Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Can you guess how many seeds are in our pumpkin?

We had a few pumpkins in our class this year.
The large one, which we chose on our trip to the Pumpkin Patch a few weeks back, was carved just before Halloween.
We also had some small gourds at the Discovery Table as well as a pie pumpkin.
The other day I cut open the pie pumpkin and students began to see what was inside.
They were so surprised at how many seeds they could see!
A few students scooped out the seeds and wanted to wash them to get a better look.
I asked the students how many seeds they thought there were:

M.D.:  Maybe 100.
M.R.:  I think there are more than 1000!

We set off to count the seeds.
The students quickly realized that counting each seed was taking a long time and they easily lost track of which ones they already counted in the container.
So I asked if they could think of a better way to count the seeds.
S.B.:  We can look up how many there are in a book!
A.T.:  Maybe the computer will tell us how many there are supposed to be.
M.D.:  We can put them in piles and each count some.
Our students are familiar with using the 5-frame mats at our math centre since we have been using them for a few weeks.  My Senior Kindergarten students are also familiar with using a 10-frame mat since they would have remembered how to use one from last year.
So the students quickly began to place the seeds on the 10-frame mat as "counting by 10's is faster to get to 100" (M.D.).

The children began placing the seeds down on the table but soon realized that they were running out of room.  So they began using the floor (after an announcement was made to the rest of the class to please be careful around the work on the floor).
This was a big project that started yesterday and took most of this morning!
Once the children set aside 10 mats (of 10 seeds each) they understood that there were 100 seeds - they couldn't believe they counted out 100 seeds!
I asked them to place the seeds in a jar and label it for the rest of the class to see.
But there were still more seeds to count!
So we used our 10-frame mats once again and continued counting.
We reached another 100 seeds and placed them in a jar.
By the time we were finished, we had 4 jars labelled (3 of them had 100 seeds and the last had 27).
We added the numbers together to get a total of 327 seeds!
The rest of the class couldn't believe there were that many inside!
This was a fun, hands-on and meaningful activity that we all enjoyed!
Here are some great books that you might like to keep displayed near your pumpkin for the students to enjoy:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Class Needs...a Learning Carpet! An online project

My students are hands-on thinkers, creators and learners.
They love using manipulatives and materials around the classroom to explore and solve problems.
When I first saw The Learning Carpet being used last fall in a kindergarten classroom, I knew this would be a perfect learning tool in my classroom too!
There are so many uses for this carpet!  I can't wait to explore with the children all that we can do with our manipulatives!
I love how the students in this class are using The Learning Carpet as a sorting and graphing tool.
(Photo from
I started an online fundraising project through My Class Needs, a website where Canadian teachers are able to ask for donations in order to purchase the materials needed for their class.
In return, donors receive a tax receipt (and a huge thank you from me!).
My project has been active for several weeks and will come to an end in just over 2 weeks.
I am very grateful to the Copernicus Eco Fund for donating half of the carpet!
We are almost there! 
I would really like to see it complete, and my students to receive their new Learning Carpet before the Christmas Break.
I would greatly appreciate any and all help!
If you are able to make a donation, please click the picture above.
Remember - you are helping students learn and will receive a tax receipt in return.
You can e-mail me at and let me know which product you would like from my TpT store in return for your generous donation.
Thank you so much for inspiring learning in our class!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trick AND Treat...a Halloween surprise!

Fall is upon us and that means it's time for some Teaching Trick & Treating!
That's right - I have teamed up with my Freebielicious friends again to share some 
teaching tricks and special free treats for you!
I have been focusing on making my math area much more inviting and fun!
I try to offer a variety of manipulatives for the students to use.
(Sorry - in this picture it looks a little messy!  The children enjoy using everything here!)
This year I have decided that some of the best manipulatives you can have are very VERY inexpensive...from the Dollar Store or, best of all, free!
See the adorable Jack-o-Lanterns?
Dollar Store.
And these beautiful glass beads?
Yup, Dollar Store.
You can do so much using them!
The students used the glass beads to count out and practice identifying ways to make a number on this hundreds grid.
I love using these small tiles (FREE - just head on into your neighbourhood tile store and ask for discontinued tiles).
Students can create patterns, place them into the ice cube tray for 1:1 correspondence, graph how many of a specific colour there are...the possibilities are endless.
This week I plan on reviewing some number sense concepts with the students, one in particular being subitizing.
Subitizing is simply when you are able to instantaneously recognize a number without counting it (on a dot die, for instance, or on a ten-frame).
Do you have lots and lots of paper plates like I do?
Don't know what to do with them?
Well, make Dot Plates!

