Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cyber Monday

Yea for a sale!!  TPT is holding a great sale for cyber Monday.  I also have everything in my store 20% off so you save 28% off your purchase!  Don't forget to add the promo code: CYBER before checking out.  It's a great time to get those products you have been wanting.  Click the banner below to visit my store!  Happy shopping!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Recognizing Numbers

Why or why do K kids still have trouble this far in the school year recognizing and writing their numbers?  Core has them writing their numbers to 20 and for some students it seems to be an impossible task!  I have decided to develop a little jewel that I hope will help with the first step to writing numbers...knowing what they look like!!  I made it into a seek and find type of activity where the students have a target number and then try to recognize that number among other numbers.  I have posted a free preview of the product that you can try out.  The whole set to 20 is also available if you want it.  Remember...if your an AMSTI teacher, it's yours free just ask!  Click the first picture to visit my TPT store and grab your free copy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 the word for this post!!

Hi all!
Whew...I have been busy this past month out in schools!  I really love my job because I get to see all different styles of teaching and ideas!  It is amazing what our kindergarten teachers are doing out in the schools!  Wow! I am just blown away sometimes.  I wish all of you could just travel with me for one day and see what is really going on in our schools.  This post will be full of some neat and free things...I hope you find the ideas useful in your own classroom! 

This first freebie is a sheet I made to use in stations, small groups, or to even send home for parents to play.  It is Roll and Cover...I'm sure you have seen different versions of this game everywhere!  The download includes one mat that is programed for adding two dice together and I also provide a blank version that you can level either down by only using numbers 1-6 for one die or up by using three dice that the students would have to add together before finding the number to cover.
 Click on the picture to grab your free copy.  It looks even better printed in black/white.  Please rate it if you choose to download it.  Have fun!

This next freebie is from one of my very talented teachers...Marisa Frederick!  She is offering this in her TPT store and it is on sale right now! 
Click the picture to see it! Also check out her blog at:
The last freebie is a website full of educational apps.  Some are free and others are paid.  It has a wealth of ideas and is from our technology in motion person here in north Alabama. Check it out!
I hope the rest of your week is fabulous!! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Halloween Part-Part-Whole

Hi friends!
I have finally finished the part-part-whole mats for Halloween and not a moment too soon right?  Halloween and all the spooks are right around the corner.  These mats are available in my TPT store along with the fall math mats too.  If you purchased the fall mats, the cards are the same in both sets so no need to remake those!  Yea!  I will be giving away three free sets of these mats next is how to enter....become a follower of my blog, and comment below (be sure to leave you email address) on how you think these mats will best be used in your classroom. It's as easy as that!  Good luck!   

You can check these out a little more by clicking the picture!


Good luck to everyone and God bless on a great week with your students!  Thanks for all you do!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Counting Collections

We all know that counting is one of the best ways to help children develop number sense and other important mathematical ideas! Let's all face it...we don't do enough of it in our classrooms.  I attended a workshop recently where the idea of counting collections was brought up again.  I love the idea but wondered about how it would look and how in the world to organize it all.  I hope this post will be helpful in understanding how counting collections would look in your classroom. 

Why should I even count collections?

As kindergarten teachers, we all know that children need many and varied experiences when it comes to counting.  Counting collections helps them learn which numbers come next, how a number sequence is related to the objects in front of them, how to keep track of which ones have been counted, and which ones still need to be counted. To learn more about the benefits of counting on the article for a wonderful read!

Where do I begin?
It can be as easy as placing large piles of items on the tables and without any further instruction ask the students to begin counting!  I think I would start with maybe only two tables of students and set a few ground rules before starting.  This will be a great assessment of understanding where to begin your collections.  Once you decide to make counting collections a regular routine in your classroom you will need to start collecting baggies of "stuff." Make sure you have a variety of collections with different amounts so you can meet  all students' needs. In kindergarten, you probably will need to start out as low as ten in some collections.

