Game: Making Ten

Kindergarten kiddos are immersed in addition and subtraction right now! They are exploring addition as adding more ‘stuff’ and subtraction as taking away (or removing) ‘stuff’. Many of the kids are in their Level 1 Counting All stage in which they rely on counting one-by-one to get the sum or difference.

For example: 3 + 4. A child at this level would count 1, 2, 3 then 1, 2, 3, 4; putting them together, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

This is acceptable for Kinder kiddos! This is awesome! This is the first step! But it isn’t where we want them to stay, particularly at the end of first grade. I tutor some students in grade 1 who haven’t moved past this level. So I took a game that has been around and edited to push kids into Level 2 Counting On.

Make a Ten!

Object: To find as many pairs of cards that add to 10 in your round.

Materials: Cards 0-10 (4 of each). Note: This is the most crucial component. I will talk more about the cards below.

Directions: (Below is a video clip. Sorry about the sniffling; it is allergy season here in TX!)IMG_9347

  1. Shuffle the cards. Lay out 4 rows of 4, face up.
  2.  Player 1 finds as many pairs of cards that add up to 10. He takes the cards and (I made them do this!) says, “________ and __________ make 10!” He continues until there are no more cards that pair up to make ten.
  3. Take the remaining cards (if any) and put them back in the pile. Reshuffle and lay out 4 more rows of 4 cards.
  4. Player 2 finds as many pairs of cards that add up to 10. She takes the cards and (I made them do this!) says, “________ and __________ make 10!” She continues until there are no more cards that pair up to make ten.

Continue alternating until there are not enough cards left to play. Player with the most cards wins.

Adaptations

Chris did struggle with 4 + 6 (or 6 + 4). I pulled out a ten frame to help with, “How many more do you need to make 10?”. img_9356.jpg

Chris refused to have any extra cards. In fact he got quite cheeky about it. This was his modification (he called it a ‘cheat’). I was perfectly fine with it, as I am sure you would be as well! I did not give him the word ‘altogether’ to use; that was a natural piece of the conversation. Woot! Woot!

 

Card Choices

  • If you are just starting out, only use 0-5 and make sets of 5. This is foundational and kids do not spend enough time on fact fluency to 5 before jumping in to 10.
  • The cards I used were from Eureka Math. I love them, as they are friendly shapes and are in sets of 5’s. So 10 is represented as two-fives. This link will get you to the cards I used as well as others they have (like ten-frames) http://eurekamath.didax.com/exclusive-items.html/
  • If students do not need the symbols (or you are pushing to counting on or fact fluency) I would suggest just write the numbers 0-10 in four colors on index cards. That would be cheap and easy.  You could also make your own cards with dots (if they need the dots to count) or ten frame cards this way as well.
  • You can mix/match as well. Use 2 of each number card 0-10 and 2 sets of each dot or ten-frame card. That way, students have to use counting on for some of the sums.
  • Another site for cards would be Sumboxes. They have number cards larger than 10 so you can play to other sums (like 20, 50, 100, etc.). sum boxesThey also have fantastic dot cards/ten frame cards together for some great exploration! https://sumboxes.com/collections/types?q=52+Pickup+Card+Decks&page=2

Whatever cards you choose to use, make sure they are appropriate for the level of the learner!!!

Game: Making Ten

It’s The Little Things…Writing Notes

When I took Chris to register for Kinder, he was terrified. He looked right at the Vice Principal and told her he would NEVER come to this school. I was mortified and heart broken. How could my child (coming from MEEEEEEE!!!!) be so fearful of school??? Was I in for days of tears and refusals to get up to go?

Fortunately, we were blessed with the most AMAZING Kindergarten teacher.  The first week of school she sent home a note to Chris. note 1 It was the first thing he handed me (all crumpled and loved on) that afternoon. He was so proud that his teacher wrote HIM a note. He asked me to read it again and again, and taped it to his wall near his bed.  This note takes him through the good and the bad; the ‘easy’ and the challenging. I have heard him read this note over and over (when he was busted and in time-out!). This note has carried him through the year.

We have since received numerous notes from his teacher, all as important to him as the first. This one hangs on our fridge as a celebration for his daily counting to learn up to 100! When he struggles with sight words, counting by 5’s, or any rote memorization, we look at that note as a reminder that all things take time to learn. Note 2

Note 3Is it just Chris that loves a little note? Nope. Fast forward to his recent eval for speech. I will be honest. It was a lot of pages expressing a lot of jargon that I forgot the minute I was done reading, except for the part on the back of the eval… I am still teary-eyed when I reread it.  At the end of the day, at the end of the struggles he has, my boy is a good person, and someone noticed.

