Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Working with Larger Numbers using Math Literature

There are so many great books you can use that help teach larger numbers. Below are a few examples. I try to have props when I am introducing math related stories to my students. These are some of my favorites:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Target Finds

I paid a visit to Target today and they are beginning to put out back to school stuff. I found some terrific things. I was excited to see the mini erasers. I use dry erase markers with sheet protectors in many math and literacy  activities; these tiny erasers will fit easily into the bins I've bought for my work stations. They will also be useful at my guided reading and math table. I also found the cutest hand erasers that I will make pointers out of. The popcorn containers will be placed on tables with popcorn (high frequency) words. The stringing beads will be great for sorting and patterning activities (also fairly small). They also had some colorful certificates (I bought the reading certificates) and star pointers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Favorite Addition Story

I recently posted an activity for How Many Snails? and included a ppt adaptation  How Many Bugs? It's a great book to use when introducing many concepts: sorting, counting, addition.... Another favorite is Splash by Ann Jonas. It's a fabulous introduction to addition. I am including story props you can download. I copied them and used them on the magnetic board. The students used dry erase boards to solve the problems introduced in the book.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Math Work Stations Chp 5

I agree with many of the kindergarten teachers that have posted of how crucially important it is to use number stories from the beginning of the school year to help with the concept of addition and subtraction. I have used the resources Math Their Way, Developing Number Concept with Unifix Cubes and Explorations ( an out of print Addison-Wesley product) to develop my math program for years. Math series come and go in my school system, but I've never found any thing better than the above mentioned resources. Work Jobs II has many story mats.
I am a collector of math literature and I  begin as many lessons as possible with a math related story. I also have props for many of my books and the children then use them for additional experiences with the book. There are several math literature related pages on my website that have lots of  information. I am constantly on the lookout for puppets, stuffed animals and small manipulatives to make the story more engaging. 

Below are a few of the things you can find on my website.

Go to Math Literature on Linda's Learning Links for more ideas!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Counting Book Activity

I love How Many Snails? by Paul Giganti. It is a fabulous counting book that promotes critical thinking skills in young children. Every page has so many objects to count and the questions promote higher level thinking skills. More importantly, each page allows the students to ask their own questions. This past school year I started making wordless How Many ppts. This is one of the children's favorites. I don't have a smart board in my classroom, but I do have an infocus projector.  I divided the class into small groups and each group had to produce three questions about the page shown. (We do this activity after repeated readings of How Many Snails?)
Click on the title below to download.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Math Work Stations Chp 4

First of all, thank you Fran Kramer for all the wonderful ideas and downloads you so graciously shared with us. (A link to Fran's blog Kindergrarten Crayons will be at the end of this post).You out did yourself with your post. I have taken all my ink cartridges to be refilled so I can get to work planning how to use all your great activities. I am going to share some pattern block activities that I use at the beginning of the year to help develop number concept. Using pattern blocks gives the children lots of hands on experience with pattern blocks that really helps when moving into geometry.
 Making Designs with Pattern Blocks
This activity can be used with number cards, I usually laminate 5X7 index cards with a number written in the upper right hand corner and have students make designs with each number. As an assessment, I will write a number on an index card or a quarter sheet of white construction paper, give students paper pattern blocks and have them make a design. There is a great pattern block website The Math Toy Box that the children can also use for making pattern block creations. 

 I also use premade pattern block task cards and have students make the designs then sort and count the patterns blocks and record their answers. You can also have students graph the number of pattern blocks. Another activity (game) is to have students spin for pattern blocks to make the pattern.  I will make a spinner and place it in this post a little later this week. I have used the books Patternables by Susan Sehi-Smith (less than $10.00) to make my task cards but I recently found a great website Prekinders.com. She has tons of patterns block patterns, in color and black and white. I particularly like her patterns, because there are patterns with smaller numbers of pattern blocks, great for differentiation. If you don't have the ellison die cuts for pattern blocks, I found a website where you can download blackline masters and run them on matching colored paper. 
I also have pattern block templates so students can trace designs. I bought one template and used large cool whip lids to make the rest. 

