Monday, February 20, 2017

Show Me The Number! {Representing numerals to 10}

We work with numbers to 10 on a regular basis.  I like to expose my students to a variety of ways of representing each numeral - meaning that although many of them can count orally and find the numeral, I want them to understand that numbers can be shown in many ways!

We have our students sign in each morning in many different ways.  Here is an example of how you can use 10-frames - make small square pictures for each student and have him/her find their picture and place it on the 10-frame to "sign in".  
Note:  I have MANY MORE than 12 students (actually 29 in total - LOL)!  This was taken as an example.

We use dot plates on a regular basis as well.  These are simple to make.  All you need are paper plates and bingo dabbers (or markers).  Dot each plate to represent numerals 1-10.  I like to have the plates look similar to how numerals would look on a dot die for quick number recognition.

This game is a staple in our math centre.  It's called Domino Parking Lot and it is a free download from  You can download it here.  Just add dominoes!

Provocations, or invitations for learning, are activities set up that are meant to "provoke" children.  Math provocations are simple and easy to set up and I love how flexible the materials are so that the children can use them in many different ways!

Recently we added these math cards to the math centre.  Students could use them to represent numerals 1-10 in many different ways.

This student took nearly all afternoon concentrating so that she could explain her great thinking!

You can download these cards for FREE by clicking on the picture below.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

February: All About Friendship!

I love the month of February - the students are very eager to write cards for each other for Valentine's Day and it's the perfect opportunity to discuss what it means to be a friend!
We brainstorm all the nice things we can do for each other.

Last week we set up a post office in our classroom, filled with various cards, stamps, and envelopes (and a mailbox too!) to encourage the children to write messages to one another.

You can find everything you need to set up your Post Office{here}.

They even made their own "mailboxes" when the postal worker delivers the mail!
(yes, they are wine boxes, free from the liquor store!)

You can read all about how we set up our Post Office {here}.

We set up a lot of fun provocations this past week, perfect for Valentine's Day!

The students chose a "secret friend" and made that person a pattern bracelet.  Then wrote "To: and From:" on the envelope and mailed it!  We can't wait to open our packages on Valentine's Day!

We have been working a lot on identifying numbers without having to count them (subitizing) and these games were lots of fun to play!

Roll the die, count the "mail", record on graph.
We often set up co-operative games so that Year 2 students can show Year 1 students how to play.
We played this with a partner or in a small group - roll the die and cover up the numeral on your playing mat.
Flip over a 5-frame card and read it.  Colour in the correct box.
The book, The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins, is one of my favourite books to read - it discusses fair shares.  How many ways can you share the cookies?  Is it fair?  We had a lot of great discussions as we tried to share the "cookies" with our friends.

Then in small groups we worked with numbers to 10, looking at if we could share them (even numbers) or could not share them (odd numbers).

M.M.:  Every time you could share the cookies it reminds me when we count by 2!

We discussed what we could do with the extra cookie when we could not share fairly.

S.F.:  We could cut it in half so we both get part of it.

C.F.:  No one gets it so it's fair.

C.C.:  We could throw it away!

You can find the above math games (and lots more!) in my I Heart You!  A Friendship Unit on TpT.

Monday, January 02, 2017

All About 2-D Shapes

Teaching 2-D shapes is probably my most favourite math strand!
I love making it interactive and hands-on for my students.

Provocations are scattered throughout my classroom - this is a simple and easy one to prepare.  Take coloured Popsicle sticks (I found them at Michaels) and write the name of the shape with a picture of it on both sides.  Encourage your students to build shapes using the Popsicle sticks.  
This makes for a great conversation about sides and vertices!

I always start by leaving out a container with pattern blocks and having students explore the shapes.

I made these shape pointers for students to walk around the classroom and point to different objects that are different shapes.  
This is a big hit!

Working in small groups we use these picture cards and sort them out on the placemat.

Another provocation we set out was asking students to think of ways they could fill in other shapes.
For example, a triangle can be build using many other shapes!

