Sunday, September 13, 2015

Monday, September 15, 2014

Math on Mondays - skip counting

Welcome back to Math on Mondays

This week I'd like to discuss Skip Counting.
A good foundation in Skip Counting is very  important.
It helps with adding doubles, telling time, counting money, and of course, multiplication.

So we sing skip counting songs every day during my Calendar routine. 
The calendar helper points with a pointer to a large Hundreds Chart, as we sing along.
I have some skip counting songs, but I don't have the name of the CD on hand.  I'll post it up in a few days, once I find the case.

Anyway, so after a few months of learning these songs.  We sing two of them every morning.  Then I let the children work by themselves counting manipulatives that I have.  Now I have already posted about my junk jobs which are collections of buttons, beads, coins, keys, lids etc.etc. 

Well I also have a bunch of Work Jobs that I made when I started teaching. 
What are Work Jobs??? 

It's one of the original hands-on math programs.  The Author, Mary Baratta-Lorton
wrote the program Math Their Way, which I believe to be the grand-old-lady of hands on math programs.    I used Math Their Way for years as a Kindergarten teacher.  Work Jobs expands on it, and Work Jobs II expands it even more.

Click on the photo above to check out the amazon listing. 
I strongly recommend checking if you can find this book at the library, or molding away in the back of your school bookroom, because the ideas in it are fabulous.
 Check back for my post on how I put my own Work Jobs together.
I use them for everything.  Addition, Subtraction, Skip Counting, Estimating, patterning...

Here we have playdough "cookies" from my Work Jobs. This child is skip counting by 2's.  To start the unit, though, I ask the kids to group the counters by the number they are using so that they can visually see what's going on - it's just a bit time consuming.

Birthday candles - this child is starting to group by 10's, but they just can't help sorting them by colour first can they?

This child is grouping by 10's as well.
I give each child 5 minutes at a Work Job (I actually call them Math Boxes in my classroom), and then they rotate around their table to the next one.  There are six children at each table, so 6 rotations lets them experience all the Math Boxes at their table.  I do this A LOT.  Because I want to increase their exposure to the manipulaties, so that they can stop playing with them.  The more exposure to the manipulatives, the less they get distracted during a lesson, and the more learning occurrs.  That's my theory at least.
Thanks a lot for stopping by today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Literacy at Home: Parents are the most important part of Learning to Read.

Parents are the most important people in a child’s life.  Did you know that a Kindergarten Aged Child’s brain is not developed enough for them to feel proud of themselves, without some feedback from a parent?  That’s why you hear a lot of “Look at me Mommy!!!!” called out by children on a playground.  When they do something new, they need feedback to feel proud.  They cannot do it by themselves.  This is part of brain development.  Child Psychologists call this “Ego-Centric”.

That’s a lot of power over the brain of a young learner.   Teachers can take that role in a child’s life in the classroom because parents are not present.  But it’s never as strong a connection as the parent-child relationship.  There’s a lot a parent can do to help their children become good readers, and it’s not a lot of work, or very difficult.
I’m starting a series of blog posts today on how parents can help their children learn to read.  This is called Literacy at Home.

 Parents use text every day for a lot of different reasons.  In our electronically influenced world most text we see is on a computer or smart phone screen.  But this should not diminish the fact that you need to be able to read, and write, to use them.

Children are built to learn, and one of their best tools for learning is observation.  Children watch their parents very closely all the time.  They use their parents as models to show them how to do things in life.  This means that parents can be powerful teachers of what is important in life.  Parents who show their children that reading is important are the best teachers of literacy at home.  Because children are unable to know what is important by themselves, they look to their parents to show them what is important.  Parents who display literate behaviour, show their children that literacy is very important. 

Children can watch their parent using text every day.  Some examples of reading include newspapers, magazines, recipe books, novels, and, of course tablets, computers, and smart phones.  Examples of writing include personal letters, notes to others, shopping lists, to do lists, and cheques.

