Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Getting Kids to Talk Math

Hey friends!!  Just popping in to chat a little about MATH TALK!  I completely admit that looking back I used to kinda stink teaching math.  You sit, listen to me teach, now go practice it on your own....you know how to do it, right? Yes, shameful head shrug!  I have told you a few times that I have this new LOVE for math.  We PLAY, we TALK, we get LOUD, we hold our friends ACCOUNTABLE, we EXPLORE, we REASON, we DEFEND ourselves.....we DO MATH TALK!  This quote below has been around, but it now screams at me!

My students can memorize numbers but will memorizing a 7 really tell you how many more make 10? We can know 2+3=5 but truly understanding that 2 is a part and 3 is the other and only once they are put together they are 5.  Or, how about this one...that thirteen is 10 and 3 not a 1 and 3.  I also admit that I am NOT a master math whiz...but I listen to my kids and I learn from them!  I could quote you again...you know that a great teacher teachers from the heart, not a book ;)  A math book does not know MY kids, but no fear because WE know them just fine!  I wanted to share this video with you of a few math routines/activities from my classroom!  They are raw so you'll hear normal kid chatting, kids correcting other kids for not sitting on the carpet and more!  After you watch the video I'll explain each part!

Awhile back I shared about my "partner teach."  When we come to the math carpet each day students always make their way down WITH their partner then they sit down.  This helps eliminate the whole hey you are sitting there and my partner needs to.  It also helps build that relationship...a true partnership!  You noticed in the video I quote some of the things the students were stating to each other..."Do you agree?"  "Good job!"  I also shared the video where the partner said, "You have nothing to say?"  It's amazing when you hear the KIDS saying exactly what you would say!
Along with working with their partner at the carpet each group plays their math games together as well. This year I've also started having the partners work on their independent paper together and it has worked wonders!  Before I started this I felt like I was quickly circulating around the room...helping those that were struggling, getting the fast finishers started, redirecting behaviors, etc, etc!  

However, now the kids work with their math partners which wipes out most if not all my previously stated woes.  1) Their math partner is around the same level if not slightly higher...between the two they can usually always work through a "stumped moment."  2) When the partners finish their sheet they place it into the cubby and grab the assigned math center and get started on that without me waiting for two students to finish in order to make a pair for a math center.  3)  I have taught the students how to hold one accountable during this independent work time and they honestly strive to work hard for each other...of course there are those exceptional times where there is a behavior issue, but for the most part the behaviors are eliminated.

See snap shots of the partners in action below!  Notice...just with a couple of shots you see both students fully engaged on the sheet...you see them pointing and touching to what they are discussing.

Here is another video of the students doing a partner oral counting routine...

A big part of math talk is the kids explaining their reasoning!  This is something that I don't think is natural to most people.  Can you imagine being asked to explain your reasoning for everything?  Can you explain why you wore that?  Tell me more about why you stayed up late last night?  Yeah...we wouldn't like it!  So, I remember this and know that it is a learning process for kids.  They first need to really understand a concept BEFORE they can explain their reasoning.  However, it usually takes them little time and they are explaining allllll about it!  Asking questions that lead to this explaining help as well; "How do you know?"  "How did you get that answer?"  Also, rephrasing what they've said but taking it a bit further,"So, what you are saying is....."

The video above was kind of hodgepodge so I will explain a sample math day:

-Meet at carpet with partners
-Oral Counting with partners
-Number Sense {one more/one less} {Making Ten}
-Fluency Activity {Roll One more, Ten Frames in a Snap, etc} - -Leave carpet with partners
-Meet back at carpet with partners
-Main lesson focus for the day {whole-group}
-Explore the new lesson with partners --Leave carpet
-Meet back at carpet for explanation of independent practice
-Work on independent practice sheet with partners --Leave carpet

You can see we leave the carpet SEVERAL times!  I have found that this increases their stamina.  If you have my KinderMath unit that is where I get all of my number sense/fluency activities!  If you don't have it...you can click below to view the unit.  It is a GROWING packet which means I will continue to add lessons as the year progresses :)

I LOVE making math partnerships fun too!  There are so many great Kagan ideas for parnters.  One of my favorites is called mirrors.  That is when two partners turn to face each other...one is the first leader..the other mimics everything they do. To set the "mood" you play music!  Below are two of my favorites...this did take a lot of modeling on my part and yes there are rules when it comes to having fun too ;)

This first one is has a funky beat...just the song don't show the image on the video?!?! HA!

And you of course have to do some ballet...

I also love having the kids turn and talk about other things that have nothing to do with school!  It is important that they enjoy their time with their partners...I have them share their favorite foods, what animal they would like to be, etc.

I would LOVE to hear how your talking math in your classroom...until next time....

Monday, November 24, 2014

December: Giveaways & Freebies!

I know, I know...it is not even Thanksgiving yet! However, in our world of teaching...there is always next week to plan for!  Not telling you to work on your break either! HA! :)  I wanted to get this posted up for those of you looking for some new ideas to cover in December!  This post has a little of everything...giveaways, a few freebies, and more!  I choose FREEBIES first!  Let's get to it....

This is a quick center to prep!  Click the photo below to grab this freebie!

Look at me... sharing the dated writing paper BEFORE the start of the month ;)

At my school we test fluency using AIMS Web...similar to Dibels! I love to send this fluency practice packet home with my kiddos over the Christmas break because we test after students return! You can download the freebie HERE!

Now for a couple of giveaways!  First up.....


This packet has five kid-tested-loved centers for Christmas!

Stockin' Stuffers- - working with short vowels

Sight word practice!  Kiddos build the words using cookies on a baking pan!

