Saturday, October 26, 2013

Number Paths ~ A Fabulous Tool for Kindergarten and First Grade Math!

Number lines are common in primary classrooms - but a number path may be a better tool for many students to use as they work with addition, subtraction and comparison problems. 

A number line uses a model of length. Each number is represented by its length from zero. Number lines can be confusing for young children. Students have to count the "hops" they take between numbers instead of counting the numbers themselves. Students' fingers can land in the spaces between numbers on a number line, leaving kids unsure which number to choose (Fuson et al, 2009). 


A number path is a counting model.  Each number is represented within a rectangle and the rectangles can be clearly counted. A number path provides a more supportive model of numbers, which is important as we want models that consistently help students build confidence and accurately solve problems.
I have been using number paths for a few years and highly recommend them for use in Kindergarten and First grade. 
Most major publishers are not yet utilizing number paths. So, I wrote some word problems using number paths. Click here to download the free samples shown below.   

Students are presented with multiple ways to solve each problem. Once students are familiar with the ways these sheets support their problem solving, I often have each student choose at least 2 ways to show and check their work. This allows each student to utilize the methods that are most efficient for him/her. I love to give students time to discuss why they chose certain methods to solve a problem! 

Each sheet includes a related extension/bonus question at the bottom. These questions can be used in a variety of ways. 

These bonus questions are perfect extension activities for students to discuss and complete at home with a family member. I love to see the extension work that students return! Many parents have commented that they appreciate the challenging nature of these questions.

When these word problems are used for whole-group instruction, it is common for some students to have completed tasks while others still need support. “Early finishers” can read the bonus question, flip their paper over and work on this challenge question while the teacher provides individual and/or small group instruction as needed. In this way, these bonus questions help teachers differentiate during group lessons. 

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.  :) Anne

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mystery Number Puzzles with Hundreds Charts

A few weeks ago, I saw a picture on Pinterest of a hundred chart that had been cut up and turned into a puzzle. I loved it!

I got to thinking, wouldn't it be great to put a twist on that and turn it into a math center?  Here's what  I came up with . . . 

I started with a few hundred charts copied onto different colors of tagboard. I like to enlarge my charts to 11 x 17 to make them easier to work with.  Just like in the pin I had seen, I cut the charts into puzzles.  

Then, I simply removed some numbers from each puzzle. 

Now, it's set up so kids can put the puzzle together and then figure out (and record) which numbers are missing.  I have kids list the missing numbers for each color.  Voila - a bit of accountability.  

I was lucky ~ I happened to have envelopes the same color as my puzzles.  But, if I didn't, I'd just use ziploc bags and color-code them with a sticker or dot. 

To differentiate, I'm thinking of letting kids who need extra support build directly on another hundred chart.

After kids are confident with this, we'll move on to puzzles using a 120 chart!

For a challenge, kids could have to explain in writing how they know which numbers are missing.  (Another challenge I am considering is having kids find puzzle pieces with one or more lines of symmetry.)   

Hope you enjoy this idea.  Let me know if you think of more twists to add.  Thanks for stopping by and taking a look!   :) Anne

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Harvest Sensory Learning!

Adding a simple sensory component to lessons can bring such joy and engagement!  Here are a few simple ideas for quickly adding a sensory component to early literacy lessons. 

I love doing letter/sound sorts with kids.  In this case, we'd talk about the /p/ sound as in pig and the /m/ sound as in mouse.   Then kids sort the objects - both magnetic letters and "tiny treasures" - onto the letter cards.  

Just hiding the objects in a bin of corn and having kids reach in and take the first thing they touch adds a whole new component!

There's something so appealing about corn.  Ever reach into a bin?   I live in rural upstate New York, where we can just stop by the feed store to pick up a bag of corn.  But, corn from the grocery store works just as well.  (It doesn't take much to fill a small plastic bin.)  

As kids work with sight words, the letters to form a few words can be hidden in the bin of corn. Here's a simple game to play:  
Provide a few word cards. 
Kids reach in, take a letter and place it on the word card.  
When they complete a word, they read it and keep the card.  
Adding a writing component is a snap ~ kids can record the words they "won" in this simple game.  

If you don't have a bag of corn, a bin of rice works just a well!

Did these pictures trigger more ideas for simple sensory experiences that support literacy lessons?   If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look!  I'm collecting simple ideas to make learning fun for kids.  I hope you'll check out my Pinterest page and consider following along with me.  :) Anne Gardner