Sunday, July 29, 2012

Can you name that number?

Hi all!! I am Caitlin from Kindergarten Smiles! I am so thankful that Penny has allowed me to come share with you today! 

This summer I have spent a good amount of time going over the Common Core math standards. There are a couple things I am surprised about--patterns and time are no longer required in Kindergarten; however, for the most part I am very excited to fully implement these new standards in my classroom. 

I think Common Core is giving us the chance to slow down and REALLY teach children numbers and their meaning. Students will come out of Kindergarten with mastery skills that will allow them to succeed in math throughout their schooling. 

I wanted to share with you a math game that you can play with your students in a small group. This game will help your students recognize and count numbers 1-100. You can also use the number cards in various ways:

-Have students pick a card and start counting from that number  
-Put numbers in order 1-100 (K.CC.1)
-Use number cards 1-20. Have students draw a card and count out 
  that many unifix cubes (K.CC.4)
-Use number cards 1-20. Have students draw a card and write that 
  number 3 times (K.CC.3)

I can go on and on.....Click the picture below to grab your FREEBIE! 

Another BIG thank you to Penny for giving me the opportunity to guest blog today :) I hope you will come visit me over at Kindergarten Smiles!

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's just a number!
So, I've had the big birthday and got to enjoy a little quiet time at the beach with my hubby! Having such a big birthday prompted me to do a little reflecting on the things I've learned along the way. Naturally, that led me to think about all the fun I've had teaching kindergarten over the past 25 years.

Of course, I'm speaking entirely from a biased point of view, but I truly feel I am part of the greatest profession ever! There is nothing quite like seeing the look of wonderment in a child's eyes when new learning "dawns" on them. And who doesn't love the excitement of the back-to-school rush!

Since 50 is the theme of the day, I decided to list the top 50 things I love about going back to school. I hope you will join me and comment on a few of your own favorite things!

  1. planning, pinning, and checking out the dollar store for new finds
  2. wasting the entire first day back in your room reconnecting with friends
  3. that first faculty meeting...getting all the details straight
  4. the new plan book that is filled with nothing but possibilities
  5. the inspirational speaker on institute day and the so-so PD that follows
  6. getting your desk all organized, knowing it won't last long
  7. replenishing your stash of Advil and chocolate...for emergencies only
  8. thumbing through all your idea books for creative new ideas to try
  9. getting your copy of The Kissing Hand ready and the hand-outs copied
  10. having plenty of coloring sheets ready in case you run out of things to do
  11. pencils sharpened and stacked neatly in their little jar
  12. painstakingly double and triple checking your first welcome letter to parents
  13. nameplates perfectly centered and affixed to each desk
  14. the slight lingering smell of Lysol spray and fresh linen candles
  15. the new pot of ivy that makes your desk look all homey and inviting
  16. the countdown of days still left of summer
  17. the countdown of days until next summer
  18. the lessons you've carefully planned, that you won't look at again
  19. wondering where you will stash all the extra supplies they bring
  20. the excitement and sleepless night before school starts
  21. the last few quiet minutes before the flood gates open
  22. seeing the fear/excitement/wonderment in their eyes when they first walk in
  23. those awkward smiles on the first day of school pictures
  24. persuading the parents that everything is okay and it's time to head off to work
  25. the tears...from the children and their mothers
  26. the excitement/panic when the door finally closes and they are "all mine" 
  27. wondering how in the world you will fill the day ahead of you
  28. trying to catch an older kid in the hall to deliver your notes to the office
  29. going through the little remember their name mental exercises
  30. hearing all the strange new pronunciations of your name
  31. the unmistakable smell of a just-opened box of brand new crayons
  32. reviewing how to line up, walk in line, stay in line, behave in line
  33. counting them one more time to make sure no one has escaped
  34. trying to explain lunchroom procedures to kids who have never been in one
  35. taking a deep breath before walking into the lunchroom
  36. passing out plates, praying they won't drop them on the way to the table
  37. passing out lunches, seating them, and keying in their the same time
  38. opening 20 packs of ketchup and 20 cartons of milk
  39. finally sitting down to eat with only 6 minutes left in the lunch break
  40. hoping what's left of their lunch ends up in the trash and not in the floor
  41. wearing something you had for lunch somewhere on your clothes
  42. already dreading lunch time tomorrow
  43. that panicked feeling just before the last bell rings 
  44. searching your room one more time...just in case you left someone behind
  45. making sure they ALL get on the right bus or in the right car
  46. finally getting to take a bathroom break!
  47. forgetting about just how little they know in August
  48. thinking about how far they will have come in May
  49. praying for each child and the mountains they will climb this year
  50. the mandatory after school nap that will help you recover from the exhaustion of today and increase the likelihood that you will show up tomorrow

