Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Favorite Reading Place?

I snapped this picture of our oldest brushing her teeth while reading a book. 
My mommy/teacher heart was filled.

Where do you like to read? 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Bright Idea For A Part-Part-Whole Manipulative

I have been on a part-part-whole kick.  So let's just continue that with one more bright idea (well, for now!)

I love using number bracelets, divider plates, and shake and spill to work on part-part-whole.  But I wanted a manipulative that tied directly to the number bond graphic:

I started with chenille sticks (or pipe cleaners).

Then I created a number bond manipulative.  The two parts are one color and the whole is a different color.

Once it is made, students can use any kind of manipulatives to break apart numbers (buttons, beans, or beads.)  We used beads.

Students can move the beads around to create different combinations of a specific number.

The great thing...this number bond manipulative can be used over and over with different numbers.

If you would like to hear some more ideas, please join me on TPT and Pinterest.

Please check out the links below for a variety of bright ideas from many, many other bloggers!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

PD Day: Small Group Instruction

Professional Development.  It can be tricky.  You hope to gain a lot.  You hope that the day will be a good use of time away from your kiddos.  But you never really know for sure how it is going to go.  There is no guarantee.

When it goes is awesome (but can also be overwhelming when you go to school the next day and try to implement every single little thing that you learned....poor kids!!)

Today I had a PD with Smekens Education on small group reading instruction.  And...well...I came away with messy papers and sticky notes everywhere.  That's a good sign!

So I need to reflect a little and process all my take-aways from the workshop.

First of all...this book!

I bought it.  I know that I am late to the bandwagon because I saw this book all over the blogs this summer.  But time goes quick and I just didn't jump fast enough.  So I am jumping aboard now and I can't wait to dive in to the book and Jan Richardson's website.  WOW!!! It is jam-packed with good stuff.

One thing that sold me on this book...Jan Richardson's lists of the high frequency words that are covered for each book level.  I have been pretty happy with the sequence of my high frequency words, but there are gaps and it could be better.  So what is my new of my high frequency sequence. I did not leave feeling like I need to completely change everything that I do in my guided reading groups.  THANK GOODNESS!!!  There are just some things I want to tweak or add.  So these may seem like small take-aways, but they are not.  Each little idea helps me to grow and I am so thankful!

1. Reading Salad...Karen and I do use this great idea from Tanny McGregor.  It is all about the thinking that takes places during reading.  During this PD, they talked about "distracting voice."  These are the voices or thoughts that are completely off topic when reading and discussing a book.  Brilliant!! We are totally going to throw some highlighters or baseballs into the bowl just to show that those thoughts do not belong in our reading salad!

2. Fluency...Last year Karen and I taught a visual fluency lesson to illustrate what fluency actually LOOKS like.  It was really successful and we want to do it again.  But we were introduced to a fluency rubric today that is actually created with our students.  YES!! Perfect!!  We will now be adding this to our lesson sequence.

3. Character...This idea comes with a terrible picture.  Sorry but it was the best I could get with my phone.

This picture shows a way to quickly discuss the feelings of a character during the story.  When you lift the flaps it is the same thing but for a different character.  I love this idea!! What a great way to compare and contrast two characters and their feelings.

4. High Frequency Words..I do need to tweak a few things.  More high frequency word writing.  Right now I do not do any.  Yikes! We just read the words in isolation and within text.  I need to do more of the written component for my lower kiddos.  I also need to have more interaction with these words (quick little games or letter manipulation.)

5. Reading Strategies...I really think Karen and I hit these well.  But one strategy I realize that I need to use more of is what Smekens called "analogy charts."  Basically, it is bridging that connection between words like "play" and "stay."  I need to explicitly show them how known words can help them to read unknown words.

6. Punctuation...They gave some great book recommendations to really illustrate the power of punctuation.

 An activity was also explained called Alphabet Soup.  It is just a quick way to have the kids practice punctuation marks with just alphabet letters.  This will be super helpful to my lower students because they can focus their energy on practicing the punctuation marks, instead of solving unknown words.  I found a full explanation of the quick activity on their website.

Now it is time to actually try some of these new ideas out!  I can't wait to share how they actually turn out in action :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

How I SEE Numbers: Part-Part-Whole

I think that it is a pretty good sign that our Number Talks are working when my firsties just start to EXPLAIN how they see a number before I can even ask the question.
They touch their little noses (our sign that they are ready) and are so eager to talk about how they see the dot cards, tens frames, or rekenreks.
I touched on skill this last year but after reading Number Talks and being more intentional about the cards I show, I see a BIG difference. 

I love having the conversation about how they see a dot card in different ways.  We even have a bulletin board right behind my table where I display the different ways that they see the same exact dot image.

This led to an idea...

I stated in one of my previous math posts about our routine of each student working with "their" number.  They are doing lots of different activities to help them see the different number bonds for a given number.  They are moving at their own pace and do not move on to the next number until they know the different parts of the number they are on.  You can check out that post HERE:)
I wanted to give them the freedom to visualize these numbers in their own way.  

So I decided that I wanted something like this:

I quickly went home and created something like this and tried it out on some of my firsties.

They really seemed to enjoy it, the activity tied to our daily discussions, and best of all...they were working on "their" number.  But, of course, I was not satisfied with just these sheets.  I needed more.

