their answers are too vague, I ask probing questions until I have answers that reflect higher level thinking and a conceptual understanding of the skill.
The kids are also encouraged to ask questions of each other so if a student states what they've learned today and it sparks a question in another students mind, then a question should be asked.
For instance, Anelyse was expressing her surprise when the large bear weighed less than three of the smallest bears. She thought it would be much more. Another student was curious and asked why she thought it would more than two or three bears. She told the class that because the bear looked so big, she thought it would way a lot more. A third student chimed in and asked if anyone had noticed that the big bear had a hole in the bottom (it was sunken in and hollow). The class said no so he showed them how the bear wasn't solid. He compared it to a hollow chocolate bunny being lighter than it looked.
The exit ticket for this lesson is a simple weight comparison page. There are four sets of pictures. For the first two sets of pictures, the students are asked to circle the object that is heavier. For the last two sets of pictures, the kids are asked to circle the object that is lighter. At the bottom, they are asked to put a rectangle around the heaviest object and a triangle around the lightest.
As I collect the completed sheets, I sort them into three categories:
Meets - no errors
Approaches - one error or two errors
Falls Far below - 2 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.