Positions- Introducing Vocabulary

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Students will be able to describe the relative positions of objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.

Big Idea

Describing the position of objects and understanding positional vocabulary is an important math skill, and it is also something students will use in their everyday lives. In this lesson, students will explore positional vocabulary in a "Where is it?" game

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start each math lesson with a Problem of the Day.  I use the procedures outlined here on Problem of the Day Procedures.

Today's Problem of the Day:

Match the numerals to the correct group.  Are these numerals in the correct order?  How do you know? 

This problem gives the students 3 groups of pictures to count.  The students need to count the pictures and place the numerals in the correct place.  I call up three different students to do this to get several students involved.   I then ask another student the follow up questions.  The students needs to not only say if the numbers are in the correct order but also how they know.  This problem reviews counting objects, recognizing numerals and ordering numbers to 10. 

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I start this lesson by having the students sit on the perimeter of the carpet.  In the middle of the carpet, I place a teddy bear and a box.  I put the teddy bear in the box and say "The teddy bear is in the box.  Where is the teddy bear?"  I repeat this with the words above, below, beside, behind, next to, under, on, and in front of.  After each term, I have the students repeat where the teddy bear is to practice using the vocabulary.  Check it out here.

We are going to play a game called "Where is it?"  I am going to pick something in the room.  I am going to describe where it is but I am not going to tell you what it is.  Use your eyes to look around the room.  You do not need to get up, I will only pick things that we can all see from sitting here.  If you think you know what it is, raise your hand.

The first object I chose was our class tree.  My first clue was "It is next to the book shelf."  I needed to add several other things that it was next to or beside before someone guessed the tree.  After  I received a correct answer, I walked over to the tree and repeated the clues to be sure all of the students understood each positional term.

Other objects I used were:
- a book that was on the shelf under the tree
- a chair that was behind my desk
- the calendar that was below the letter Y, beside the schedule and on the board. 

Any classroom object would work.  Just be sure to use a variety of terms in the game.  After about 10 minutes, I tell students that they are going to be practicing the new vocabulary that we learned on a Positional Words Worksheet.

We are going to work on this paper together.  When you get to your seat, do not touch your cup of  crayons.  You need to get out a pencil and put your name on your paper.  When your name is on your paper hold your pencil in the air, that will let me know that you are ready to start.

I use the procedures outlined here on the Paper Procedures  Prior to this lesson, I placed a plastic cup at each students' place containing the needed crayons.  This eliminates time lost because students do not have or can not find the correct colors.

Follow teacher directions to color the pictures.

I am going to read you several directions.  You need to listen carefully to the directions and color the correct part of the picture.  I will give you time after each step to color. 

I walk around after I read each direction and help students who are having trouble figuring out what to color.  I then pick a student to come and color it on my copy which is projected on the SMART board.  During the last step, I listen to students discuss what they colored and help with adding more positional vocabulary to their discussions.  When students are finished, I tell them they can put their paper in the basket and get their center.


20 minutes

The centers for this week are:

Shape Monster Book (Hubbardscupboard.org)
My Shape Flip Book (KindergartenCrayons.blogspot.com)
Building Shapes (Teacher Made Resource, craft sticks, fruit loops, noodles and drinking straws )
Shapes - Lakeshore Instant Learning Center
Shapes Adventures SMARTBoard
- Lakeshore Interactive Activity

I quickly circulate to make sure students are engaged and do not have any questions about how to complete the centers.   I pull three groups during centers and work with them depending on the time they need (5 - 10 minutes).

Today I am focusing on positional vocabulary.  I review each of the terms and show their meaning using a cube and two plastic cups.  I play a game similar to the one that we played in whole group. 

Prior to clean up, I check in with each table to see how the centers are going.  I turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean.  Students clean up and return to their seats. This is a paid resource, but there are many free examples of transition songs easily found in a web search.


5 minutes

To close, I put a student's paper on the document camera and project it on the SMART Board.  I have that student describe the object that they colored green using the positional vocabulary that we learned today.  I mention positive things noticed during centers as well as something that needs to be better next time. 

I review what we did during our whole group lesson.  "Today we learned to about some new vocabulary words that we use in math and in our everyday lives.  Tomorrow, we are going to continue to work with these words."