Thursday, June 19, 2014

Guided Math: Whole Group Style

It's Thursday... that means time for the next chapter of our Guided Math Book Study.

I was surprised to see a whole chapter on whole group instruction.... especially given the title of this book is "Guided Math."

The author explains the limitations of whole group instruction... you know, the fact that it is teacher directed with little student interaction and input... and the small detail that all your kids have unique needs and require a more tailored lesson plan than whole group can provide.

You know ALL of this... no big deal, right?

Seems like a big deal to me....

What I do like is that author Laney Sammons recognizes that there are times that whole group instruction can be useful and it doesn't have to be some taboo word that no one shall speak!

Quick list of some times that whole group instruction is A-okay:
*mini lessons
*explaining group work
*playing math games
*using technology {if you have a computer lab or various clickers that input student answers to an interactive white board}
*Practice and review
*Establishing structures and routines that will help when things get mixed up for small group and math workshop
*Literature

As I said last week... I can not possibly dare to share everything in this fabulous book.

I can't ...and well, you need to get your hands on the book if you want more.

So I am honing in on one area and that is literature.

I LOVE LOVE that the author suggests incorporating math based literature. And there is so much literature out there with some math action included.

I think we {and do you like how I am grouping us all in the same boat?} Maybe I should start again... I think what I have done in the past is I have happened upon a story here or there that is math related that I do incorporate into my instruction...that is good right?

What I haven't done is to actively go out and search for math literature to ensure I have something for each topic covered. I do this in language arts all the time...right? Searching for a book to help you introduce setting.... or metaphors or whatever it may be..... and the same is true in science and social studies.....

but I don't go out LOOK for stories to supplement and enrich my math program.

I will start to do that.

I have a ton of books I use for counting. Ten Black Dots and the M&M Counting Book may be my favorites... but that is an easy category.

But there are many areas of my math curriculum that I don't have books for. Yikes!!

Today I want to share the stories I use to introduce the concept of subtraction:
These are two "oldies but goodies"
*Alexander Who Used to Rich Last Sunday  {which actually is a book the author mentions!}
*Bennies Pennies

And two fairly new ones are:
*Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons
*If You Were a Minus Sign

Let's focus on the new ones....

I am sure you have heard of Pete the Cat. He has taken over primary classrooms everywhere! This particular story is perfect because we count down as Pete loses his buttons. And the fact that the kids already are in love with Pete AND there is a song..... well, this helps a lot!


And If You Were a Minus Sign is part of a series of math books and each page starts with "If you were a minus sign..." and has a cute little poem with a subtraction problem too!


To help me reach my goal of using math based literature in EVERY area of math I am going to pull out all books I have so far and sort them by skill. I want to store them all together as well. I am hoping that this way I will see where the holes are and can continue to build my math based literature library.

There is more to be said about math whole group instruction... so pop by some of the other lovely Guided Math posts to see what area of focus they have to share with you.... links below.

And don't forget to enter the giveaway!

SCROLL DOWN.... to my last post about the Educents bundle...why? You could have a FREE ITEM OF YOUR CHOICE from my TpT store... and an amazing Educents Kinder bundle.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Educents Kinder ALL YEAR Bundle!

I am 2 days away from freedom...from summer.... so I am hesitant to use the words "next year." Yikes! Can we even go there?

Well, I am thinking...YES we can!!

Now I would also think that right now it is hard to think about the next school year...this year or really anything school related, right? 

What topics are better? 
The beach..... books...... reality TV......pretty much anything that isn't about school.


BUT...this little bundle o' fun will be gone once you want to think about school. So for just ten minutes let's do this.... let's get you a great bargain that will help you tackle this coming school year.

What is awesome is that this little thing has a little something something for every single month of the school year.

And I am excited to announce that I am part of this. Yep, this is my first time teaming up with Educents and I am pumped up about it! 


So when you are starting to think about school and all that comes with it.... wouldn't it be great to have a unit {or even 2} for each month of the year. And all of this for $24.99....it's an amazing deal.


What is my contribution in this super mega-packed bundle?



It would be a little Valentine's fun and then some Butterfly action!


My second contribution:


While we are chatting about February.... Can I tell you that another awesome product featured in this pack is the Presidents' Day Prep Less from  Lauren over at a Teachable Teacher.



But wait.... there is more... {sidenote: if you stop by here often then you know that I love the TV infomercial approach!}

Seriously though... IF you buy the Full Year Kinder Curriculum Bundle using THIS LINK then you can get your choice of ANY item in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for FREE!  And don't forget to hit "Follow Me" while you are at TpT!

Yep...just forward your Educents order confirmation to me at crayonsandwhimsy@gmail.com, include the name of the resource you would like for free from my shop and I will email it back to you as soon as I can.

Hurry.... this offer ends on Thursday, June 19th!

You can also take peek at some of the other products included in the bundle at any of the links below!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Warm it Up {More Guided Math}

Welcome to the third installment of this Guided Math Book Study.

First time here? Well, click {HERE} to see last week's post about creating a numeracy rich classroom and click {HERE} for more information on this book we are reading.

This chapter was all about using math warm ups... and math stretches in class.

