Monday, October 6, 2014

Counting In the Primary Classroom Post #1: How to Support Counting in the Classroom

Counting is something that is so simple, yet so important for primary learners! Most people (who are not teachers) don't get why counting is such an important part of math for young children, especially kindergarten. Just think about it! An entire domain is dedicated to counting and cardinality in kindergarten and both first and second grade have a standard that is dedicated to counting. 

Kindergarten Counting and Cardinality Domain

First Grade Standard

Second Grade Standard

Why is counting so important you may ask?

Let's think....

When you add, what are you doing? Putting two or more groups together to get a total. Well, if you can't count, how will you know how many are in each group?

When you subtract, what are you doing? Taking some away from a group. If you can't count, how will you know how many to take away and how many are left?

And that is just the beginning! Multiplying and dividing also depend on the ability to count. 

So if counting is this important, the question is....

How can we (teachers) support it in our classroom? I would like to share some pictures and ideas of how I support counting in my classroom. Hopefully, you will find something that you can use!

Every morning we count how many days that we have been in school. We count by both ones and tens, but you could also count by 2's or 5's.

To go along with our "how many days?" discussion, we also have Math Meeting. I began doing Math Meeting when I noticed that my students were struggling with the before and after, as well as, the counting on from a number other than one. I modeled my Math Meeting board after the PNOA (Primary Numbers Operation Assessment), which is the assessment used with OGAP (click {here} to learn more). 
**Since I took this picture, I have changed how I do the tally marks sections. Instead of tally marks for the days we have been in school, I just choose a random number for the students to tally.**

Daily Math is a quick five minute assessment that I use to see how well my students understand numbers. 
I write the number for the day on the Daily Math board and my students fill out the page below. This lets me see who is able to write both the number and number word correctly, as well as tally and represent the number in two ways (ten frame and by drawing a picture). You can grab a copy of this recording page by clicking {here}.

I also have a counting jar that will eventually be added to our daily math by the students having to count the objects in the jar to find the number of the day. Right now, they just count the objects and record the amount on a post-it as one of their station activities.

We created these anchor charts together as each number was introduced. Anchor charts for number 6 - 10 will be coming soon!

We looked at all the different ways that we can represent the numbers using Tara West's Number Sense Pack. My students also use this bulletin to help them with writing the number word for Daily Math.

I had these number anchor charts (I can't remember where I found them at the moment!) that I just loved but didn't know what to do with, so I put them on the side of my file cabinet. Throughout the day, I catch students walking by and counting the dots on the ten frames and finger tracing the numbers and number words. 

Here are the number lines that you can find in my classroom! I see students using these throughout the day to help with number writing, counting, and before & after. Number lines are such an important aspect of ANY classroom, not just primary ones. To learn about how to make a bead number line, check out my post {here}

We are constantly counting in my classroom! From counting the days in school to how many students are there for the day to people who brought lunchboxes that day, counting is a very important part of the daily routine in my classroom. I hope that you were able to take something away from this (long) blog post! I would love to hear about how you support counting in your classroom! Please comment and share so that we can all get even more great ideas!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Today's Math Lesson

It's time for...

Today is my first time to link up with this party and I am SUPER excited!

Today I want to share what we did for our math lesson today.  Check it out below!

 My question for you is:

How do your students record their sorting? 
You can grab the mat that I used today {here}.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In the Works! Blog Series: Counting in the Primary Classroom

So I had high hopes of finally posting my classroom tour this weekend, but instead I took the weekend off from all things "teaching" and spent time with my family. :) My baby boy turned five months old on Friday, so I decided to take some pictures. 
Roll Tide!

Although I didn't actually "work" on anything school related this weekend, my wheels were still turning! I have been doing  A LOT of PD in the area of mathematics and OGAP (click {here} to learn more about what OGAP is and pick up a freebie) and I have been working on increasing the rigor (don't you just LOVE that word?) in my classroom with math. 

I want share what I have learned and what I have found (so far) to work in my classroom, so I decided to do a series of posts as a way to share with you! 

I hope to have the first one finished by this weekend. 

So far my ideas include posts on:

                             1. Introducing the series and some of my learning
                             2. Counting Collections
                             3. Counting Jar
                             4. Morning Meeting/Math Meeting

If you have any suggestions for other things that you would like to know more about, please let me know!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Stations and Rules: Will we EVER get there?

Whew! I always forget how exhausting the back to school season is! We have been super busy the past couple of weeks learning new stations and working HARD on following the rules. It has been very difficult for some of us, but we'll get there! 
Here are a few of the things that we have been working on the past couple of weeks:

Name Writing

Learning how to use play dough BEFORE it is put into a station


Have you tried Hot Dots yet? If not you should! Check them out here.

We are loving DeeDee Wills' Writing Work Stations!

Stamping our letters and names

Building letters and sight words with play dough

Focus letters and vocabulary 

 I love how she lined up her buttons!
counting, counting, counting

LOVE the number word watches from The Moffatt Girls

more shape people from Primary Press

To wrap up our week and our discussion of "talent", we created a self-portrait and wrote about our talent. Sorry but I forgot to snap a picture of one that was completely finished....I'll post about these again with better pictures. :)

Hope you enjoyed seeing what we have been up to!
 Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Squares of Blue & Red Circles too! Welcome to the first FULL week of school!

First full week is in the books! 
WOW! Just WOW!
My class this year is going to keep me on my toes! So far I have 18 darling kinders. Eleven boys and seven girls. Yes, you read that right - ELEVEN BOYS and seven girls!
WOW! Just WOW!

OK now that I have that out of my is a look at some of the things that we accomplished this week!

Our Name Buses from Deanna Jump's Name Unit

We painted red circles and listed things that are red.
{We also painted blue squares and listed things that are blue, but I forgot to take pictures.}

We learned these four "super words" from our Three Little Pigs Close Read from Tara West (LOVE LOVE LOVE her!).
We then chose our favorite word and illustrated its meaning on our pigs. (Notice the blue fire and blue dollars.)

We also worked on these "popcorn words". I was very impressed with how fast my kinders caught on to these words and were able to use them in sentences. One activity that they really seemed to enjoy was "Sentence Mix-Up". I would call four students up to the front of the room and give each one a card - either one of the sight word cards seen above or a picture card. They would then have to place themselves in the correct order for the sentence to make sense. They LOVED it! 

We learned about circles and squares by using Vickie Plant's You Better Shape Up! Unit. 
My kinders LOVED making the shape people!

We wrapped up our week by reading Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker. You can find a copy of it here. We did our own version of some of the activities that you can find on First Grade Blue Skies.
I thought our cats turned out SUPER CUTE! Whatcha think?

Let me just say that we (I) would not have made it through this first week without Deanna Jump's All Set? You Bet! pack! We used the Jukebox section AT LEAST three times a day to help us (them) get our (their) wiggles out. It was (and will continue to be) my sanity-saver. To check it out for yourself, you can click 

We had so much fun this week! I can't wait to see what next week holds as we dive into numbers, counting, and letter formation!

How did your first FULL week go? I would love to hear about some of the things that you did, so please leave a comment!