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 100 by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.
For this activity, I start by reviewing our Bubble Maps of numbers 6-10. I then show my students the tower boards. These can be purchased or can be teacher created (more fun and inexpensive). I demonstrate how to create the towers. I use think aloud, stating how each tower I build is one more than the tower before. After I create the towers for numbers 1-5, I push them together to show the students that each tower is one more. I remind my students that the towers look like stairs. This helps us know if we have used the correct number of cubes in each tower. If any of the "steps" has more or less than one more, I need to recount that tower. I make sure to highlight the "one more" aspect and I directly connect it to the number sequence. This concept is the requirement of CCSS K.CC.B.4c.
First I show my students the tower cards and explain how they will be used. I say, do you remember when we built our towers 1-5? Well, today we are going to build our towers from 6-10.
Next I demonstrate how to create the towers. Again I think aloud and say how each tower I build is one more than the tower before. After I create the towers for numbers 6-10, I push them together to show the students that each tower is one more than the previous and they should look like stairs. This is how I check my work. If any of the "steps" have more or less than one more, I have to recount the cubes in that tower.
The direct instruction in this lesson is identical to the instruction in Towers! Towers! Towers! 1-5. I structured this lesson in this manner because counting objects one to one in the beginning of the year is very challenging for most kindergartners. I break the lesson into two parts so that the kids can get accustomed to and proficient at counting objects 1-5 before I move on to the higher quantities of 6-10.
Experience has shown me that when I try to teach counting quantities of 6-10 too soon, the kids get confused and frustrated and it actually delays student progress in counting altogether.
I bring the students back together on the floor and have volunteers share their experience with this activity. I ask how they feel about it, if they feel they were successful and what they learned. We draw a picture of the steps (towers) touching to clarify the expectation that each tower they built should have been one more than the other if they correctly matched the quantity to the numeral and built them in consecutive order. I acknowledge their success and point out what they learned today.
The towers themselves are the exit ticket. I ask the students to save their towers and raise their hands as they finish. I walk around with my clipboard and provide feedback to the kids. I note on my observation record who was successful, who struggled, and in what way they struggled. I will pull the strugglers to the floor the next day while the rest of the class is allowed to build random towers and count them.