Positions- Using Positional Terms

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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. In this lesson, students will use their knowledge of positional vocabulary to "Clean Up" the classroom.

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:

Follow these directions.  Place the train on the tracks.  Place the bird above a cloud.  Place the rabbit under a tree.  Place the plane anywhere and describe where you put it.

This problem can incorporate several students.  I had four different students come up and place the objects.  The problem requires students to show that they are able to understand and use the new positional vocabulary words. 

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I start this lesson by having the students sit on the perimeter of the carpet.  I then review the positional vocabulary words.  I pull out the teddy bear and box and show students a visual representation of each word.  Words include: in, above, below, beside, behind, next to, under, on, and in front of.  In the middle of the carpet, I place a pile of classroom objects. 

Someone came into our classroom and made a mess!  We need to clean it up, but there is a problem, I forgot where these things go.  I am going to need some help!

I pick up a pair of scissors and ask a student to tell me where to put them.  I make the student give very specific directions about where exactly in the classroom.  The students think it is funny because I act like I have never been in the classroom. The students need to be very clear and use positional words.  I continue this with the other objects on the carpet.  This is a great was to see if students are able to use these terms.  I then tell students that they are going to be practicing the vocabulary that we learned on a Positional Words Worksheet.

We are going to work on this paper together.  When you get to your seat, you need to get out a pencil and put your name on your paper.  You may then begin to cut out the pictures on the second page.  Cut on the dotted lines and put your cut out pictures in your pencil box so that they do not get lost.   When you are finished, put your head down.  That will let me know that you are ready to start.

I use the procedures outlined here on the Paper Procedures.

Cut out the pictures on the next page. Follow teacher directions to glue them in the correct place.

I am going to read you several directions.  You need to listen carefully to the directions and glue the pictures in the correct place.  I will give you time after each step to find your picture and glue it on.

I walk around after I read each direction and help students who are having trouble figuring out where to glue it on.  I then pick a student to come and glue the picture on my copy which is projected on the SMART board.  During the last step, I listen to students discuss where they put the horse 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.  Check it out here.  I play a game similar to the one that we played in whole group yesterday.

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 explain where they put the horse.  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 practiced using positional words.  Tomorrow, we are going to continue to review positional words."