Wednesday, November 27

Happy Thanksgiving Break!

I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving Break!  Take some time this weekend to reflect on your blessings....both big and small.  Get some much needed rest.  Do something you've "just been meaning to do".  Or even just sit on the couch and do nothing for awhile.  Let's all recharge our batteries...we need it, don't we?"  :)

Tuesday, November 19

Honored to be on EDUCENTS!! Grab this FREE unit!!

So excited to let you know that my "Dino-RAUR Math Centers" are FREE on Educents until Friday!!  If you haven't heard of Educents, it is a fabulous website that offers great educational products at a discounted price.  There are items for teachers, homeschoolers, daycare providers...really anyone who works with kids. 

I am honored that Educents chose my dinosaur math centers to be featured as a freebie.  It is one of my favorite products in my TPT store!  Included are 9 fun, colorful math centers that cover the 1st grade math Common Core standards.  Since it is not seasonally themed, you could use it in your room at any time of the year!  Head on over to grab these cute dinosaur centers and check out the other deals they have going on right now!

Want to share the love with fellow teacher friends?  Please pin this image to let them know where they can scoop up their own copy!

Saturday, November 16

A Couple Quick Tips for Counting & Cardinality

I have a few kiddos this year who have really been struggling with counting and cardinality skills that were not mastered in Kindergarten.  Specifically, rote counting to 100 and identifying numbers to 20.  So, I've really been trying to connect with them for a quick practice session.  I've also really tried to use some creative approaches when working with these students, as I know that traditional approaches to mastering these skills have not been working.  Here are a few things that I tried this week to help these kiddos along in this area...

With kids who are having trouble remembering the "decade" numbers (40, 50, 60, etc.), I've given them this little tool to help them remember what comes next.  They touch a cube as they count numbers ending with 1-9, then when they get to the end of the cubes, they have a visual reference for what comes next. So far, it's been very helpful for them!

I've had to modify it a little bit for a student who tends to skip numbers.  (It's just dry erase marker on unifix cubes, so the marker easily comes off when we're done.)  Having the ending number on the cubes has helped her focus on the correct order and not skip around as much! :)

For my students who need practice identifying numbers through 20, I've been doing a couple different things.  One thing I've tried is just writing numbers randomly on a whiteboard, and having them either erase the number that I say, or cover it with a post-it note.  It's quick, easy, and the whiteboards make it fun!

What other tips & tricks should I try?  I'd love to hear what's worked in your room!

Tuesday, November 5

Comparing Numbers with the CRA Model

In our math workshop, we are working on comparing numbers using greater than, less than, and equal to.  I don't know about you, but I used to just go right to the symbols.  Here's the numbers, figure out the symbol kids.  Maybe throw in an alligator to help you.  However, in learning more about the Common Core and the need for deeper understanding, I've come to learn the importance of teaching kids using the CRA model: concrete, representational (pictorial), and abstract.  So, this year, I decided to try something a little different in my guided math groups.  

First, we built two numbers using base ten blocks and just verbally compared them.  I had the kids count each group, and we talked about how to look at the biggest "place" to see which number is greater or less.  Then, when we were ready for the symbols, I still stuck with the base ten blocks so the comparisons would be very concrete.  I asked the kids to build two numbers and compare them, using popsicle sticks to make the symbol.  FYI - I took these pictures from across the table, so they are upside down.  I tried to rotate them, but they just looked weird.  So, upside down it is.

Some of them were very extreme in their comparisons...1 < 80 :)

This kiddo did 22 = 22.  Of course, the blocks has to be perfectly lined up and arranged.  Anyone else have kids who need their base ten blocks to be "just so"?? :)

Then, we moved onto representational (aka pictorial...I've heard it both ways).  I had the kids draw the base ten blocks so they could still visualize the tens and ones in the numbers.  I also taught them that when they draw the symbol, the little number gets the point.  I used a dot to model which way to draw the lines.  Apparently, it kinda stuck, and now they all draw a dot like it's part of the symbol!  Haha!

Finally, some kids were ready to compare using numerals.  I've learned that numerals and symbols of any kind are very abstract for kids...while you and I can read a numeral and instantly understand what it means, it's a skill that's more difficult for some kids, especially kids who struggle in math.  I'm learning to slooooowwww down my teaching and really make things concrete and representational before I throw in any abstract symbols.  

I had them create the symbol with their popsicle sticks first, then they needed to write 2 numbers that would make it true.  It's fun to see the different numbers they come up with! :)

I purposely have not mentioned any alligators or special "tricks" this year...I've found that the alligator trick helps them know which way to point the symbol, but not necessarily know what the symbol is called.  (Case in point:  They learned the alligator trick in Kindergarten, and when I first introduced the symbol and asked kids if they knew what it was, one of them raised their hand and told me, "the mouth".  Haha!)  I want them to know the name of the symbol and what it represents, not just "the alligator eats the bigger number".  So far, I think it's really helped

Happy hump day tomorrow!

Saturday, November 2

November Currently

I'm linking up with Farley again to share my November Currently!

We had conferences last week, and I missed some of my favorite television shows.  I'm slowly catching up on them online!

This one's pretty self-explanatory.  I love that it's Saturday! :)

I'm thinking that the weekend should be a little longer!  I mean, it's almost Sunday, and that means it's almost Monday.  Yet, I feel like my weekend just started.  Oh well, at least I get an extra hour of sleep this week! :)

Wanting...and Needing...
I am in serious need of some motivation!  I've had a few ideas swirling around in my head for awhile, but I just haven't had the motivation to really get started on them.  I am the kind of person that works on projects in spurts.  Once I'm motivated to start, I get in the zone and work, work, work 'til it's done.  The problem is that if I'm not motivated, it's hard for me to buckle down and get things done!

Yummy Pin...

I saw this on Pinterest today.  It's from Dine and Dish. looks so yummy!  If I had some motivation right now, I'd totally make it! ;)

Thanks for reading my Currently...make sure you check out Farley's blog to read what some other fantastic bloggers are up to!

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