Thursday, April 23, 2015

Number Bonds

We've been working on Number Bonds this year and I wanted to show families an example of what this looks like.  Kids will use Number Bonds all the way through school as a way of seeing that numbers go together.  This is an example we've been using with number bonds, when working with our teen numbers.  We put the sum of our number bond in the top square or the biggest square, and then show the parts of that number.

Obviously, there are many more ways to make 15.  If kids put 8 and 7 in the bottom boxes, they would be correct, but our purpose today was to use the teen numbers.  We want to show that 10 and another number makes our teen number.  

I love using number bonds as a visual for kids who are beginning to understand the relationship between numbers. I also love the idea of telling a story about these numbers.  Here's an example:

"This is a math mountain. It's called the 15 Math Mountain.  There were 15 tiny rocks sitting at the top of 15 Math Mountain.  We'll call these rocks tiny tumblers.  One day the mountain started to rumble and the rocks started to fall.  10 tiny tumblers rolled down one side of the math mountain.  All of the rest rolled down the other side. How many rolled down the other side?"

Sometimes I will have kids draw the tiny tumblers on the side of the mountain as a visual.  (Drawing tiny tumblers is also great to develop fine motor skills!)

Here's a tip to file away, especially as kids get older.  Amazon sells triangular flash cards that use this same idea of number bonds.  This is what they look like.  This is an example of the addition and subtraction flash card.  You would simply cover one corner (any corner you want) and ask your child what the number is that is missing.  For most kindergarten students, this is more than they are ready for right now.  It's a great product and something you might be interested in purchasing as they get older.  They also sell these in multiplication and division.  Here's the link to the product on Amazon.  

You will notice number bonds on the homework this week.  Hope this little blog post helps with that!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Documenting Learning On Instagram

Are you on Instagram? I've been on Instagram since (I'm guessing) the day it started.  I heard about Instagram when it was mainly photographers sharing photos and I loved the idea. Since it started, it has exploded and is now the social media of choice for most teens (as well as bloggers and teachers). I post pictures of home life, my kids, family vacations, and school life on my Instagram account. I would love it if you would come join me! My user name is homeiswheremystorybegins. If you "follow" me, I will be able to see who you are and can follow you back.

Now, here's the cool thing about Instagram: It's a GREAT way to share learning experiences with one another!!  If your child is playing at the beach and a pod of orcas swims right in front of you, snap a picture and share it on Instagram.  (Ok, that is a TRUE story that happened to one of our PM kindergarten students this weekend.)  If your child builds an awesome stream with the hose, in the backyard, take a photo and share it! The opportunities for learning and new experiences are ALL around us and in order to share our learning with each other, I've created a hashtag.  It's #makelearningvisible.  For those of you who aren't familiar with hashtags, if you put #makelearningvisible in the comment of your post, it categorized the photos for us.  So you will be able to see a ton of photos that other people have taken and used the same hashtag for.  All you have to do is click on the link (the actual hashtag).  Again, that means we are sharing all of the great learning experiences are kids are having.  If you take photos of a great sink/float activity at home, it might inspire another parent to try the same thing with their child... hence the name Make Learning Visible. 

I posted photos of my daughter's wire craft projects.

I shared a few photos from the zoo.  (We're still wondering if that duck really only has one leg or if he is just trying to be more like his flamingo friends.)

Sometimes, I just post pretty pictures of things that inspire me... like art supplies.  You can never have too many art supplies with kids around.

I post photos of classroom activities quite often, although I don't show kids' faces.

Come join me, friends! Help me on my mission to MAKE LEARNING VISIBLE for our kids!  It also helps me learn more about your family and connect on a deeper level with the kids!

Search for me on Instagram. homeiswheremystorybegins 

Counting By Tens

We've been working on counting by 10's to 100 all year long, but this week we put that practice into action. We've been using our 10 Frames to help us figure out how many color tiles we have.

During our Independent Practice time, kids counted 10 frames and wrote the number of dots that were represented.  Writing our "decade" numbers is not always an easy task!  Often times, kids confuse 14 with 40 and 13 with 30.  We will be practicing how to read, write and count these numbers in the coming weeks!