In this electronic age, let us not forget the little things, like hand-written notes. Why are notes so important? It is unique; someone took time out of their day to physically express something to another person. It expresses that you matter so much that, instead of texting or emailing (which could be a cut/paste), someone took the time to individualize and express thoughts just for you. Wow.

So let’s each commit to writing one note this week:

  • Put a post-it note in your child’s (or students’) lunch or binder letting him/her know how much you care for them
  • Put a note in your significant other’s car specifically telling him/her one kind thought
  • With this being Teacher Appreciation Week for so many districts, send a note letting your child’s teacher know how much they mean to you and your child
  • Mother’s Day (wink…wink…nudge…nudge…) doesn’t have to be just the kids making handmade cards. Let a mama know how much they mean to YOU
  • Put a kind thought on a random door, car, locker, etc.

 

It’s The Little Things…Writing Notes

Show Support (In 5 Words or Less)

It is Teacher Appreciation Week here in Texas. To show my support of teachers, I am dedicating this week’s blog to them. Now don’t get me wrong. Gift cards, flowers, and thoughtful cards from the kiddos (maybe wine…) are all great ways to show how much you and your tiny human appreciate the person who spends more time with them in the week than you do. But here are some ways in your daily interactions to show you care.

  1. I support you.   I cannot emphasize the importance of these three words. Knowing that a parent has your back is an amazing feeling. Educators go through a lot of schooling and training to teach our tiny humans. They know A LOT about children and how they learn. Let them do their job, and support them in whatever way you can.
  2. How can I help? Similar to #1, but requires action on your part. Come in and read to the kids. Help staple papers up on the bulletin boards. Donate materials/gift cards/Scholastic books. Clean the desks on a Friday afternoon. Not available during the day? Ask to have sent home items that need to be torn out, cut out, colored, etc. One year a parent asked to photocopy my papers (This was GOLD, people!!!!). These four words not only show you support your teacher, but you know they work their butts off as well. 
  3. What did he (or she) do? Favorite personal story. Picking up Ev (who is now a teenager) from preschool, I noticed a note in his cubby. I opened it as they were bringing him in from the playground. Ev: Is that from Mr. ____? Me: (Knowing it was a Birthday invite and not from his teacher…) You tell me. Ev: Yes. Me: Well then, what does it say? Ev: (spills his guts.)  Later that night I received a phone call from Mr. ____. I felt horrible for him, as he started by defending himself first. I cut him off and just asked, “What did he do?” And Mr. ____ sighed and said, “Wow. Thank you for believing what I have to say.”  People, these are tiny humans, and they are going to make mistakes. If you think your child will not cover up or lie to your face, then you must have the most angelic child ever, because that just does not happen in my world! Now, I recognize there are two sides to the story, but take into consideration that one side is an adult and one is a child. Do not immediately go on the defense. If you show you support your teacher, your child will behave as such.
  4. How can we help (insert child’s name here)? Every child needs to know that we are working together. It is the triangle of learning: the teacher, the student, AND the parent. Children need to know that learning occurs outside of the walls of their school. The more you can support their learning at home, the more they will see value in what they are learning, and the more they will engage in the learning process (and the more they learn!).
  5. Thank you. No two words are more important. Well, unless you say, “Thank you for…”. That may be even better. So here is mine. Thank you, teachers, for giving up your personal time and resources for my children. Thank you for loving learning so much you want to share that love with others. Thank you for putting up with my oldest’s sassiness and snarky remarks (Wonder where that comes from?!). Thank you for giving extra encouragement and love to my tiny human when he is frustrated or sad. Thank you for being your amazing selves and teaching others.