As you can see, this activity lead students to create lots of other amazing creations too!
We just got started with 2-D shapes before the holidays so the first week back we will continue.
Here's a fun and easy booklet to put together.  
The students cut and paste the correct pictures for each shape.

One of my most favourite resources that I purchased years back is these large magnetic pattern blocks from Learning Resources.  They are perfect for whole group lessons and I also left them out on the easel for students to create their own shape pictures.
I bought mine through Scholastic Bonus Catalogue but you can find these at most teacher stores on online at Amazon.

I always teach students that drawing is as simple as starting with shapes.
We did a lesson before Christmas and brainstormed all of the things students could draw to support their writing.
These shape stencils are perfect for those students who are still learning how to draw simple shapes and turning them into pictures.  Our school purchased them from Quality Classrooms.

Working in small groups, I asked students to look closely at these task cards and see if they could figure out what other shapes could be made.  I created these cards so that they don't tell the answer, rather they pose a question and students must manipulate the pattern blocks to figure out the answer.

We played a lot of fun games to reinforce skills in small groups.  Here are a few examples:

Build a Picture - roll the pattern block die (included in my unit - see below) and create a picture, then students had to draw and write about their picture

We also took turns rolling a die I made full of shapes.  We each rolled it 10 times and recorded our findings on our graph.

I also set up this activity on the light table for the students to explore when we return from the holidays next week.  What I love about it most is that it is open-ended - I wonder what they will create with the translucent shapes!

You can find all of these activities and so much more in my new unit All About 2-D Shapes!
(Click the picture below to see more)

And it's on SALE until tomorrow evening!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Our Dinosaur Inquiry

Our dinosaur inquiry started when a student brought in a dinosaur tooth from home!
You see, students bring things in all the time - photos or artefacts from a vacation, nature items collected on their way to school, small trinkets or toys to use in class, etc. 
I always invite the students to share their treasure with the class and we usually leave them in a special spot for others to take a closer look.
The dinosaur tooth was instantly popular by many!  We saw over the course of the day many students use magnifying glasses and sketch the tooth or ask the student who brought it in all about where he got it and which dinosaur the tooth belonged to.
The next day we set up a provocation for the students to dig a little deeper into dinosaurs to see if there was a spark.

There were so many great conversations happening at this table that my teaching partner and I felt we should bring this to whole group sharing time.

*Please excuse the messy writing but our students were so intrigued and our conversation was so deep that it was hard to keep up with their wonders!*
We usually start an inquiry by asking the children what they think and wonder.  We branch off and plan our inquiry from there.
We knew that one of the biggest questions students had was about where they came from and why they no longer existed. 

I found these hatching eggs (leave them in water overnight for them to hatch) from the Dollar Store.  We just left them in jars for students to wonder what they could be.  We didn't add water for a few days as we really wanted to hear the students' thinking.
When we finally did add water we had students sitting around the table nearly all day waiting and watching to see what would happen!

The students loved watching the eggs hatch that later on that week another student brought in a similar experiment - these small capsules had dinosaurs inside and one student set up a guessing game for his friends before we placed them in water.

We overheard the children have conversations about the pictures they found when researching in books and on the iPad.  Lots of great conversations and interest in volcanoes!

My teaching partner bleached ribs and chicken bones which we hid in the sandbox for our students to experience what it is like to be a palaeontologist.  We also left them out with clay for our students to create fossils.

We also set up this provocation, inviting our students to look closely at the many types of dinosaurs and draw one!

After reading different books about dinosaurs, and what may have caused them to become extinct, we left out a variety of objects for the students to create and tell their own dinosaur story.

Their play even extended into the small world play area and sand box!

As our inquiry grew, we co-created this documentation wall with our students.

We wanted to offer our students a chance to put together a dinosaur, just like a palaeontologist.  Many thanks to Darla Myers for inspiring us to create a 3D dino using wrapping paper tubes!

Here is our finished documentation in the hallway outside of our classroom!