It’s easy to model Literacy at Home, and parents do this every day.  Remember that the more your child observes you reading and writing, the more likely they are to think that reading and writing are very important and this will make it easier for them to learn to read.

I've created a free handout, posters and coloring book at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store
CLICK HERE to download the following...

I'm linking this up at Freebie Friday over at  Plants and Pillars
Click on the photo to go check it out.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Math on Mondays - Cute Candy Corn 10 frames

Here's another post from my older series - MATH ON MONDAYS

10 frames are amazing, aren't they???
I love how much it helps children organize their thoughts.
10 frames help children keep track of counting,  see number relationships, learn addition to 10, and understand place value.  Check out this video below to explain more about the value of 10 Frames.

I use 10 frames that I have photocopied out of my teacher's blackline masters from a program called Math Makes Sense 2.  I have hundreds of bingo chips from the dollar store that I keep in little plastic containers with a lid (from the dollar store). 

I also have made a series of these little cards from another blackline master from my teacher's blackline masters.  I mounted them on card stock and laminated them.


To spice things up for my kids, I found these FREE candy corn 10 frames from
Caitlyn Clabby.  Click here to download. 
She also has tons of ideas for using them in her classroom on her blog.

I used them to introduce addition in a whole class activity.
I stuck the candy corn up on the board with a magnet.
Then I had the children replicate it with their own 10 frames and bingo chips.

We did this for a while and then I started combining them together as this set of candy corns goes up to 20.
Once I combined the chips to "make 10"  I pulled out the candy corn that had the answer on it.

This is another new feature I'd like to add to Math on Mondays


Here are 10 more resources using 10 Frames or Candy Corn (or both)

1.   Young and Lively Kindergarten has a great FREE pumpkin roll and cover 10 frame game. 
2.   Rachel Koontz has several FREE resources including worksheets using candy corn.
3.   Kreative in Kinder has FREE pumpkin ten frames.
4.   Illuminations have some great FREE software activities using ten and five frames.
5.   Confessions of a Primary Teacher has some double ten frame worksheets.
6.   Pink Polka Dots has some FREE cute pumpkin ten frames.
7.   Two Fulbright Hugs  has some great FREE10 frame spinners.
8.  Mathematical Thinking has a FREE 10 frame snake which is fun to play.
9.  Marcia Murphy has a numbers 0 - 10 colouring book using 10 frames.
10.  Elena Ortiz has a great free scarecrow 10 frame game.

Friday, September 5, 2014

New Items in my Store...

So I'm getting ready for Fall and the start of the school year.

I am linking up with Five For Friday this week.

Here's what's going on in my universe these days.

This was supposed to be the first week of school for us, but we have been on strike since June 14th, so this week we were back on the picket line.  Here are some photos of the Where's Waldo display our staff made to make fun of our Premier.


Because we aren't at school, I offered up my "tutoring" services to my family.  So every afternoon from 1 to 3 I am tutoring my kids - grade 2 and 3, My neighbor's daughter - grade 2, and my nephews, Grades, K,1,2,and 3.  7 Kids in my dining room.  So far, no major problems and when they act up I send them out to jump on the trampoline.  Here's the best photo I could come up with.

As you can see from the photo, some kids are out on the trampoline when I took this.
My daughter looks thrilled right?  She's the only one having a lot of trouble with this.

This week I revamped one of my freebies.
It's been a pretty popular one, and now it's much cuter!
for a free copy.

I have a new ELA product in my store this week.


This is a product with printable posters and blackline masters to create a student workbook of songs and poems that they can take home and share with their parents.

There are songs and poems for every major holiday
Veterans (Rememberance) Day
Valentine's Day
St. Patrick's Day
Earth Day

and a whole series of songs and poems about the colors for months like August and September.

There are versions which include the American and Canadian spellings of words like "color" and "colour".

I recommend keeping these in a student Duo-Tang and adding pages as the year goes on. In my class I send these books home on the weekends and expect the kids to read them to their parents over the weekend and bring the book back to school on Mondays.


