Monday, September 30, 2013

Math Monday 2: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

       Math Monday 2: Short and sweet.  Last week we finished up our first math unit, which was focused on counting accurately, solving story problems, and fluency with plus or minus one from any number up to 10.  Some of my students are still working on fluency and I am creating a couple of games to help them practice.  But, I wanted to share with you a few tidbits from our story problem work.

        The kids really came a long way in a short time.  Recording their work was really challenging in the beginning but many of them made huge gains in being able to accurately solve an addition story problem and show their work.

        One activity that we did that they absolutely loved was based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  We read the book and made a list of all of the fruit that he ate as we read.

      Then, students were given the task of figuring out how many pieces of fruit he ate altogether.  We briefly discussed some ideas for tools they might use and strategies they could try.  Each student worked independently to figure it out and at the end of class we shared strategies.  A few students even wrote which strategy they used to show their work.

She started at 5 and counted on to 15!

She showed all of the pieces of fruit and counted each one.  She wrote, "I count all."

This one is from a student who could not accurately count a set of 20 objects at the beginning of the year.  When I asked him to draw 20 circles, he drew 36 and counted them for me and said there was 20.  He didn't have any one to one correspondence.  A few short weeks later, he accurately solved this problem and showed his work. :)

       When all of them finished, I put all of their work up on our bulletin board so that they could see all of the different strategies and ways to show their work.  This is part of that board.  Sorry about the blurry photo.  I took it quickly with the ipad.

            Alright, that's it for now.  We are now in our second unit which is on geometry.  So, I'll be back next Monday to share some of our work from that.

Have a great week!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Math Mondays: A Beginning Look into First Grade

       I have been thinking about doing a series for a while and so I'm excited to start one today called Math Mondays (super creative, I know). :)  I plan to post about anything that has to do with primary math and is Common Core related, so please check back each Monday to see what's new.

       Let's do a quick recap of the first 22 days of school.  Yup, I am so jealous of happy for all of my friends who didn't start until after Labor Day and have only been in school for about 10 days. ;)  Okay, so we started out the year just getting to know our different math tools and thinking about what math is.  We launched the year by thinking about what we already know about math.  Here's what my first graders came up with...some great ideas and misconceptions.

           The Post-its are hard to read but here are a few of their thoughts: math is fun, cool, learning about shapes, about numbers, 100, etc.  A misconception- math is letters.  It will be interesting to come back to this later in the year and see how their thinking has changed.

            They had time to explore the math tools and figure out how
we can use them to help us with math.

          The first few weeks we spent a lot of time practicing counting accurately and comparing numbers.  They played lots of games to practice these skills.  So, they are working toward Common Core State Standard 1.NBT.1- Count to 120, starting at any number and 1.NBT. and 1.NBT.3- Compare two two-digit numbers based on place value.  Obviously, the beginning of first grade activities are just laying a foundation for proficiency in these two standards.
         One of their favorite activities was re-creating the number line on a string.  I gave each student a number, and we put the number 0 and the number 30 on the ends of our number line as benchmarks.  Students had to tell where their numbers went on the number line and how they knew.  They worked hard on using the language greater than and less than when explaining their thinking.

        In the bottom picture, you can see that she was having difficulty figuring out if she should put 15 before or after the 12 that was already on the number line.  We took some time to think about the following as a class:  Is 15 larger or smaller than 12?  Does it come before or after 12 when we count? The life size number line is an activity that we will do over and over again because it is great practice in counting, ordering, and comparing numbers.  It could easily be adapted and used in many ways.  A couple of ideas for adapting the life size number line activity include:
  • counting by 2s, 5s, 10s
  • using a different range of numbers (i.e. 1-5 or 1-10 for kindergarten, larger numbers for higher grades or later in the school year)
  • providing different benchmark numbers each time 
  • solving a story problem whole group on the number line
       Finally, I introduced solving story problems in the last week and a half.  This meets standard 1.OA.1.  We started by orally doing a few problems whole group over a few days and then students solved problems independently.  At the end of each class where they solve story problems, we have a discussion about strategies.  Here is a chart we created together during one of the discussions.  I intentionally began by asking a student who counted all to share because it is the most basic strategy.  Then, I led them through the discussion by choosing students who used higher level strategies like counting on and making a ten.  As students share their strategy, I record their thinking on our class chart.

           Alright, I have more to share but I'll save it for next time.  I would love to hear about activities you do with your classes to help them practice counting and comparing numbers.  


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back in First Grade and Loving It

   So, in the last two months, I finished the last school year as a second grade teacher in my old district, took a one credit week-long graduate class, packed up all of our belongings, moved 9 hours from home to Kansas, closed on our first home, unpacked all some of our stuff, and started a new school year teaching first grade.  No stress at all...:). But, I am feeling so blessed to where we are and after the first 11 days of school, I am soooo loving being back in first grade! They are so fun.

   I thought I would share some before and after pics of my new classroom.  It is a lot smaller than my room last year but I don't really mind.  It's cozy.



Close-up of the CAFE menu.

     If you would like the headings for the CAFE menu, you can find them in my TPT store here.  They come in a pack with all of the strategy cards to print that are part of The Cafe Menu from the Two Sisters.  I usually just make the first couple of cards in front of the kids.
CAFE menu after the first couple of lessons
Before view from the door
After view from the side of the classroom.  That is the main meeting area in front of the board with the calendar board on the left and CAFE menu on the right.  The bins on top of the shelf will house all of their writing folders by table.

Close-up of calendar board.  This is the very basic board we start with and add to as the year goes on.
Schedule next to calendar

This shelf divides the meeting area from the table area.  It holds our pencil cups, folder bins, and
writing paper bins for each table.

      Oh, and you know that moment when it hits you that you are just overwhelmed because you just can't seem to have everything you need all in one spot at the same time?   I just realized I don't have any pics of the library area or back of the room with the word wall.  I'll have to take some and post them later.  
    And finally, for those of you who have not gone back yet or just haven't finished setting up your new room, here are a couple of resources from my TpT store that might help.  Or, if you are just looking for some new management decor, check them out. :)

CAFE Menu Pack

VOICES Writing Menu Board

Chevron Classroom Jobs Clip Chart

This packet includes a classroom jobs heading and 16 different classroom job cards with descriptions.  It comes in 9 different chevron colors and looks super cute on a ribbon with clothespins.

Ok, TGIF (tomorrow)!