What kind of items should they count?
Beans, pom-poms, buttons, cotton balls, rocks, marbles, bingo chips, shells, seasonal things, seeds, cereal, birthday candles, cards, golf tees, craft sticks, game pieces, crayons, pattern blocks, erasers, keys, straws, dice.... the sky is the limit!  A simple walk through a craft store will spark lots of ideas. Parents can even donate collections as well. Here is a "starter kit" of sorts that I found while searching the web.  

What is the teacher's role before, during, and after a counting collections lesson?
My opinion is that the teacher should let the students drive what she/he does as far as modeling/teaching with collections. Ground rules will need to be established but other than that...let the students guide their own learning.  As students work in partners, the teacher is observing, taking anecdotal notes, asking reflective questions, and selecting students to share with the whole group.  As you notice things like, student are not able to keep up with the amounts, you could share some organizational tools like in the picture above.  I would try to get students to first mention the need for things like ten frames, cups, paper plates, organize their collections.  After counting collections, be sure to follow-up with students sharing how they counting.  This is also a time to emphasize good techniques you noticed and correct any misconceptions.  Most of all...just have fun!! 

Why do my students need to record their counts? Most students will begin counting one by one with no strategy for grouping the items. Once some time has passed, interrupt their counting and ask them a question and then tell them to continue counting. Many students will forget where they were and have to start all over! This is a perfect time to discuss strategies for grouping items using things like ten frames or cups.  You will need a method for the students to record their thinking.

How often should I count collections in my classroom?

I think it would be great to count collections once a week.  Maybe choose a day like Wednesday and during your math or station time the students would count collections.  Wouldn't that be fun to have such a change up in your regular routine?  Counting Collections could be changed to once or twice a month later in the year. 

What does Counting Collections look like in kindergarten classroom?

Click on the picture to watch a wonderful classroom video

Other neat twist on counting collections
Try backwards counting collections. You give the number and they make the collection!  

Let me know if you have any other great ideas for counting collections!! Happy Counting!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Let's Do Some Subitizing!!

So what in the heck is subitizing??  Well, it has been around since the 1940's and comes from the Latin word "suddenly" which is no surprise since that is pretty much how a student performs the skill.  It is thought that humans use it as a short cut to counting.  Research suggest that subitizing is foundational to a strong mathematical background and that young children need many years of practice. 

Click the subitizing definition to see a great article about subitizing

 I have created a free pack using the part-part-whole idea.  The cards in the free pack focus on subitizing.  If you love this pack, be sure to check out my full pack in my TPT store.  Remember if you are an AMSTI teacher just email me and it is yours! I do ask that you rate it on the TPT site if you choose to download it! 

Here is a sneak peek at what the game looks like!! The first picture is how the game begins.  The student picks a card and either counts or subitizes the die.  They build that amount on the first picture and then they or a partner tries to figure out how many are missing from the second  die to complete the whole number at the top of the card.  Super fun and your kindergartners are going to LOVE it!!

The spatial arrangement of sets influences how difficult they are to subitize.  Many activities can promote conceptual subitizing which is the hardest for your students to learn.  An activity that is my favorite is "quick images." Click on the picture below for a great packet of ideas on how to use subitizing in your classroom.

                                    Math Hands

Another great idea I learned this week in a workshop was using "math hands." It is so easy, fast, and practices subitizing...which is the best part!!  Here's the set-up...have your student get their math hands ready.  Ask them to show you 3 using their fingers.  Keep changing the numbers staying at 5 or under.  Then move to using both hands.  The final thing you can do is ask for them to show you 3 using two hands...super hard for them!  For example they could show you 2 on one hand and 1 on the other hand.  I also like for them to show me 4 and then show me 4 a different way.  Fun Fun!!  
I was also shown this idea which is an alternative to doing the straws.  I think it is great because a kindergarten student can actually see the tens bundled together.  Make sure you always let the students do the bundling!!
Finally....for sticking with me through this looooong post...I have another freebie for you!!  I want to give a shout out to Chanda Bartlett from Hamilton.  She made this Pete the Cat out of shapes and she also has a cute Frankenstein for Halloween.  Thanks Chanda for being such an awesome teacher!  If you have something to share, send it my way!! Click each picture to get your copies of both

                                                            Here's a funny for you!!