Now, it's your turn! What tops your list of back to school memories? I'm sure I've forgotten a few, so please comment and add your own! We've all been there and we can all identify! Thanks for reading and playing along!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Number Fan Freebie
If you want to grab my latest freebie, head on over to Kindergarten Lifestyle! Jeannie invited me to guest post for her, so I created a freebie for her readers. Read about how you can use a Number Fan to reinforce early numeracy in your classroom.  

I included a link to download your own free copy! It's a quick and easy tool to make and kids love using them.

Kindergarten LifestyleClick on the button to go to Jeannie's blog. You will enjoy your visit! While you are there, check out a few of her other posts and leave her a sweet comment. Be sure to follow her blog if you don't already! Thanks, and keep on teaching the math!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Timez Attack

Hi! I am Melissa O. from Transitional Kinder with Mrs.O and I'm so excited Dr. Penny has invited me to be guest blogging here today. :) I am currently a Transitional Kindergarten teacher but I have also taught 1st grade and spent 7 years as a Technology Specialist teaching 1st through 5th graders. 

One thing I have noticed in teaching different grades is that students in all grades need help with their math facts. This is true of kindergarten students who need to know simple addition and subtraction facts through every grade into upper elementary and middle school where many students struggle with multiplication and division facts. 

Today I want to share with you an AMAZING educational game that can help students in all of these grades (and adults too) master these facts, Timez Attack.

TimezAttack began as a game to practice times tables and I first found Timez Attack over 4 years ago when I was a Technology Specialist; and it gets more amazing every year. My school was a part of the study mentioned in this video that shows just how cool AND valuable TimezAttack is. Take a look.

Isn't it AWESOME? I have many games for my own kids that are not as fun as TimezAttack but cost a lot. This is free, doesn't take a lot of time, and actually works to increase math fact knowledge and speed. The creators of the game take you through the research on the game, how install and set up the gameand how to play the game. Big Brainz has wonderful tech support and you can tell they really just want all of our children to succeed.

Now just the multiplication is wonderful and helpful for second grade to upper grades so I have been sharing TimezAttack with my friends that teach those grades.  I know many of you are thinking, "I teach primary age students who need to understand basic addition and subtraction so I can't use Timez Attack with them, can I? 

Well now you can, because TimezAttack now allows students to practice all 4 operations; Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division! When you start the game students pick what they want to practice and the game begins with a pretest. Based on the pretest the student is automatically sent to the level they need to learn. As the student plays the game they are getting introduced to a certain math fact, guided practice with the fact, then assessed on the facts the have been working on. 

The assessments are just as fun as the rest of the game and give data to the student and teacher. The best part is the game data is online so students can use any computer, even from home to play the game! If you want to just try out the game download the game by clicking the picture below. To play click the School button on the top green menu then select California, Pittsburg Unified, Stoneman Elementary. The teacher password is believe and the student password is dolphin. Please use the Default Class to play around and be sure to comment here or at my blog, Transitional Kinder with Mrs.O. Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cuisenaire Rods in the Classroom

Hi Friends! I'm excited to be stepping aside today and letting my good friend Sally DeCost from Elementary Matters take the lead.  She has a great post about using Cuisenair Rods for addition and subtraction practice. I hope you enjoy reading her post!  Be sure to visit her blog when you are finished here! 

Hi!  I'm Sally from Elementary Matters!  I'm thrilled to be guest posting for Teach the Math!

Brain Research tells us that being physically involved with the learning process helps learning. It also suggests that use of color helps make connections.  Teachers know that kids (and adults) tend to key into color, and children love to use manipulatives!

With Cuisenaire Rods (see picture) the white rod, the smallest, is one cubic centimeter.  (This is the same size as a standard base ten block.) The longest rod is orange.  When the children put the rods by length, they make a colorful "staircase".   (See picture.)

The children can then assign values to each rod by color based upon the relationship of the other rods.

Wouldn't your
students love to dig into these?  Mine do!
The first few times the children use the Cuisenaire Rods, they should be given opportunities to figure out the value of each color.
Once they've mastered that (and it doesn't take long!), they're ready to combine the Cuisenaire Rods to create addition and subtraction facts.

