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.  


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