Take care, God bless, and please leave a comment on your thoughts about subitizing!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Math Walls and Calendar Boards

I get asked so many times while out in schools, "What should be on my math board (calendar board)?"  The answer is pretty simple....the items you display should meet the Core standards in some way.  Let's face it, we do not have time for a lot of filler these days.  Core is kicking us in the teeth and the kids are expected to know those standards before they leave you.  I thought it might be helpful for you to see a few of my favorite classroom math boards.  Take a look at your board and ask yourself, "Does that warrant the time I am devoting to it?"  If the answer is no, take it down and add something that will reinforce those standards!  

The two most important items to have on your math wall...a 100 chart and a math word wall.  The 100 chart can teach everything from rote counting to addition.  Just think about all the activities you can do with it!! The word wall provides your students with the tools to understand and attaching meaning to what they are learning.  Check out the tab at the top of my blog if you need a word wall. 


These next two pictures show the perfect way you can begin working on that all important number sense!


The next picture is very important to your calendar board....working with place value.  Students will need a lot of practice in order to understand this concept.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Another idea I love to see on calendar boards is the use of data to teach ohhh.... so many things! are just some neat extras to put on your boards!

Let me know if you have any good ideas that I can add!  My best advice...don't let it get boring and make sure it is worth your time! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sale on TPT

Quick sale on all my items for back to school! Everything is 20% off starting today and ending Tuesday! Click on my TPT link located on the right of the blog. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Small Group Math Instruction

Hi friends!  I have finally finished the project I have been working on all year!  The framework for guided small group math instruction with a focus on number sense is COMPLETE.  It has been a long process and it would not have happened without some of my dear teachers allowing me to test it out in their classrooms!!  So to all of you that participated...A HUGE THANKS!

So what is it exactly...well let's start with this little statistic...

Did you know???  Number sense is the number one indicator for future math success! This framework is a progression based off Core standards (K and 1st grade) and will provide you with instructions on what to teach in small groups. These steps (0-8) will move a student from the basic understanding of number sense (counting and simple drawings) to being able to record and visualize a number like 17 as one ten and seven ones. The goal is to send students to the next grade with an ability to understand and visualize a more complex awareness about numbers! 

  Click the picture to take a look 

What do you have to gain by using the framework??

•Improves a student’s ability to record a drawing of each number sense model as they progress through the framework
•Designed to be a fast formative assessment that lets you know exactly how well your students can comprehend and record their number sense abilities. 
•Represents what true RTI is all about...moving ALL students not just those that are struggling.
•Based off the CRA model of starting each new skill at the concrete stage, then moving to representational drawings, and finally thinking in abstract terms.
•Provides students with a plan of how to draw a much more complex drawing
•The first and second grade teachers will love you because your students will be coming with a much more higher level of expressing their number sense ability
•Makes students much more self-sufficient

What the packet includes…

•Step-by-step instructions on what you will need to run small groups, small group planning, when to start, exit questions, what to teach, how to evaluate and code, and how to progress students.
•Labeled student examples so you can see exactly how each step of the progress looks
•Small group planning form
•Sample exit questions and blank ones that you can program
•Ten frames that can be used in small group
Remember...if you are one of my AMSTI's yours free!  Just send me an email! 
God bless and enjoy the rest of your summer....I'm taking a break myself...time to play with a 4 almost 5 year old!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Let's Talk About the Equal Sign

Wow! The misconceptions a small little symbol can make!  Who knew the (=) sign could cause so many problems?  Where does this all start?  In KINDERGARTEN my friends!

