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 goal of this lesson is for the the students to fluently be able to set up a subtraction or addition problem correctly. They must understand that in order to take some away, the initial quantity has to be more than the amount being taken. Once the students have set up the dice in the correct order, they record the equation and their partner checks it before they solve.
To begin the lesson, I read Teddy Bear Counting and think aloud the mathematical operations that take place in the story. I act the math with plastic counting bears. I stress the larger number being where we start in a subtraction problem. I use a doc cam to act out the story. If you don't have a doc cam, you can use an overhead projector and counting bear transparencies.
When I am finished going through book, I demonstrate how to roll the dice organize the equation. I demonstrate the roll and set up of the problem several times before I begin guided instruction.
For guided instruction, I have my students sit with their working partners. The partners are prearranged by me based on their academic achievement levels. High students are paired with Med-low, Med-high students are paired with low achievement students. Anymore than two levels difference between achievement levels will frustrate both partners and cause behavior problems.
Once the kids are sitting with their partners, I have the helpers of the day pass out baggies with three dice (two number dice and one sign dice). I have all the partner A;s roll their sign dice at the same time. I tell them that if they roll an addition sign, they can put the numbers they are about to roll in any order, but if the roll a subtraction sign, the larger number has to go first (in front of the subtraction sign). I then have them roll their number dice and stop. I walk around the room to each pair of students and have them show me how they are going to set up the equation and ask them to explain to me why they are setting them up that way. I support any teams that are struggling or are unsure.
Once I confirm that all of the teams have accurately set up their equations, I have the partner whose turn it is record the problem on a white board and solve. I have, in the past, had them record the equations on paper for me to collect. This works well for accountability in centers.
I continue guiding the teams in this manner for the remainder of the guided instruction time.
I spend more time on the closure of this lesson than others because it very complex and challenging for kindergarteners. The good news is that with patience and a ton of guidance, the kids actually can do it and they can even begin coaching each other.
I gather them on the floor as the daily class helpers collect the materials. I ask the kids what they learned from the activity. I give them 30 seconds to silently think through their response. Once the timer goes off, they are given 30 more seconds to tell their talking partner what they learned (Partner A speaks first). The talking partners are not the same partner they played the game with. I then give Partner B 30 seconds to tell Partner A what they learned while playing the game. They are not allowed to say the same thing as Partner A unless they are pre-immergent second language learner or severely special ed in math.
I record their responses and we discuss what the found easy and what they found difficult.
One thing that was resounding was how helpful they found the activity