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.
We watch and sing to the videos that we watched in the previous measuring lessons in this unit. We use this as a review for height, length and weight. After we watch each video we discuss the attribute that each video reflects. After the last video, I hold up a large stuffed bear and ask the kids to describe it the best they can using it's attributes. I prompt them when they get stuck.
I hold up another toy (a large Ironman "doll" with sound). I ask the kids to compare Ironman to the bear. They say things like it's shorter and heavier (it really is heavier) than the bear.
I then hold up two random objects from my computer table and I pull names randomly from a name stick jar. I ask the kids to make a statement comparing the two objects using height, weight or length. Since my class has a large number of English as a Second Language students, if the struggle with stating it in a complete sentence, I have them state their ideas and then I have them repeat a complete sentence that I provide for them. I also provide sentence stems when appropriate.
We do this for the time allotted.
For guided practice, I have the kids go back to their tables where I have placed a container of random classroom objects. They choose one object each and compare them using height, weight or length. I guide them through the activity step by step:
1) Partner A chooses an object from the container.
2) Partner B chooses an object from the container.
3) They set the objects side by side on the table.
4) Partner A states one comparison statement (e.g. Your object is taller than mine.)
5) Partner B states one comparison statement about the two objects. It is expected to be different than Partner A's statement unless Partner B is a second language learner. If he or she is, then repeating Partner A would be acceptable early in the year.
I guide them through three rounds before releasing them to do it independently.
The independent practice is played exactly the same way as the guided practice. I roam the room and support the kids in language and comparing as needed. Surprisingly, the kids do well and need little support.
I begin to ask random students questions to explain their thinking which helps them to solidify their thinking. I ask questions like, "Why did you say that your object is taller?" They are always open ended and always require an explanation rather than a one word answer.
About half-way into the independent practice, I have the tables rotate the containers of objects as each box has a unique collection of objects. This keeps the activity fresh and interesting to the kids, which in turn prevents undesired behavior problems.
We continue with the independent practice until time is up.
We gather back onto the rug and we share some of the learning moments we had. I choose the kids randomly from the name stick cup and ask them to share one idea, suggestion or "aha" moment they had during the activity.
The kids are also encouraged to ask questions of each other to gain clarification or get more information. This supports the speaking and listening standards.
One student pointed out that it was helpful to use classroom objects to compare height, weight, and length because it made it "real" for him.
The exit ticket is fun and simple. There are three sections on a sheet of paper. In each section there is a representation of a specific comparison.
The kids are asked to put an X on section that shows comparing weight, a circle on the objects that show comparing length, and a square around the section that shows comparing height.
As I collect the pages, I place them in two piles:
Meets (continue lessons as planned)
Falls Far Below (immediate small group and/or individual coaching for intensive intervention)