Sunday, August 31, 2014

Representing Numbers and Making 10: Ten Frame Practice

One of the great parts of being back in Primary Land is teaching math. Hands-down this is one of my favorite subjects to teach. Of course, my 1st-grade friends think every subject is my favorite, but I have a special affinity for math. Everything is so hands-on and it's so real-world. Especially in 1st grade, we love the concrete, the hands-on, the games - it's wonderful!

This week, we have been working with numbers to 10 - subitizing, multiple representations, and later in the week making 10. 10 becomes such an important benchmark for students, especially as we head into addition and subtraction. Becoming fluent in 10 is a fantastic tool for mental math, and when students begin adding larger numbers (especially in other grades), having mastered 10 is critical! Therefore, we will spent a lot of time with 10, and we'll spiral review with 10 through out centers each week.

Subitizing is a great skill for helping students 'see' numbers and recognizing them quickly. We have been playing a lot of "Flip, Write, Draw, and Make". Students flip the dot pattern, write the number, draw the tally marks, and make the number with manipulatives (in this case unifix cubes).
We've been rolling dice to make numbers and then, showing them in then frames. For my below-level students, we're working with 1 dice, my on-level students we've been using 2 dice, and above-level we've been using 3 dice. 
As we've become more comfortable filling ten frames and representing numbers in this way, we have begun making 10. The National Council for Teaching Mathematics hosts a free site called 'Illuminations' which offers great online activities. We used this 10 Frame activity on our SMART Board as we had matching 10 Frames on each of our desks. 
We would fill our 10 Frames in one-colored block, and then, add another color until we made it to 10. Some friends then used the 2nd 10-Frame as a structure for writing the addition equation (2 + 8 = 10). ..but not all friends were ready to do that...yet! As we worked with different combinations to 10, we recorded our ideas in our Interactive Math Journals. 
Using 10 Frame playing cards, we have also been enjoying Making-10 Go Fish. Students work with the four friends at their table to make 10 matches. The only 'rule' is that students must say the full number statement when they make the match - "4 and 6 make 10". We know that talking about math is a great way to become a better mathematician, so we want to practice this skill! For students who struggle with Making 10, they keep a 10 Frame and counters with them on the floor.
Music is important in our classroom, and we have really enjoyed listening to math! We used this "10 Friends" song throughout the week to practice combinations to 10. :)
During Math Centers, we've been using Ten Frame Fill. This is a great (and FREE) app that gives students practice filling 10 Frames and making combinations to 10. There are lots of settings for how the frame fills, wait time, what equations (if any) you want shown, etc. This is a perfect app for building automaticity with 10!

If you use this Ten Frame Fill app, make sure to visit the settings. These are the settings I used with my students. For some students, I bumped up the challenge by filling randomly and added additional subtraction sentences. 

This is an awesome app and one I encouraged my families to download and practice at home. A parent tip? When sending information home about an app or posting it on your class website, post screen shots of the app in action so parents know what to expect. I included the Settings screen to make sure families were best utilizing the app!
Students then have the opportunity to 'fill' the 10-frame and select an answer. If a student knows the answer by sight (woohoo), he or she may just select the missing addend without filling the frame. Then, students check if their answer is correct (or are guided to a correct answer), and see a completed equation. Right now, we are NOT focusing on the equation - just the visual of the 10 Frame. Having the equation on the screen is a great side feature, though!
We are moving to the more abstract (numbers and sentences) in a few weeks, but we'll practice and reinforce this concept repeatedly over the number few weeks. 10 becomes a foundation for most of what we do in math, so we have to 'get it'. :) 

What are your favorite activities, centers, and technology resources for teaching 10? I would love your ideas! :)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

An Exciting Week!

Happy Saturday, friends! I hope you are loving your 3-day weekend. :) It rained for most of the day in Kentucky, so it made for the perfect napping weather. With the start of the school year, I know my 'content' posts have been few and far between, but I'm hoping to hit my groove this week. Tonight, I just wanted to share some snapshots of our week. Tomorrow I'll be back to share about our work with 120! For now, though, pictures. :)

