October 2013 - Susan Jones Teaching

More Math Stations and an Addition Freebie!

I have been on a math kick lately. I think it is because my kids are strugglingggg with basic math concepts lately and it's killin' me! We have been learning addition strategies and practicing addition within 20 for two weeks now and my class has just started to pick up their momentum.

They are drawing, using cubes, using counters, their fingers, ANYTHING to show me how they got their answers and we are still working on their explanations. We are all about "proving it" in my classroom. My students know they can't just spit out an answer - they have to prove it and defend it.

During math work stations on Friday, I had most of my students practice adding 2 numbers together using cubes. They did this with a little free addition center I created, called "Build it!"
 


I had saved the cards for "Build it!" and I thought I would offer them as a freebie! Click on the image to download this free addition activity.
I simply printed them, laminated them and put them in a bucket with 30 connecting cubes (15 of one color, 15 of the other). It will stay in our math centers for the next few weeks.
 
My low group is still working on identifying and representing numbers within 20, so they practiced pulling a number and covering that many pumpkins on a little pumpkin sheet I made.

My higher group started an independent work station and completed a few pages of their "My Little Book of Story Problems." I was so impressed with their work!
 
 
Proud teacher :)

For more fun, hands-on math, check out my year-long first grade math workshop curriculum below:

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Counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s

We are keeping it seasonal up here in Massachusetts. It is all about pumpkins and leaves and the season, Fall! Here are some fun Fall math activities to help practice skip counting!

I have been noticing that my students are still struggling with skip counting - especially counting by 2s. So, today, in math we read the book How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara.

In this cute story, a classroom of students receive 3 pumpkins and estimate how many seeds are inside each one. The students then split up and decide how to count the seeds in the most efficient way. One small group counts their seeds by 2s, one group counts by 5s, and the other group counts by 10s and they determine which pumpkin has the most seeds! There are also some fun, pumpkin facts at the end of the book.

I wanted my class to try something similar, but instead of using a real pumpkin (way too messy and time consuming for me), I used some math manipulatives and fall, felt containers from Target.
Grouping and counting by 2s.

Grouping and counting by 5s

  Grouping and counting by 10s.

I split my students up into 6 groups of 3 and each group received a bucket filled with manipulatives and a number (these are from my Pumpkin Math unit, but you could just write 2, 5, or 10 on an index card). The number in their bucket represented how I wanted my kids to practice grouping and counting their objects.

Each group counted their manipulatives and then we switched containers so we could all practice counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s! When all groups were finished, we met together back on the mat and ordered the buckets from the least amount of items to the most! We also talked about which buckets were hardest to count and why... we all agreed counting by 2s is tricky!

These buckets will now go in a math center for extra counting practice :)

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Pumpkin Math!

We have been having a pumpkin-filled week!

After a relaxing, longggg weekend we came back to school Tuesday and went on our first field trip to the farm!
Beautiful

We picked pumpkins, fed animals, ate pumpkin spice donuts, and went on a tractor ride. The kids loved every second of it.

I thought I would keep the pumpkin theme going and practice some math skills at the same time! I put together some math games and activities to help my students review and reinforce the skills we have been learning since the beginning of the year.

Here are a couple of the games in action:
 Pumpkin Pickin' Students practiced making 10 with this game. My kids would pick a number from the pumpkin basket (thank you, $1 spot at Target) and place that many counters on the pumpkin. They would then have to solve how many more they would need to make 10 and record.
Recording sheet.

We recently learned how to use a number line as a strategy to solve addition and subtraction problems, so I thought I would make my kids their own pumpkin number line! They used it to complete this Math hunt activity. I don't know about you, but I always turn my "hunts" or "read-the-rooms" into a silent race. I also made 26 problems for this hunt, so it bought me a good 20-30 minutes of silent math time.... tehehehehe.....guilty........
 
While it was wonderful quiet time for me, it was a great way for me to see who could accurately use their number line and solve these addition and subtraction problems within 20.
I created 4 more activities that we will be completing throughout the next few weeks in school!
I put them altogether in this little math pack, Pumpkin Math!
 There are 6 different math activities included in this pack. Click the picture above to download the preview and see more :)

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Happy hump day!
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Writing Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade

New school, new environment, new kids!
With these new kids, comes new challenges and I have to figure out how to make it all work!

One of the challenges this year is writing. I love to teach writing (as you all know) but many of my kids struggle to put their thoughts on paper. We are using Lucy Calkins and I loveeeeee her units. My kids are able to sketch out their stories, but after that, it is difficult for them to actually put the words on their paper without me right next to them coaching them along... and with so many kids in this stage of writing, it is hard to be next to all of them at once!

A few weeks ago I had started creating sentence completions for my kids to complete at writing centers. I thought it would work since my students could trace the beginning part of the sentence and just add one or two more words and illustrate. These also let my higher students add more sentences on their own while I check in with the others.

This is one we completed whole group so my students would know the expectations:
 The other sentence completions have now retired to our writing centers and my kids are doing great on their own!

Another activity I made for my struggling writers is picture descriptions. I used clip art to make some cute illustrations that my students can describe and then color. I added a word bank to the bottom so students could quickly spell the words that are in the illustration. Some of my students just described the picture, while others made up a whole story about the picture.
^^ This little guy is one that often sits and has trouble writing during our writer's workshop... at this center he filled up the whole page.... I made a B-I-G deal about it ;) ^^

Adding to the fun, I created some detailed and organized writing prompts that I am doing with my lower groups. This will help them (and me!) focus on each step of the writing process while we talk through it and help each other:

I started one with my group yesterday about what we do if our teddy bear came alive:
First a little brainstorming...

Then some drawing!

Tomorrow we will start completing our graphic organizers to get the sentence structure of our paragraphs.

I have also noticed that as my "high-flyers" start to write long, detailed stories during writer's workshop, my lower students want to complete their own books as well! While I always have them share their illustrations with the class, I created these simple mini-books to be used during writing centers.

I am excited about these because ALL my students can complete them and feel the success of writing their own short stories. It's been raiiiiinnnyyyyy here in Mass, so I already have the "Rainy Days" mini-book prepped for tomorrow's centers!

All these activities are available in my new pack, Writing Activities for Kindergarten and 1st Grade.

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