It’s our Spring Intersession break, and I’m teaching the remedial class for kindergarten math. Some kids are here because their parents work and need some place to take their kids before Spring Break next week, but many kids are here because they were referred for extra practice in math.
“Hey, friends!” I begin. “We are going to build teen numbers today!”
They smile, but they’ve heard that before.
“No, really—“ I say, “We are building teen numbers, with craft sticks and beans.”
I show them my ten-stick with 10 beans already glued in a row, and a line up some beans right next to the stick on “the big screen.”
“Oh…” I hear some kiddos murmur.
I saw with a smile, “We are making bean teens!”
I have a bunch of craft sticks that I painted green to be festive. St. Patrick’s Day is next week, and I have the kids looking for leprechauns. The leprechauns are actually leaving us surprises in the mornings, like St. Patrick’s Day pencils, gold nugget candies, and green beads. Hey, if we’re here during vacation, we may as well have fun!
I show the students how to glue 10 drops of white glue in a row on my craft stick. I carefully place one bean on each little dot of glue. (MP.4)
Then I ask our helper to tell me a teen number. She says “15.”
I slide my finger down the 10-stick while saying, “!0, 11-12-13-14-15. Now—why don’t I need to count the beans on the 10-stick?”
“It’s a 10-stick!” a student responds.
“We know there’s 10!” another student adds.
Sticks are distributed, and students write their names on the back and then add 10 beans to their stick. I circulate to make sure that students are accurate, talking with students around the room.
As the 10-sticks are finished, we practice building numbers as a group. Most important, we practice the process of sliding down the stick while saying “10,” then counting the loose beans. For instance, when the class builds 12, we all say, “10…” (while running our finger next to the stick to ‘slide down’) then 11-12,” as we point to the loose beans to the right of the 10-stick.
The teen spinners come in handy as partners take turns spinning the spinner, with the partner building the teen number, and then the partner who spins “sliding down” and saying 10 before counting up to include the “loose” beans in the teen number total.
After one partner is the spinner/checker, the roles switch, so the second partner gets to spin and check while the other partner’s creates a representation of the new teen number (MP.4).
We practice asking clarifying questions when needed, so that we can help each other be precise (MP.6) as our partner uses tools (MP.5) to practice and model teen numbers.
The kids share their favorite parts of the lesson, including building the numbers, sliding down the 10-stick, and of course, spinning the spinners. It takes awhile to get to every kiddo, but I try to let them all say their favorite part of the lesson so that they feel like they have input.
The kids are so excited to take their 10-sticks home with them. I tell that we will want the 10-sticks to completely dry before we take them home in snack baggies—with extra beans, of course. I tell the kiddos they can dazzle their families with the teen numbers they can create.