And here's a product I am really, really proud of.

This package contains lessons and activities about
- Different kinds of birds
- Body parts and their uses
- How birds Breathe
- What they eat
- Why they can fly
- The different ways birds can move
- The uses and colors of feathers
- What birds eat
- How birds look for food
- Nests and Eggs
- Life cycle of a bird
- Classification of a bird
- Migration
- Why birds can perch on power lines.
- Heart rate and breathing
- Facts vs opinions about birds
- Full color posters
- Children's coloring book
This unit is full of printables for easy prep.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently for September

Well here we sit in BC.  We should be starting back to school tomorrow, but we are out on strike, waiting for a settlement to our contract negotiations.

I'm not about to get into all the gory details, but we went out on strike with 2 weeks left in the school year last June, and nothing has been settled because the government really wants to destroy the teachers' union.

So both my own children, and my students are not starting school tomorrow.

I'm married to a teacher, and I live in the most expensive city in Canada.  Thankfully my parents are able to help my husband and I financially so we won't lose our home.

But anyway, I'd rather discuss more pleasant things like my new favourite TV show - Outlander - I loved those books and I'm really enjoying the show.  

Hawaii would be a great place to vacation right now.

but I've been to Hawaii a few times, so placed I'd love to visit include Belize - which is supposed to have some amazing diving, Thailand - which has amazing beaches, and India which has amazing culture - one day for sure.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Math on Mondays

I'm going to revamp an old series I ran a few years ago.  

Welcome to Math on Mondays.

I love, love, love teaching primary math.   It's so much fun and there are so many fun games you can play with the kids.  And the kids usually love these too.

Before I start with today's topic, I just wanted to give you a basic (very basic) overview of what the most important parts of the curriculum are here in BC.  They are very similar to the Common Core goals in the U.S.

About 5 or 6 years ago, our math curriculum changed dramatically here in BC.  Now the focus has changed from simply getting the correct answer, to explaining HOW you got the answer you did.

Things got really vocabulary heavy overnight.

You need to know the math vocabulary to explain your thinking clearly.   Well, I teach in an area of around 75%- 80% English as a Second Language learners.  We call them ELL here in Vancouver.

That means there needs to be a lot of time for the children to 'play' and use the language that they are learning.  We call it "Talking the Math"  or "Using Math Words".

Of course, GUIDED play is what I mean.

So today I thought I'd give you some steps that I use with my students to achieve guided play.  Because, really, by Grade 2, they should be able to use manipulatives as learning tools more than playthings.

So on to Today's Topic.


What is junk??? Well, you could actually call it Re-Using - remember the 3 R's of Recyling.??  Basically I use whatever I can save until I have enough to make a jar of 'Junk'.   I used to teach at an Inner City school where the parents did not have a lot of money to donate to the school and the PAC (PTA) did not really exists at all.  So what that meant is that I needed to get resourceful and collect whatever I could to make tubs of manipulatives.  You can also ask the parents to donate things from home.  I'll explain more about this later on in this post.

When I first introduce the junk to the class I usually sit them all in a big circle on the carpet, but my class is too big for my carpet this year, so I need to get them to work at their tables.  I give the children a few minutes to play with the junk they have.  Then I give them a task like make a pattern.  I leave it really open-ended at first.  Some kids just want to play, and if they don't do my task the first day, that's OK.  Every 5 minutes or less we rotate around to the next seat and use that Junk.

It takes about a week, but the kids really need to get that touchy-feely stuff out of their systems.  And after a while we can get down to learning some concepts with this junk.  Also, the best thing about this Junk is it's free.  And another great thing about it is that it is mostly objects that the kids see in their daily lives, so it helps them make connections between concepts and the world around them.

Here's a sampling of some of the "JUNK" in my classroom collection.


BOTTLE CAPS                                              






BEADS, BEADS, BEADS...           





Be imaginative, you can use all sorts of things.
There's around 20 different kinds of things in my Junk Jobs collection.

Next time I'll show you how I store these things.