CVC Writing Practice

FInal sounds...

Th/Ch Digraph Sorting...

You will have a chance to win these centers below!  You can also view the packet by clicking below!

 If you haven't already stumbled upon my Taking Back Weekends packets they are LIFE SAVERS...especially in busy months like December!  Below you can read what is included in the December edition and view a preview!

Included in the packet:

Writing Activities: All About Reindeer Book, All About Christmas Book, All About Winter Book, My Christmas List, Opinion Writing Story Starters, December Pictionary, Guided Story Starters, Writing Journal, December Writing Prompts, Letter Templates, Describe It Starters, Guess my gift

Math Activities: Pin the Nose on Rudolph {math center}, How Many More to Make 10? Practice Sheet, Light Up The Numbers {math center}, Trim the Tree {math center}, Christmas Addition/Subtraction Practice Sheets, Combine and Clip it {math center}, Counting Sets Practice Sheets, Part-Part-Whole Practice Sheets

Word Work Activities: Under the Tree CVC Word Literacy Center, Gingerbread Rhymes Literacy Center, Make a List CVC Word Literacy Center, ABC Order Practice Sheet, Wintry Sounds Practice Sheet, Snowy Words CVC/CVCe Practice Sheet

Recess Ideas: Missing gingerbread activity & play dough mats.

Simple Print Sub Plan Activities: Instruction page for substitute and activities for read aloud, writing, math. All needed materials included.

Content Activities: Reindeer booklets, parent gift, and more!Teacher Organization {10 pages}: Ideas to stay on task in 2014, December 2014 calendar, thank you cards, to do lists.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Here is an up close look at the literacy and math centers in the packet!

Light Up The Numbers--Numbers 1-20

Pin the Nose on Rudolph- -Teen Numbers

Trim the Tree- -working on one more

Combine and Clip it

Under the Tree CVC Word Literacy Center

Gingerbread Rhymes

Make a list, Check it Twice- - A CVC Word Center

Here is a look at the reindeer fact book...okay nothing special, but it is a craft!  A craft from ME is almost unheard of ;)

A look at the preview...
You can snag this packet by clicking below!

I have now also completed the entire bundle of Taking Back Weekends!

Time to enter the giveaway!  I will be choosing the winner Thanksgiving evening!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are needing a few more ideas for December you can check out my themed Pinterest board by clicking below!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Good luck on the giveaway and have a BLESSED Thanksgiving!  I have so much to be thankful for...this blog and my teacher-friends I've met in "cyberspace" are one of my tops! :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Recap of Week 14 and Peek at my Weeks 15

Hey there!  Can we just first say...how is it already Thanksgiving? Okay, now we can carry on :)  I just can't believe how far in the school year we already are!  This post will be a recap of last week for me and a two-day Thanksgiving week. WOO!  Tell me that I am not the only one in school this week?  We just go Monday and Tuesday and I am actually kind of excited because we will be doing so many fun things!  There is just something about not having to follow a set "plan" that makes me so excited....I have plenty of things ready for us to do...and we are going to go with the flow! :)

Alright get started already lady...here are my plans from last week!  

Our close read for the week was Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant.  This book is one of those that you do not realize how much substance it truly has until you look at it with "close read" eyes!

Our essential questions....

Our main focus throughout the week was...How does the scarecrow feel about his job!  It was so awesome seeing the kids talk and think through this question.  Never in the book does it say that the scarecrow likes his job, but they were able to listen closely and hear the clues that told them that!


Our cumulative writing went along with our essential question.  So, the students wrote their opinion on whether the scarecrow liked their job or not.  This adorable scarecrow craft comes from First Grade Blues. 

Aren't they just the cutest??

My sister's class made these little cutie patootie scarecrows from Miss Kindergarten!  

We are still plugging along with KinderPhonics!  This week we talked about the letters Rr and Dd.  The kids never cease to amaze me with their drawings...I loved "row" and our dinosaur is a ferocious looking dude!  If you follow a big-box curriculum program you can easily combine KinderPhonics into your program.  For example, Journeys has alphafriends...I just introduce the alphafriend when I introduce the letter.  So, this week we also met Reggie Rooster and Dudley Duck.  I use my KinderPhonics lessons for the phonemic awareness, focus on handwriting, and an emphasis on the sound of the letters.

When I introduce each new letter I also read the Alphatales letter book!  The kids LOVE these and they help to inspire them for our letter-sound poster.  I think it's important to remember that there will never be just ONE program that works for our students.  We must be open to know that and willing to express to others that we need the opportunity to bring in other avenues of learning for our students.  I don't think it is fair to my students to only offer them one style of learning...a variety is what they need!  So in my classroom I do a KinderPhonics-Alphafriends-Alpatales-Youtube mix!

My favorites Youtube channels for teaching the alphabet!

Now for this week's two-day plans!  We will be reading some favorite Thanksgiving read aloud books during reader's workshop!  In small group I will introducing my new Read and Retell packet!  My intervention group is starting digraphs this week!  Whoop!  The afternoons are filled with LOTS of Thanksgiving fun and our feast on Tuesday.

My kiddos will be doing lots of the fun activities in this packet from A Year of Many Firsts!  If you are in the classroom for Thanksgiving week this packet will give you plenty of fun and engaging activities!  We will doing the thankful turkey craft, turkey true/false sort and more!

Here is a look at a few other activities we will be working on this week...Handy Turkey handprint, color by number, and our look at how we are the same/different from pilgrim children!  All of these activities are found in my November Taking Back Weekends packet.

Have a great start to your Thanksgiving week!