Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Learning About Numbers

I wanted to get my lesson plans for the week posted, but once again I am not getting my lesson plans finished enough to post.  But, I can share how I teach number sense.  It goes sort-of the same each week for each number through ten (the the routine changes once we hit those tricky teens).

I focus on one number each week, stopping at 5 and 10 to get some extra practice with those important anchor numbers. I begin the week thinking of ways to make the number (for example this week we are doing 4).  We look at 10 frames and 5 frames, we make number lines.  We look at dice and dominoes and unifix and connecting cubes.  We look at shells and bears and STUFF.  Then we chart them on a circle map.  Everyone goes and brings me that many of something.  We finish our first day with the circle maps by Fran Kramer of Kindergarten Crayons.  Fran is so generous she offers a version of these for free on her blog, but the complete version is in her store.

Next we move on to writing the number and really understanding it with Peas and Carrots.  Composing and decomposing numbers with Peas and Carrots is really the backbone of building number sense with my students. 

I have a tub of just green and orange connecting cubes  The students are directed to grab a certain number of cubes (I have that number already writtten on a small paper plate).  We then sit on our carpet and look at all the combinations we made.  We draw those combinations on sticky notes and post them on a number poster.  I cluster the ones that are the same together.  As a class, we look them over and try to decide if we have all the combinations.  If not, I challenge them to find the ones they are missing.  To help keep track I created these recording sheets:

We not only write the numbers...but I have them draw the peas and carrots too.
We start with lots of modeling and think alouds.  We begin with the word and, then move to the plus sign.  Lots and lots of talking about our thinking and our strategies for finding all the combinations.  As the year progresses we do this in partners and sometimes we revisit smaller numbers in work stations as independent practice.  My teaching partner will give them a recording page with too many spaces to see if they know when they are done and if they found them all.

We always make a little book as one of our math stations.  I like this one in Fun With Numbers by Kathleen Pedersen from Growing Kinders.  There are many other resources in that packet we use all the time.  There are matching cards and ten frames, graphing, tracing, dot the number, and more.  Some I use in centers, some for practice, some as a whole group lesson or game.
What else do we do?  We go back to probably the best blog post ever for number sense.  Kindergarten Crayons has a plethora of ideas all in this one blog post.  There are books to make with your kinders and number writing practice, and games to play....all for free.  Check it out here.

We also look at more, less, and equal as we work with each number.  Using a simple table and a single dice, we throw the die, draw the dots (or write the number), and compare that to our focus number.   

At the suggestion of a sweet friend I have changed up my peas and carrots just a bit.  If you want something just for fall...I have Apples and Pumpkins.  I am going to use this version in math work stations, just so my kiddos will have fun using the little apples and pumpkins I hope to find in the candy isle (otherwise the apples may look more like candy corn).  There is always spiders and bats (I am hoping to get it finished by this weekend, I have spider and bat rings just waiting for little fingers). 

  How do you teach numbers?  What fun games and activities do you use?

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