Much love to all the teachers out there! Jen

Show Support (In 5 Words or Less)

Quick Shows With Ten-Frames

I was asked to come in and work with small groups (4-5 students) in Kindergarten today using ten-frames. The teacher wanted students to unitize by 5, 10, and 15, counting on the rest by ones. For example, if I asked a student, “How many do you see? How do you see them?”, she wanted the students to understand that you could find the value in a variety of ways. Here are a few of the anticipated answers she wants them to give by the end of the year:14

  • I counted them all. One, two, …twelve, thirteen, fourteen (Level 1)
  • I saw two- 5’s, so 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 (Level 2)
  • I saw a ten, so 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 (Level 2)
  • I saw 5’s and 1 missing. 5, 10, 15, (counting backwards) 14 (Level 3)

I had a deck of ten- and double ten-frame cards, so I decided to do some “quick shows”.  I would show a card to the kids for about 5 seconds, and they had to ‘think’ about their value (versus just shouting out the number). We rotated who gave the value first, but every child had to give the value they thought was on the card. I chose a different student to explain how they got the value, then gave every other student a chance to share their thinking. We did this for about 15 minutes per group of 4-5 students.

Here are our ah-ha’s:

  • Out of the 4 groups, only one group stayed within the single 10-frame. I was getting answers from this group that were bigger than 10 every time. For example, when I showed them a card with 8 dots, one said 8, one said 12, and the other two were still counting by ones. I quickly drew a double (or triple) 10-frame and grabbed some counters (plastic circle thingies) and would show them their answer, then the original card. That worked for all but one student. For him, I kept on the table the card with the ten-frame filled in, then did the quick show. That clicked for today, but I need to do some hands-on work with this group. I also need to go back to a 5-frame and really focus on 5+ values before moving beyond 10.
  • Students needed to be convinced that the two cards below each showed a value of 5. Great for starting the discussion about the commutative property! We rotated the card over and over until someone said, “It is just the same thing! You didn’t put more on or take any off. Geez!”

5 different ways

  • The sequencing of the quick show was instrumental in students building strategies beyond counting one-by-one. The order that seemed to work the best today was as follows: 3, 5, 5 (again, upside down), 4 (to see it was 1 less than 5), 6, 8, 10, 9, 11. Notice we kept them seeing 1 more/less so they could use that strategy as well.
  • For the groups that could “just see” the ten-frame, I worked up to 20. Here is the orde18r we used with those groups: 3, 5, 5 (upside down), 8, 10, 12, 15, 14, 20, 18. 18 was tough (see the number of dots), as students really needed to push to 5’s versus  counting 10 then by ones.
  • One group finished about 5 minutes early, so we played war. That way, they each had a different card and had to tell me their value before determining who had the most dots. This was interesting, as they had the cards to touch and many reverted back to one-to-one counting. We will need to think about that for next time.

What I loved about this activity was that I had 15 solid minutes to informally assess each child. I heard what they understood and where they struggled. I was able to note for the teacher which cards each child got quickly, and which he/she reverted back to counting by ones (or guessed). Every child was engaged and had to listen to their friends as each shared out their strategy. And most important to me, every child left my group smiling, asking when I was coming back to do more “quick thinking”.

For large ten-frame cards: https://lrt.ednet.ns.ca/PD/BLM/pdf_files/five_and_ten_frames/ten_frames_large_with_dots.pdf

For double ten-frame cards: We made them by cutting/pasting two ten-frames together. I am sure you can buy the cards, but this was cheapest for us.

Quick Shows With Ten-Frames

Cross-Out: Sums to 12

Chris asked for a new game yesterday, and I didn’t have one ready (Gasp!) So we made one up together called “cross-out”. This was quick, easy to organize, and he had fun playing it and ‘cheating’.

Materials: white board, dry-erase marker, two dice (we used dot dice, but you can use number cubes to up the level of thinking)

Objective: We played as a team. The goal is to cross-out every sum when rolling two dice (2-12).

How to Play

  1. Have your child write the numbers 2-12 on the white board. This is great fine-motor practice! cross out 9
  2. Player 1 rolls the dice and adds up the values. Player 2 crosses out the sum on the board. I rolled a 9, so Chris had to find the 9 and cross it out (see below).cross out 9
  3. Player 2 rolls the dice and adds up the values. Player 1 crosses out the sum on the board. If a sum is already crossed out, continue rolling (and therefore practicing addition and counting on) until you get a sum that you can cross out. No losing turns here!
  4. Once your team has crossed-out every sum, you won! Do a silly dance to celebrate your success!

Fun Note:
When we only had the 3 to cross-out, Chris asked if we could change dice to be 0-5 instead of 1-6. “Why?” I asked. “So that I have a better chance of rolling a 3! The only way I can get it is with a 1 and a 2 and that’s tough!” If I had the 0-5 dice at my fingertips, I would have totally given in. This is a great statistics insight for such a tiny human!