I made sheets for the numbers 3-10 that look like this (These are four different sheets).  I need differentiated materials for my groups because everyone is working at different levels.  This gives me some different options because some students can handle three problems and some can handle more.  Some kids need the whole number filled in right now and some do not.

But still...I wanted more because we are also working on to help them see the connection between addition and subtraction

What do you think?  I hope that it will be helpful to my firsties and your students!!  If you want to try it out...I put a sample up for FREE.  It is for the number five.  Otherwise, the full pack includes numbers 3-10!

 Are there any routines you are using to help with fact fluency?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rhyme to Read App

Morning work...I may have mentioned that my teammates decided to change it up a bit this year.  No more worksheets or silent reading.  Instead...iPads.

Each day the students have a different folder to pick apps from.  We've got "Math Monday," "Terrific Spelling Tuesday,"  Writing Wednesday," and "Reading Thursday."  Friday is a free choice day.  Some of the apps that are available: Splash Math, Farfaria, RazKids, Scribble Press, and Rhyme to Read are just a few.

I wanted to focus on Rhyme to Read today because the company was nice enough to let me try it out with my students.  And what I found is that they really enjoy it and I love that it connects to what I am teaching! 

There are 20 books lined up on bookshelves.  Each book focuses on one word family.  Perfect!  Right now we are working on short vowel sounds.  Once a book is chosen and opened up, the students see one word from that particular word family.  With each page, a new word from that word family is introduced.  I really like that each onset is one color and the rime is a different color.  Students can see how the words are connected.

The words are then put into a sentence on the opposite page.  Yes!!! That is what they need.  They need to see those words in print.

What is great is that these books connect to what I am currently teaching; therefore, my students can read this books independently.  This can be during our morning work or during my phonics block.  But if they do get stuck on a word, they can tap the word and it is read to them.  Thank you!! It shows them how to blend those sounds together.  This little bit of modeling is just what some of them need.

We'll continue to use this app as we grow as learners this year!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Connecting Addition and Subtraction

 How do you teach addition and subtraction?  Do you teach one first and then the other?  Do you teach them at the same time?

Not sure what the right answer is.

We have been touching on both this year and working hard to build that number sense.  But we had not been explicit about the connections between addition and subtraction.  But the time has come.

Jess and I started with this:

 We introduced the "whole-part-part" with hula hoops by asking: "What do you see?"  And guess what...?  Our number talks must be working because they replied with:
 "Oh, I see two balloons and two more balloons. 2 and 2 make 4."
"I see two small hula hoops and one big hula hoop.  2 and 1 make 3."

Yep!! We love it!!

Our lesson was ready to start!  We explained the whole number and how it can be broken into parts.

(Sorry, this example is with the whole number: 5.)
We broke the number into two parts (subtraction) and showed how we can then put the numbers back together (addition).  It was SO..MUCH..FUN!  The kids were engaged and excited to help us break apart these numbers.

We helped them transfer this learning to paper.

This lesson is the foundation for our week of addition/subtraction lessons.  Here are some activities we found (click on them for their original posts) and decided to use (with our own twists):

1. We want to make this anchor chart from "The Classroom Key" (one piece of it each day).

Our week will start off with a review of our hula hoop activity....but with chenille sticks and beads.

2. We want to show "whole-part-part" with plates like Dr. Jean.

3. Just another way to show "whole-part-part" but with hangers (can't find original source.)

4. We also want to do an activity with cubes.  Each kid will have two different colors to make a part-part-whole equation.

 I think it is going to be a fun week!  But do you have any other suggestions?  We are ALWAYS looking for more ideas!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Number Sense....Trying Something New

I've said it before and I will continue to say it....I love that our career allows us to try new ideas.  And if they fail, we try something else.  And if they don't fail, we try it again, but make it even better!

One problem we have found at my school...our kids don't know their facts.  Like really KNOW them.  So we are really trying to build their number sense understanding.
Number sense...I am learning.

My teammates Jess, Carrie, and I have been reading:

 The Right Brained Addition and Subtraction suggests to set up the facts as a neighborhood. Here is what Jess made:

Our overall goal is to help the kids visual the facts.  Jess really builds the foundation for these "streets" during her number of the day routine.  Then we expand on it in guided math goups.

We start each of our guided math groups with some math talks.  I found all the "number talk" strings on TPT from the Number Sense Guy.  Um...thank you!! This saved me a lot of creating.  Here is the pack I bought:

Now times this stack by 2 because I bought the first grade and kindergarten set.  Needless to hand hurt from cutting!

 Once we complete our discussion, each student gets to work on their "number." (A little something I learned from the Math Coach.)  We are trying to give each student some time to work with their particular number.  and once they master the facts for that number, they move on.
Our firsties get to use number bracelets, rekenreks, and houses to practice their facts.

 I really like the house manipulative because I think it makes our "fact neighborhood" more concrete.  They get to drop the beans in the house and find out how many people live upstairs and downstairs.  Sometimes they record this on the sheet that I made up and sometimes they just make a simple T-chart.

During this time, Jess, Carrie, and I are able to work individually with students.  We are completing quick assessments to determine what "number" each student is on.  It looks like this:

We are hoping, hoping, hoping that these little changes will make a big impact on our students and help them to KNOW their facts.

Any suggestions...we will take them!

Up next...connecting addition and subtraction.