I love playing the Dot Plates game with the and easy to make too!
Using a bingo dabber, dot your paper plates the same configuration as the numbers on a die or a ten-frame.
Quickly flash them to the students and see if they can identify the number you held up.
I created this ready-to-print game focusing on subitizing.  All you need to do is add some dice!
You will see how quickly your students can identify numbers!
Click on the picture above to get your FREE download!
Best part is, you can double up dot die numbers and see if they can still identify it!
Hop along to the next Freebielicious friend to see what their Trick & Treat is!
Happy {early} Halloween!  Enjoy all the goodies!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dramatic Centre Fun and FREEBIE!

I've had some e-mails over the past month in regards to how our Dramatic Centre works.
When designing the space for the Dramatic Centre this year, I kept in mind that last school year it was one of the most popular areas to play in so I wanted to make the space large enough to reflect all the learning taking place here.
Our Dramatic Centre is in the middle of our classroom.  I used the kitchen furniture, along with the backside of the blocks shelf and a puppet theatre, to frame the area off.
My DECE and I listen to the conversations from the students to get ideas as to what this area can turn in to.
A few weeks back, some students were eating snack at the Snack Table and they realized that they both had muffins.  They told me that they had made the muffins with their families on the weekend.  So I suggested that they could turn the Dramatic Centre into a bakery and show the other students in our class how to make muffins and other baked goods.
The children were very excited to make a sign for their new area and got to work on it right away.
Other children who wanted to help decided to make some baked goods using materials found around the classroom.
The above picture is of a "pie".
We discussed the many different types of things a bakery would sell, including the various baked goods (bread, cookies, etc.) to different types of drinks (coffee, tea, etc.).
I had one student interested in writing down these ideas in the form of a list.
The next day I brought in a plastic cupcake toy.  The students enjoyed using it and decided that they wanted to take orders and deliver them.
After listening to the children, I asked if any of them wanted to create pretend baked goods such as those on their list.  They were excited to mix flour, water and salt to form a play dough that could be baked and used for their items at the bakery.

All of the students helped measure, pour and mix our dough.

We turned our dough into so many different baked goods!
I love how the students used scissors to add detail to their items.

Once everything had baked, we were ready to sort and label our goods, just like in a bakery.  The students decided to write labels for themselves.
I supported and extended their learning by creating these ordering forms which they loved!
Since it's still early in the school year, these order forms were perfect for both the readers and non-readers as they could easily look at the pictures.
You can find all of the above (and LOTS more!) in my Bakery Dramatic Play Center.
Last week, we were noticing that the students were talking more and more about Halloween.
I saw a creative idea from Ms. M, a colleague from another school, and decided to modify it for my classroom.  When I was at the Dollar Store last weekend (I am there so often I think they know me by now!), I found small plastic Halloween pieces that I thought the students would like.

 I put them out and found that the students organized and labelled them all in containers.
We noticed that the students were really interested in mixing the ingredients in a pot and pretending to make spells and magic.
This is what our Dramatic Play Centre looked like last week.
So today we put out a "Book of Spells" along with writing paper encouraging the students to write down ingredients and directions on how to make their spell.
The students enjoyed writing their spells and placing them in the binder.
We added a few "magic words" that they might use for their spells.
We posted some Halloween words to encourage writing as well and, of course, a "Beware of Witches" sign!
Some students wanted to add more 'scary' things to our Halloween Dramatic Play area so we cut up some large black garbage bags and hung them from the ceiling.
Another great idea from Ms. M ... mix up some real "potion" (using vinegar and baking soda)... I think the students will love this experiment at the end of the week!
You can download your Witches' Brew Dramatic Play Centre for FREE by clicking the picture below.
I hope your students will enjoy playing at your Dramatic Centre as much as mine are!