Here's a list of websites that will give you lots of pattern block fun for your classroom:

Pattern blocks pdf file

Here are 2 sheets to grab

Click here to download. (the circle in the right hand corner will correspond to the pattern block template they choose to make; it makes it quite easy to see if they counted correctly)

Here's the pattern block graph to download.

Once again, a great big thank you goes out to my new BFF Fran Kramer and all the other wonderfully talented and creative teachers I have met through this book study. I also want to thank Deedee Wills for putting this book study together.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Target and Dollar Tree Finds

Because I want materials to fit in the containers I've chosen for my math work stations I have been on the look out for small things that I can place in the containers, Also, we can have up to 25 students this coming school year, so I'm thinking more children less room on tables. I found these approx. 8" heavy plastic plates that will be perfect for addition activities at Target 4 for $1.99. They also fit together. They come in assorted colors.

 I found some plastic shell table scatters (125 for 2.00)(You just can't beat 125 very durable manipulatives for 2.00!)  and some fruit erasers (1.00 a pack) also at Target. I trotted on over to Dollar Tree and found some clown fish and small pompoms (80 in a pack) for you guessed it a $1.00, just think of all the activities you can do with small pompoms (count, sort, pattern... and they are quiet!) Fran Kramer made some patterning activities using bingo markers and placed a set to download on her blog. It started me thinking that I could laminate some of the strips and have the children make patterns with the pompoms before using the dot markers. Thank you Fran for all the great ideas I've found on your blog.  Because we start back to school the first of August, these summery manipulatives will be just the thing to excite the children about learning. I'm a mentor teacher in my school district and for several years I taught a workshop for new teachers called Teaching Cheap (click on Teaching Cheap and you'll find a page I created on my website several years ago).  Below are some of my purchases. Deedee Wills made the statement on her blog that she uses the same type games, she just changes manipulatives. It keeps the interest high, but you don't have to keep teaching new games.

Nursery Rhymes

I was thrilled to click on Kim Saylor's blog Mrs. Saylor's Log today and find a wonderful nursery rhymes unit to download. Thank you Kim! On my website Linda's Learning Links, I have several games,powerpoints, phonemic awareness and comprehension activities to download. Just go to the link above and they are listed at the end of the page (these are great for the smart board):
Name That Nursery Rhyme Spin a Wheel Game 
Name that Nursery Rhyme Character Spin a Wheel Game
Hey Diddle Diddle ppt.
Nursery Rhyme sort (KIdspiration activity)
Mistress Mary gameboard
Jack and Jill Shapes Game
Hey Diddle Diddle Game
Little Bo Peep's Lost Sheep game

There are also a Nursery Rhymes Comprehension Activity page (I did this before I had great professional development on comprehension strategies so I will tweak this page over the summer). 

I hope these resources will add to the wonderful unit Kim Saylor developed!!

P.S. I went shopping yesterday (Target, Dollar Tree...) and found some super stuff! I will be sharing them and the ideas I have for using them soon!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Math Labels for Drawers

If you look at the post for the first 2 chapters of Math Workstations (my June 1st post), you can see the labeled drawers. Here are the labels in a Word document, you can print them on 2X4" labels. Just click on the link underneath the image. I made a page on my website Linda's Learning Links where I'll put all future math documents I create. The font I used for the labels is Dr. Soos Bold. It's a free font, just click on the font name and it will take you to the download page. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Math Work Stations Chp 3

I will admit this chapter is, was and always will be a challenge. Because I will admit to being ADD (sounds so much more sophisticated than scatter brained, don't you think?), I am always trying something new. I've finally decided after many many years of teaching kindergarten that I am going to make a management plan for the upcoming year and stick with it!! (Ok, I might have to do a little refining, but for the moment I am sticking to this plan).These are the following pearls of wisdom I gleaned from chapter 3 (I promise to read it again and again ......):

1. Be sure you model what you want students to do. You can't expect 5 year olds to play a game or use manipulatives they are not familiar with. Now, I know this sounds like a no brainer, but card games are foreign to kids today, as well as board games, dice, dominoes....... This year we will move at a snail's pace for about the first month. THIS YEAR I will give the children time to explore materials before expecting them to begin to use them to learn math concepts. 

