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.
This is a tough concept to introduce young children to so it is best done through the use of manipulatives. This concept should be saved for the end of the year.
I use the doc cam and counting snap cubes to show the kids what a fact family is. I first show them three cubes in a tower. I write the number 3 on the top of a poster paper. I break two cubes off in one hand and record the 2 on the poster. I ask the kids how many cubes I have in my other hand. They yell one. I record the 1 on the poster. This is to display the numbers in the fact family. I do not address the equations until the next step. I always start with the addition equations because young children always seem to relate to addition easier than subtraction.
I say to the kids, "Well if I have 1 in this hand and 2 in this hand, I must have 3 because I know that 1+2=3. I record the equation under the 3, 2, 1 on the poster.
I then say, "I can switch those around in my hand and have 2+1=3." I record the equation under the first equation.
I think aloud, "If I can put the cubes together then I can take them apart." I hold up the three tower and I break one cube off. I ask the kids how I could record that on the chart. Several yell out, "3-1=2." I record that equation on the poster.
I put the cubes back together into a three tower. I ask if there are any other equations I could make with the three cubes. It takes awhile, but one student finally says, "Try 3 - 2 = 1." I demonstrate the equation for kids to visualize and then record it on the poster.
Once all of the equations are on the poster, I draw a "house" around the equations. The individual 3, 2 and 1 are in the roof part and the equations are in the living area part (see photo below).
For guided practice we remain on the floor. I have the helper of the day give each student a plastic zipper bag of 10 counting cubes. I instruct the helper to make sure that children sitting near each other have different color cubes which helps with keeping track of manipulatives. They cannot mix them up if they have different colors.
I ask the kids to remove three cubes and make a tower. They copy what I did in the direct instruction portion of the lesson except I do not ask them to record the equations. I only ask them to model them and verbally state them.**
After modeling each of the four 3, 2, 1 fact family equations, SEVERAL times, I ask the kids to go sit at their tables with their learning partners to complete the independent work. 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.
**After reflecting on this lesson, I would give each kid a white board and marker and I would have them record the equations in the future as writing them down helps some of the kids to remember and organize their experiences.
For independent work, the kids are give fact family houses with four equations. Their job is to work with their partner to solve the fact family equations.
As they work together to solve the equations, I roam the room to assist in any way necessary.
The partners are instructed to explain their thinking to each other as they solve the problems. The focus is kept on the calculating and the conceptual understanding of how the numbers relate.
I pull struggling kids into a small group to support them. It serves no purpose to let kids continue to struggle rather than to take the time to provide a safety net in the beginning.
We gather back together on the floor to discuss what we learned, any challenges we faced and any exciting moments we experienced. I also ask the kids to share any suggestions for improving the activity. It is important get student feedback because they are the active learners and as educators we should want to include them in how they learn. When they have a say in the activities that they participate in, they tend to respond better to the learning and are more enthusiastic about gaining the new knowledge.
One student suggested that I make fact family houses with everything filled in, except some of the equations do not belong and they would need to find and cross out those that do not belong.
Another student suggested that I provide four different houses with the three family numbers in the roofs and strips of equations that they can cut and glue into the correct houses.
What wonderful ideas! I believe I will create two more lessons that will look exactly as the kids suggested!