So let's think about it....students are told and have been convinced to believe this symbol (=) actually means, "Put your answer here".  This is how we are teaching math to them.  Just find the answer!  Don't believe me?....take a look at this research below:

"About 70 percent of middle grades students in the United States exhibit misconceptions, but nearly none of the international students in Korea and China have a misunderstanding about the equal sign, and Turkish students exhibited far less incidence of the misconception than the U.S. students," note Robert M. Capraro and Mary Margaret Capraro of the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture at Texas A&M.
So why are U.S. students having so many misconceptions?  It really boils down to two reasons...the teachers and the U.S. textbooks.  The problem begins with our thinking that the (=) sign is an operator. Kind of like thinking that (=) means "to do" the operation.

For example, a student with that misconception tends to solve the problem

7 + 3 = ____ + 2

by adding 7 + 6, and placing the answer on the empty line.

The correct way is of course to think of the equality: 7 + 3 equals 10, so the other side has to equal 10 too. 8 fulfills this little equation:

7 + 3 = 8 + 2
So how can we fix this problem starting at the kindergarten level?  I have two ideas of how to "see" the equal sign in action!
The first one is using a pan balance and showing how 5+1=6 on one side and how 5+1=6 on the other side balances the scale or makes it "equal"

The next example I have that works well in kindergarten is using Monkey Math. You can purchase this little guys lots of places including Amazon.  Here is what he looks like: 

The children really LOVE him!  You can tell from the picture how he works.  The kids must balance his arms using the weighted bananas or his eyes look crazy!  Super cute and a great way to show how combinations of numbers can be used to "equal" the other side.  There is also an app out and it looks like this:
I would love to hear your comments or suggestions for helping little ones understand this tricky but oh so important symbol!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teen Numbers...Why Are You so Tricky?

Teen numbers can be tricky for even our best students! Hopefully this post will provide you with some extra goodies to help your children with those tricky numbers! The first goodie I found was a great YouTube:

The second goodie is from Mrs. May's room.  She used this whole group and in stations. The students draw a card and then build that amount using tens frames.  You can see from the picture that the student is building 77 using 7 regular tens frames and building ones with the red chips on the single ten frame.  Common Core KNBT 1 says numbers 11-19 but if your students have masters those then extra practice with higher numbers would be great!

Click this picture to get you own copy of the cards
The third goodie is from Mrs. Gipson's room.  She is using ten frames to take attendance.  The ten frames are up on her white board with painters tape....Easy!  She has photographs of each student and a magnet on the back so they can be easily placed.  Love it!  Can't you see all the work that can be done with tens and ones or even addition/subtraction??
 My last goodie is a freebie for all the hard work you have put in this year!  Being a teacher is crazy this time of you so here's a little gift to you!  Thank you teachers!!
I hope you have a great summer!  Don't forget about the summer workshops I will be holding in June.  Check out your Inservice catalogs.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Who is ready for summer?

I have talked with so many of you lately who are READY for SUMMER!  The crazy weather, sickness (I got to experience the flu last week), kids who are bouncing off the walls, and the demands of the classroom can make one long for summer days!  I have been able to see some neat activities so I wanted to share those...

This super cute measurement activity was based off some of the fairy tales like Jack in the Bean Stalk and Rapunzel.  My teachers at Harlan saw the idea and made it their own!  Super cute!  You can also see more about activities like this from Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten.

Lana Ward at Brilliant has kids recording different ways to compose numbers like crazy!!  The first one is based off taking attendance and the second is inventory bags.  If you aren't familiar with inventory bags they are collections of items the students count and then record.  Check out this great work!

This is a reminder to all my local teachers who were unable to attend the Core math training back in the fall, that I will be presenting it again this summer.  June 11-13th in the Jasper area and June 25-27 in the Florence area.  Look for the sign up in the UNA Inservice catalogs that go out the first of May.

Have a blessed week!!
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