2. My anchor charts will be specific to the concepts we are learning about, I won't worry about the cuteness factor, I won't worry about the cuteness factor (Maybe if I repeat this enough I won't worry about the cuteness factor.  I will post expecations for workstations: What it looks like, sounds like, feels like.

3. I will provide meaningful engaging learning activities at each workstation. I will resist the idea to pull out cute seasonal activities that aren't related to the concepts being taught. (I admit, I love Mailbox magazine).

4. My students will work in pairs. Once again, I admit that this is tough. I am the ultimate "5 rotating stations a week with students working in groups of 4-5" teacher .  But, I will make it happen, I will make it happen..... I'm thinking that this repeating idea might work for me.

5. I will have a work station board with pictures of students and matching labels for board and bins. 

My mantra will be: I can do this! 

All kidding aside, I am excited about math in my classroom for the coming year. I feel very blessed to have found a group of committed, creative and caring teachers. Thanks for all the great ideas so far. I'm thinking the best is yet to come.

Go to Learning with Mrs. Parker for more great management ideas!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dollar Tree finds

I went to the Dollar Tree today, just to look around. After all, I've only been out of school for two weeks and I shouldn't even be thinking about school. But thanks to all the fabulous blogs I've found lately like Fran Kramer's Kindergarten Crayon's blog and Deedee Will's Mrs. Will's Kindergarten blog and so many others that I will mention in future blogs, I have math on my mind. I won't even  mention the Math Work Stations book study. So, I found myself not just looking around (I should have never gotten a shopping cart), but putting things in the cart. Below are 2 items that I had to buy.

I love these square sorting trays, they will be so easy to store! 
These ice cube trays have only 10 compartments. I can think of so many uses: counting games, graphing (because they have a hole at the end, they can be linked together,  patterning, a ten frame....

Here are some links with math games using ice cube trays you might like:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Math Work Stations Chps 1 & 2

I am so excited to be reading the posts from fellow teachers who are enthusiastic  about Debbie's latest book Math Work Stations. As a totally committed thematic teacher who has had to rethink and revamp my classroom to meet our state standards and now the Common Core Standards, I can't thank Debbie enough. I have slowly moved my math centers to work stations, I still am not differentiating my stations as much as I should. That will be my goal for the coming year. I am very mad at myself for not taking a picture of my revamped math center before almost dismantling it when the year ended. I am going to upload the picture and try to explain what I did. I also went to Target this week and found the containers I am going to use for the actual work stations. They are 15"X 11 1/2 and 3 1/4 " deep. I started using a lot of dice, domino and card games last year, putting the sheets the students used in sheet protectors. These bins are the perfect size. When you look at the picture of my area, you'll see the blue bins I originally purchased. They just didn't work out as well.  So, I think a math station must reflect the skills students need to meet the standard. They must be activities the students are familiar with (I can't tell you how many "wonderful" math activities I have planned that students had no idea what to do, leading to frustration and disappointment for them and me.) Another important thing to do is to put all your materials together and choose wisely what you actually need to keep in order to have successful math work stations. I cleaned out and gave away a myriad of math materials to anyone who would take it this past year. 
 If you disregard all the junk on top, you can see that I put all the materials I use a lot in three drawer chests. I labeled them with 2X4" labels. I was using the blue bins, but will change to the bins shown below. I made a Math Work Stations sign, our math goals for the quarter and 2 books on either end.  The bins for students will be placed where the blue bins are now.