Last weekend was the first weekend EVER that I did not walk into the school building. It was surreal and a nice feeling. I was able to slip in early Monday morning and make-up the time! A great solution. :) I know it probably won't work every weekend, but it was still a small victory. 
This Tuesday was Math Night! It was great to connect with our families and share what their students will be learning this year. I blogged about our evening here and you can snag our Parent Handout here
After all our families left, I laid out all of my materials for our first sub of the year - EGAD! Our school paid for all the new teachers (who teach) math to attend a District Math Training.  I was nervous, really nervous. It looked like a pile of post-it notes threw-up on our writing center. I might be a *tad* particular, so I left a step-by-step of our day and plenty of extras. When I arrived back, everything was great! The room was clean, there was a positive behavior report, and our normal schedule was followed - woohoo. :)
The District Math Training was fabulous! It was all about the resources and curriculums we have access to in our district, and I learned a ton. It was hands-on, and I left with some awesome ideas for building number sense. I was actually able to teach "10 Solitaire" the next day; my kids were pumped! One of my favorites from the training were these awesome, homemade card holders. Our trainer had asked local restaurants for drink tops from kids' meals and attached them with brads. They are PERFECT for holding playing cards. I'm hoping to visit a fast-food restaurant this week! ;)
 Our first Scholastic Order of the year arrived!!!!!! It was SO exciting to add so many awesome books to our classroom, and my first-grade friends loved taking home their new reads. Plus, with books I purchased for our library, we were able to snag the 10,000 bonus points offered this month!! #nevertoomanybooks
When the Gates Foundation announced they were funding all Donors Choose projects up to 50% of their cost, I added 2 projects to the site. In record time, they were approved and added to the site. With the amazing support of blogging friends, random strangers, the Caring Classrooms community, and Bill and Melinda Gates - both of our projects were funded! On Thursday, we received 2 iPod Touches for our listening center and started learning with them Friday!!!! Additionally, starting in mid-September, we'll receive weekly Scholastic News magazines. Our classroom is SO excited and so thankful for these resources. 
"This is me giving you a daisy and those are hearts because hearts mean love." #swoon #1stgradersarereallydifferentthan5thgraders #iloveyoutoo
 We have been making 10 all week, and we are rocking it out! We've been focusing on the hands-on this week and will be transitioning to the more abstract this coming week. The subtilizing we did earlier in the year, really helped as we started using ten frames this week. #smallvictory
 Yesterday, I arrived home to 2 Amazon Packages and my initial thought was, "Oh no. What did I buy?!?" Being single and childless, my classroom-spending habits have a tendency to escalate in August/September. BUT....this time it wasn't me - woohoo! A few months ago, I signed-up for the Reddit Gift Teacher Exchange and was blessed with these awesome listening-center resources for free. It was a fabulous surprise and I'm so thankful. I added these bad boys to our iPods last night and cannot wait to share them with my friends on Monday. We have a lot of thank-you notes to write!
Well, friends, it has been a really exciting week! I'll be back tomorrow to share about our adventures to 120. :) Happy day!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Math Night

Hi, friends! So, our school-wide math night was a huge success. While parents were in 30 minute math classes, our students had a blast with math games and activities throughout the school.

We saw about 25 of our 90 1st grade families, which was great! Our half-hour session focused on two main things -explaining the why behind our methods and answering parent questions/concerns.

Our families asked great questions -
  • Why do students need to do things multiple ways?
  • Why are students not being taught regrouping in 1st grade? It seems so much harder without it.
  • Why are we not seeing a lot of math homework?

As teachers, the structured section of our presentation looked like this -
  • Common Core vs. math curriculum
  • What does a 60 minute math class look like?
  • What are the 'core' skills we'll be teaching this year and why. 
  • How can you help? Resources for families
It really was a fantastic evening! As a parting 'gift' we gave parents this handout that gives a breakdown of much of the math language we'll be using this year and a little background on what their students will be learning. If you think your school or parents would find this helpful, feel free to download it from TPT (at no cost) and share it. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Donors Choose - Our Listening Center

Thank you to Rachel Lamb for the awesome button!
Hey friends! I am stopping by today is share some VERY exciting news. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is willing to fund HALF of my Donors Choose project...but only if I fund the other half by tomorrow (Sunday) evening. Isn't that awesome!?!

Right now, we are rocking out my 1990's Sony CD player for our listening center station, and we LOVE it! Still, having 2 iPod Touches for our listening center would give us access to so many more books and keep us from worrying about scratching disks/accidentally pressing the 'Open' button half-way through our book. Plus, the iPod Touches would allow us to scan QR codes!!

So, my question -
Will you please donate to our project (any amount $1, $5, $10 - anything!) using the code INSPIRE - which will double your donation? I will match ANY amount you donate to our project with credit to my TPT shop! You can make a tax deductible donation AND get resources for your kiddos - woohoo!!!

Email me at after your donation (Aug. 22-24 ONLY) and I will send your resources your way!! Thank you, thank you in advance! :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Celebrating Birthdays

Hello, friends! I hope you are well and having a fantastic week. This is our 2nd full week in school, and the first week we're trying to 'stick' with our schedule. This week, we have celebrated 1 birthday and we have 2 more to go. This being let's-celebrate-all-the-brithdays-at-once week, I wanted to share how we celebrate these special days in our classroom. 

Before my friends arrive, I place a plastic container of 'Birthday Supplies' on the Birthday Boy's/Girl's desk. Other friends are definitely envious when they see this container of goodies. I stock the container full of Scentos (oooooohhh), brand-new Crayola bright markers, neon EXPO markers, different-colored pencils, and several fun erasers. In first grade, this was a HIT. As my sweet D said, "I want it to be my birthday!"
Our day continues as normal, making sure we are focusing on learning, with the occasional 'perks' for the Brithday Boy/Girl - special errands, a Go-Noodle Brain-Break choice, etc. We reserve the last 15 minutes of our day before reflection to fully celebrate. Family members may bring in a store-bought, peanut-free snack and we sing a lively round of "Happy Birthday". 

A day or two before this celebration, I send this note home with the student asking him or her to bring in their favorite picture book. While we are eating our birthday treat, we read our Special Person's favorite book. I make sure to use my best reading voice and we have a great time. Monday we read a fantastic Ninja Turtle book! ;)
Short-and-sweet, our birthday traditions allow us to continue learning all day long, but still carve out some special moments for our friend. If you would like the Birthday Supplies Sign or the Book Note,  you may grab them here for free. Side note - I do not discriminate against summer birthdays, I promise! These friends may celebrate their very special birthdays on the date chosen by our school ;)

If your school allows it, how do you celebrate birthdays? What do  your students love? I would love to here your ideas!