He rolled a few more times, got sick of rolling and decided to just roll one die. BAM! First roll he got a 3. He was very proud of his ‘cheating’ scheme!3

Differentiation Ideas:

  • Use a number cube and a dot die to work on counting on (Level 2).
  • Use two number cubes to work on addition rather than one-to-one counting with dots.
  • Use cubes that have larger values and work on the teens/twenties. I buy square wooden cubes at a hobby/craft shop and use a Sharpie to make whatever dice I want to use. Easy and cheap!
  • Play against each other. Each person could write 2-12 and see who can cross-out their board first.
Cross-Out: Sums to 12

Tiny Human Perspectives: What About 0?

What is up with 0? It is nothing, nada, zilch. So why spend time thinking about nothing?

While playing a game with dice (labeled 0-5 each), pre-schoolers had no trouble thinking about zero as nothing.

Student (rolls a 0 and 5): 0 and 5 is still 5!

Me: Why is it 5?

Student (now rolling eyes): Because you added nothing to 5, so it stays 5. You didn’t do anything to it! (Duh…Mrs. M!)

Playing the same game in Kindergarten. Out of 20 students, only 2 (one being my son, since he already struggled with it at home and had made some headway with clarifying what happens when you add 0) students were okay not changing the value of the addend when added to 0. The others added at least one more to their addend, or just sat there and said they lost a turn because they got a 0. ????

Why the struggle?

Students use their instincts when learning. While playing (without formal teaching), the preschoolers made sense of the zero. When you add nothing to a number, it stays the same (AKA Additive Identity Property). However, this ‘sense-making’ was left behind once (I will use my son as the example) Chris started learning addition. He figured out that when you add numbers, the value changes. Every problem he did resulted in a larger value than the two addends. Mama, it gets bigger as you add. When he rolled a 0, he couldn’t make sense of that with his understanding of what addition IS. We had to roll LOTS of 0’s before he finally clicked that adding nothing doesn’t change the other addend.

What Can You Do?

Allow you child to play with a die that has a 0. Allow them to make sense of this new phenomena and open their eyes to new learnings about addition. This will help them later, when adding different kinds of numbers (like negatives) results in smaller sums.

Remember, Zero really is a Hero!

Tiny Human Perspectives: What About 0?

Race to the Top: Kinder Observations

Last week I posted a game called “Race to the Top”. I was able to play the game with all of the students in my son’s kindergarten class. I was one of the stations during center time, and had between 4-6 students each rotation. We kept them 15 min per station, which seemed enough time for their engagement. (One group ran at 20 min and it was too long.) Each person at my station had their game card (see links below for options) and each pair had one number cube (labeled either 0-5, 1-6, or 5-10) and one dot die (1-6 dots).

Here are a few observations and patterns of misunderstandings.

  1. Counting different representations is tough! The students were used to having to ‘add’ (i.e. count one-by-one) two dot dice, but hadn’t yet used a number cube WITH a dot die. When we started to play, at least one in each group said their sum was 2, no matter what was on the dice. This is because there were 2 dice. It only took a few rolls for all of them to get the hang of it.
  2. For this time of year, the 0-5 number cube was too easy (with the exception of 1 pair of students). I would use the 6-10, as most of our misconceptions surfaced once they passed the number 10. Here are the misconceptions after 10.

Example: 9 + 5 dots

  • Misconception 1 (counted backwards from their number):  “9…8, 7, 6, 5, 4.”
  • Misconception 2 (started counting by 10’s):  “9…10, 20, 30, 40.”
  • Misconception 3 (counted them separately and got stuck): “9 and 5…pause…”
  • Misconception 4 (wanted to put 14 squares on the game board, not see it as one-14)

After about 2 minutes of playing with me direct instructing, the students were successfully independent, taking turns and excited to see what their value was. In 15 minutes, I was able to watch, assess, and intervene every child in my group several times. They were engaged and excited to be playing. We averaged 18 sums per player in the 15 min, which is a LOT of addition!

Favorite Quotes of the Day

  • You cheated! You can’t keep rolling until you get your number! (This would have been me as a child!)
  • Wait. We can’t play anymore? Awe.
  • I only need two more 12’s to win! You need two more 7’s! It’s a tie! (I get giddy when students do more math than asked!)
  • Thanks for playing games with us, Chris’ Mom!

Game Board for 0-10 (Change as needed depending on the number choices for your dice)

Race to the Top Game Board

 

Race to the Top: Kinder Observations