I like to start with sets of ten, since our number system is based on ten.  It's good for them to know those combinations of ten!

Since the orange rod has a value of 10, this picture shows 9 + 1 = 10.   It also shows 1 + 9 = 10.  It also shows 10 - 1 = 9 as well as 10 - 9 = 1.

What fact family do these blocks show?  7 + 3 = 10, 3 + 7 = 10, 10 - 7 = 3, and 10 - 3 = 7.  

This one shows 6 + 6 = 12 and 12 - 6 = 6.

The Cuisenaire Rods can also be used for multiple addends or even multiplication. This could be 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 12 or 3 x 4 = 12.

When it comes to storage, the containers the rods come in are tricky for the kids to put away.  I put my Cuisenaire Rods into a container much easier for little hands.

I made these center sheets for the students.  I prefer the children work with partners on activities like this since the conversations they have help the learning.  If you run these off back to back, you can make two sided, half size papers. Click on the image on the left to download the file.

For a whole set of sheets like this (For families 6 - 20), click here:

I've also found a link for online Cuisenaire Rods!

I hope your students enjoy learning math facts with Cuisenaire Rods as much as mine do!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Math Computation Practice

In one of my recent guest posts, I wrote about the value of playing games in Math and how games were a great tool for building strategies for mathematical computation. Encouraging kids to play games is not a difficult task, and a child's natural curiosity and competitive spirit keeps them focused on the task and their interest high. If you want to check out the post, visit A Differentiated Kindergarten. Marsha will be glad you stopped by.

The beauty of playing games in math is that everyone loves to play them. When students get to play games over and over, they begin to think critically about strategies that help them win. And when those strategies involve mathematical computations, it is win-win for both students and teachers.  My students always enjoyed Math Workshop when I included a regular rotation of their favorite math games.
One of the games I frequently used was Four in a Row. It's an old favorite of mine and one that my students really enjoyed playing. I created a Four in a Row game package that includes a set of 10 different gameboards. They focus on number recognition, counting up, counting down, skip counting, and addition & subtraction. They provide great practice for students and only require a couple of dot cubes and some counters (aka: dice & chips). 

These games are super easy to make, manage, and store. You simply print and laminate them and they are ready to use! You can find them here for just $2.00 for all 10 gameboards! If you want to try a few of these games out before you buy, you can download a free preview which includes three games to get you started.

If you do not regularly include games as part of your math curriculum, you should give them a try. You will be amazed at the student gains. In fact, you are likely to see greater enthusiasm for math (which is always good) and fewer behavioral problems during small group time (which is also always good)! Thanks for reading along and keep on teaching the math!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A visit from Grade School Giggles!

I love it when friends stop by!  And today you will get to meet my friend April Nolan from Grade School Giggles. Welcome, April!  She has a fun math game to share with us!  I know you will love it!  

Hi! I'm April from Grade School Giggles and I'm thrilled to be guest blogging for Dr. Penny today. Her blog focuses on math, which is one of my favorite subjects. Building strong foundations in math is essential if we want our students to be successful. So, I wanted to share a way that I help my students have fun learning math.

Students love playing and teachers love engaged students. Games are a great way to create a classroom where students are actively and passionately learning. After a skill has been taught and modeled, games are a great way to practice the skill to gain fluency.


I especially love games that require minimal prep time and don't have a ton of pieces to keep up with. One of the favorite games in my classroom is 4 in a Row. There are a lot of versions of this game out there. This one uses two dice and practices addition facts with sums to twelve. You can grab a copy by clicking on the picture. It includes the directions and game board. You just need to add the dice.

I hope your students like this game as much as mine do. If you want to check out more of my freebies and classroom ideas please stop Grade School Giggles. I'd love to see you there.

Monday, July 2, 2012

AMSTI turns 10!;

Happy Birthday to AMSTI!
The Alabama, Math, Science, and Technology Initiative 
held a big birthday celebration at the 
U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama! 
What a great location to mark the occasion!  

Guests included AMSTI Staff and Specialists, and friends of AMSTI... 
including State Senators, Representatives, parents, 
teachers, students, sponsors, and even a few astronauts!

Guest speaker for the occasion was former astronaut Leland Melvin, 
NASA's associate administrator for education.

Also impressive was the wonderful dinner we had while sitting 
underneath the Saturn V

Read all about the celebration here.

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