Monday, September 2, 2013

Show Me the Numbers!

I was sitting at lunch yesterday, talking to my co-workers about this year. My students just seem to have a strong foundation, and a great number sense.  Is it this group of kids?  Is it my teaching?  Is it the new activities that we have incorporated into our curriculum?  Perhaps it's all three.

We have been working hard for the kids to really understand what numbers mean.  We have been working with ten frames from the beginning.  Last year, I don't think that I realized what an amazing tool ten frames really are.  We use spray painted lima beans (I was too cheap to buy double sided counters) with our ten frames (See this post for free ten frame/number lines that I use in my classroom).

When we were learning about the numbers, we used my Show Me the Numbers pack in order to decompose numbers.  We counted out the correct number of beans and covered the circles.  We flipped one bean and wrote the number sentence the beans showed.  We then flipped another bean and wrote that number sentence.  I actually had a student raise his hand and tell me all about the commutative property without any prompting (Of course, he didn't use the term, but he explained the pattern he saw, and I took that moment to talk about the commutative property).  Amazing... I know!

I was actually surprised to see how smoothly the activity went.  It's not that I don't believe in the capabilities of this group, but it was still so early in the year.  I think the practice of flipping one bean over and over again was the right way to go, and it's what made the exercise such an amazing learning experience.

We completed the activity a few weeks ago.  When we subitize dots at calendar time, the kids give me number sentences that just roll off their tongues.  Was it this activity that helps them do that?  I think it really helped them see how two numbers can join together to make one larger number.

If you are interested in the Show Me the Numbers pack, please click here.

Also, check out the breaking numbers into tens and ones post for a great freebie on how to teach place value with the teen numbers.  Again, this was another lifesaver in teaching the value of numbers.

Have a great day!

P.S.  Expect a BIG announcement on my blog this Wednesday, September 4th.  I am SUPER excited!

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