Just like with exercising, a stretch is designed to get those brains working and moving and ready to go. They also encourage problem solving and working together.

There were so many great ideas of stretches that can be used I can't share them all... and really I don't want my blog post to read like a book....

So instead I am brining you one math stretch that I use to kick off my new school year.

For the first 26 days of school we create a daily graph. Does your name have a _____ ? Insert each of the 26 letters of the alphabet on each line.
This is the perfect start up to kinder... and you know what, it could work in first grade too. Yes, first graders may already recognize their own name, but this would help them to learn each other's names.


Plus... there's more {it is like I am selling you an As Seen on TV special!}

1. It gets them in the routine of doing a math warm up
2. It is a great introduction to graphs and counting
2. It helps them recognize their name
3. It helps them recognize the names of others
{I realize only half of my reasons are math related... but isn't it great to get two for the price of one!}

Students should come into the classroom and put their belongings away and then grab their name and do the math stretch.

That is another reason this is so great for September - it is so predictable. They know what will be asked of them the next day. You can grab the graph you see in the pictures by clicking on the words below:

Quick tip if you set your graph up like mine: I laminate the "a" and "an" back to back:
That way when I need to ask "Do you have an o in your name?" I just flip it around and don't have to change another piece... just the letter.


Some teachers do a Yes/No question every single day ALL year long. I don't. It can be an effective way to unofficially take attendance.

After this 26 day affair we change it up a bit with some of the other stretches..... read this Guided Math book or visit others in our linky for more math stretch ideas.

Later in the year I do other yes/no questions like this one:
I make cards with their picture and they sign their name. They love these cards and I make them using the pictures that we get for free from picture day. If you don't get those stickers it is easy to make them on regular labels just take extreme close ups of each little one.

So that is my math stretch for today... one of the rules of math stretches is that they are supposed to be short and effective... I am hoping that is the vibe of this post.

But wait... you should enter this giveaway before you leave! And if you scroll down to my previous post from Tuesday you can enter to win a hardback copy of Mo Willems' book, "That is Not a Good Idea!"

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book Linky plus a Giveaway!

I was so excited to hear about Deanna Jump's new "We Love Books!" Linky party! Although I didn't link up last week I was hopping around to those that did and found a few new books I can't wait to get my hands on!

Today I am sharing a book... and if you wait.... you will see a giveaway at the end of this post.

Who doesn't love Mo Willems? Did you know he used to be an animator for Sesame Street? I didn't realize that until I just read it in his little bio... but not too surprising to know he has been in the game of entertaining children {and adults} for a long time.

Okay, so this book "That is NOT a Good Idea!" is hilarious.
I love how it is set up as a silent movie... and see those cute little goslings? They are the audience watching the interaction between the sneaky, but dapper, fox and the goose.

It seems to be a lesser known title in Mo's repertoire {or is that just me?}... but you know who he is... with his famous pigeon stories!  My favorite of his may be Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs.

This isn't a long story....in fact it is pretty short,  but is very entertaining. I won't give away the ending because, well, That is NOT a Good Idea!

I will say I heard someone say this book seems a little "violent" Um, okay I guess I can see that, but have you read The Gingerbread Man, Hansel and Gretel or a million other children's classics that have a slightly disturbing plot when you think about it?

Mo Willems does a great job of playing off  the typical old fashioned children's story {some of which I just listed above} ..... And what a great chat you can have about prior knowledge.

And it may be a lot of fun to take predictions of what the ending will be just before flipping to that last page!

This is what one of my little ones wrote after reading it... I don't think I would be giving away much, but I covered up some of her words that give away the ending.... although I guess the picture is somewhat telling!

In case you don't read kindergarten it says, "My whole entire class thought that the fox was going to eat the goose." And true that.... they did.

So..... I have a copy of this book I would LOVE to giveaway to one of you!! It is a hard back version that I will send off to someone in one week from today....

Just enter below...

And then be sure you hop on over to Mrs. Jump's Class to get some more literary inspiration!
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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Passing on Their Wisdom

I need all the help I can get to be ready for a new school year.

Seriously, I bribe friends to cut out lamination and don't even ask my poor mom or husband about summer hours they've had to endure in my classroom.

I also like to enlist the help of the class before... in other words, my little cuties who are just a few days away from becoming first graders are helping me to prepare for new class in September.

I pump this whole little ditty up big time... "Since you guys are experts at all the rules by now...." because of course no teacher has anyone not following rules in June...right?

{Don't tell them that I have a hidden agenda....in addition to making a book I truly will use, I am tricking these guys into a much needed review! We only have a few weeks left... but my goodness, this is a much needed chat!}

The idea is simple. We make a chart of some of the rules:
kindergarten activity end of year Crayons and Whimsy
{Can you tell it's June? Let's be real... in another month this chart would have had a lot more bells and whistles and I am looking at that smudge at the top and my "i" in kindergarten isn't even dotted...yikes! }
Also I love "You have to do what you need to do!" She thought long and hard about this and it's awesome!


And then we write about it.... and because I want to use this as a reference guide for new little friends I do want the spelling correct. Therefore, we do a "sloppy copy" and final draft rather just letting them write on their own.