Happy counting!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our first baking project was completed this week!  The kids make chocolate chip cookies and they tasted AWESOME!  

A few weeks ago I posted a project on Donors Choose.  Donors Choose is a website dedicated to helping teachers raise funds for classroom projects.  I really wanted to buy a convection oven for projects in the classroom.  I spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my own children and wanted to provide the kindergartners with some of those same experiences.  I had an oven in my former building and loved the curriculum tie-ins that happened in our cooking/baking unit.  Well, I'm happy to say that our cooking cart was funded within a week!  The oven was delivered to our classroom and the fun has begun!!

Tuesday was Cookie Day!  Each class was able to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  We tasted (in small quantities) the different types of sugar.  We smelled the vanilla.  We measured, mixed, scooped, and baked.  There were some new vocabulary words introduced and we read books about cooking.  We even dove into real cookbooks and looked for different text features.  At the end of the day, kids wrote how-to's telling how we made the cookies.  WOW!  That's a lot of work for a 5 or 6 year old!

Here's the recipe, if you want to try making these with your kids at home.

1 Cup Crisco shortening (original, not butter flavor)
3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup white sugar
Mix until soft and fluffy.

2 Eggs
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix just until blended.

Dry ingredients:
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
Mix it up and add a package of chocolate chips.

Bake for 10 minutes (or less) on 350 degrees. My home oven is a standard oven, not convection, and this is what I do.

True confession time:  I make these at least once a week at my house.  (I can't believe I just admitted that!)

Happy baking!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Working In Groups

Kindergarten is a big transition for kids, and they come to school with a wide range of experiences.  While one student might have 7 brothers and sisters, another might be an only child.  Some kids have attended several years of preschool, while this may be the first school experience for others.  One of the biggest jobs of a kindergarten student is learning how to be part of a group.

We start by becoming part of the BIG community.  We learn what it means to be part of a school.  There are other classes around us, and we must learn to be respectful.  We also learn how to be part of a classroom community, and what we need to do to take care of our space and friends inside the space.  We learn to use self control, so we don't disrupt the learning of our classmates.

Working in small groups, without a teacher leading the group, is one of the hardest skills for a kindergarten student to master.  We work in teacher-led small groups throughout the year, but eventually I try to take myself out of the roll of "leader" and let the kids lead the way.  This is tough work when you are 5 or 6!!

Today we started a simple task of using pre-cut hands to represent counting by tens. (The sample, below, only goes to 20, but we went to 100!)

Many of our games, in math, have us using one or two partners.  Today's activity had us working in larger groups of 3 or 4.  Here were some of our challenges:

1. Represent our mathematical thinking
2. Make sure everyone contributes
3. Remember that this is a team activity, not individual

For the most part, working as a team was harder than they expected.  One group sat down with their materials, and without really communicating at all, completed their project from start to finish. (We added more paper to the project below.)

They had listened to the directions and just started working with no conflict.  Another group got their poster paper and started coloring on it.  When I asked them to look around at the other groups, they realized that the needed more supplies and that they weren't following directions.  I prompted them to find out from their neighbors where they could get the supplies they needed.  The same group returned to their seats and all started doing their own thing, rather than working on a cohesive project.

I let them go for a bit, until they realized that their project wasn't really working.  They kept running into each other and were repeating the work that another individual had already done.  At this point, they realized they needed a plan.

Another group was concerned that some of the group members were creating their project vertically and other members were creating their project horizontally.  When I asked the group what they could do to solve that problem, they were stumped for minute.  Finally, one of the group members suggested that they pull some of the hands off and make them all go the same direction.

As you can see, this simple math lesson that involved counting by tens and creating a project to display their tens, had much bigger objectives.  Today we learned more about what it means to be a team member, that it's important to make a plan before starting a project, and that sometimes we need to be flexible when it comes to group work.

In the coming weeks, we will be spending quite a bit of time working in small groups. My hope is that kids will gain a sense of cohesiveness, gain confidence in themselves, dig deeper into their learning than they thought they could, and become great team members.  It's a long process, but one that I think kindergartners are ready to handle.