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 this lesson by reviewing what we learned in the previous lesson. We go over what the plus sign, subtraction sign, and equal signs mean.
I demonstrate how to do the dice activity the same way we did it the day before. Today's activity is a repeat of the last lessons for practice and to gain a sense of autonomy in setting up the problems.
Caution: The big teacher responsibility is to make sure the kids are doing the activity correctly. You don't want to have your kids practicing the organization of equations incorrectly. Practice makes permanent, not perfect.
Once I done demonstrating, I guide them through the activity step by step.
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.
I guide the kids through the activity step by step several times until the appear ready to take on the job for themselves. I know when that is because the begin trying to get one step ahead of me with each step in the activity.
I remind them that they will be taking turns rolling, organizing and recording with their working partner.
The partners are arranged by me. I place high students with the med-low, and the medium with the low. Placing students any more than two academic levels apart causes frustration and will lead to behavior problems, so be very cautious in how you set your working partners up.
Once the kids are following you without struggle, and beginning to move one step ahead of you in practice, it's time to let them go on their own. I monitor closely as they continue working on their own. I assist teams as needed and pull students into small groups on the floor when necessary.
The biggest struggle is always with subtraction. Understanding that the larger number must come first is a concept that gets away from them easily until they have a firmer grasp of number sense.
One way to help with this problem is to provide the kids with counting cubes so they can see that they must have the larger quantities accounted for first.
We gather on the floor and share what we learned today. We talk about what was easy and what was a struggle.
I ask the kids a couple of open ended questions:
What was one thing that you learned today that you can share with our class?
What is one thing that you still need help with?
I have a name stick can that I use to randomly call on students to answer questions. For my ELL students, I provide a sentence stem to assist them in setting up their thoughts. I also allow them to lean on their peers to help them explain. They may ask their floor partners for support in how to state their thoughts clearly when they are explaining.
The exit ticket is a cut and paste number sentence page. The kids are asked to cut out each piece of the each number sentence. There is one subtraction and one addition number sentence.
Each box for each number sentence has the same character in the corner so they can keep track of the pieces.
Once they complete the exit ticket, I collect them and divide them into two piles, understand and does not understand. Those that do not appear to understand the concepts of addition and subtraction are pulled into a small group the next day. There are usually only a few of them.