And I was tempted to share ALL of these... but I know that's too much, but they are all awesome.

You know what is funny... their effort level was over the top because they wanted to make it so nice for those "little kids" it is designed for.
Aside from the fact that I am balding in the above picture.... I LOVE it all. Please appreciate all the detail on those kids on the carpet. 
kindergarten rules class book end of year
Glad to see manners made an appearance this year.
And our "caddies" house all our supplies - you can see my post about them {HERE} but my littles know that keepin' them clean is important:

And it just makes me happy to see rules like this... even if they are doing handstands next to a beehive!


If you are wondering, I let them choose their rule so sometimes we get several of the same. Then any of my early finishers may do a second one to help me fill in the gaps {or ones from the year prior...shh! no one knows}

I just find the results are so much better if you are letting them choose their words of wisdom to pass on rather than assigning them a rule to write about.

And if you are hanging on with just a bit more time with your class... you may want to give this a whirl too! Click on it to download.
{fonts by Cara Carroll / frame by Scrappin' Doodles}

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Guided Math: Let's Create a Numeracy Rich Classroom


As I started reading this chapter I walked in my classroom and did a little test....

What kind of test you ask?

Well, I looked around and I really asked myself... is it evident that math instruction is going on in here??

Spoiler Alert: the answer is "sorta"

Not an answer I am proud of.

Laney Sammons, author of Guided Math, points out how classrooms bend over backwards for language arts... we have word walls, labels, poems and all kinds of things to create a print rich environment.

What do we have for math? And why is there such a discrepancy between the two subject areas?

In my kinder classroom I do have a calendar area which we use every single day. We practice days of the week, vocabulary such as yesterday and tomorrow, counting the days in school, place value and more. I am thinking about changing and adding a few things for the 2014-2015 school year which I hope to blog about later in the summer.

We also do a little something I like to call Incredible Equation...which randomly I blogged about recently.
click on the picture to read more about Incredible Equations... and get a freebie!

Ok so I was thinking... oh good. I am doing well on this "Numeracy Rich Test" and then, well,

I found what my area areas of focus can be!

Besides a calendar area- here are some other things that a numeracy rich classroom should have:

1. Materials well organized for both the teacher and the students.

My supplies are organized, but I am hoping to update my system so that my students have access to all the manipulatives ALL of the time. I want them to be able to choose which tools they need as part of the problem solving process.

This means the counting bears, rulers, unifix cubes, etc etc etc... need to not only be labeled and organized... but OUT and somewhere their little hands can reach.

2. A math vocabulary or focus wall
This past year on my {regular} word wall I started to add some math terms to it....so I am going to call that "Step 1 of reaching my goal."

But rather than just having a few math words on my word wall... I am going to have a math focus wall. More on that as it develops.

3. Anchor charts, graphic organizers and other classroom environment things that help little ones think about math
We make them and we use them for language arts AND math.... but again, when I conducted this little "Test" I found it was heavy language arts.

I make these GIANT numbers the very first few days of school.

As in the 1 on first day, etc. We just make them to 9. I hang them and then....
I take them down at the end of the month {I draw names for some lucky friends to take one home.}

I am thinking I can leave them up next school year- and maybe add to them as the year goes on.

Because these are created on the first nine days of school {Have you taught kindergarten? If you have you know what those beginning days are like!}

Anyway.... back to my point... because it is so early on... I have the numbers cut and the pieces are printed off and all I do is glue them on and discuss it with the kids {and draw in the circles on the ten frame.}

Later in the year, I make the process of using charts more interactive and would hand write whatever ideas they had to put on the chart for whatever it may be... but again... FIRST NINE DAYS! so I am modeling for them what the process looks like.

My goal is do make sure I create more math based charts and display them proudly!

4. Math Journals are another component of a "numeracy rich classroom environment."

Math journals look different in different grades and different  teaching styles and this could be a post on its own.

During the same time we are making those huge numbers at the start of a school year, we are also introducing math journals.
We start simple.... in fact, I even have the first week's worth of math journal prompts glued in for them.
We are doing my color unit in language arts and science at this time, hence why we have color words in the mix above.

After that they do it on their own, but in these early stages we are learning not only about counting and using small numbers, but we are learning classroom systems and routines. Laney Sammons encourages a classroom to have systems in place to allow students to know what to do and where things go.

Chapter 2 also talks about the importance of teachers leading how to think during problem solving. This is another goal of mine...to do more of this!

So even though the above math journal examples above are basic, they still require a thought process. So perhaps I could model, "It says draw 3 suns so I am going to draw one, two, three. I think I am done, but I should go back and check, let me count the suns again, one, two, three. Now that I am sure there are three I will color them in. I need to remember to get my yellow crayon."

I'm sure I said something of that nature before... but I want to make sure I am always modeling my thought process AND having them share their thought process too.... again, before I get into metacognition I'll stop... that also can be its own post.

I invite you to walk in your classroom and ask yourself... is my classroom a numeracy rich environment? What goals may you have for this coming school year?

And I invite you at your chance to win a gift card to Really Good Stuff.... the perfect place to help you get the numeracy vibe going!

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