Sharing our Shape Art

During 2nd quarter of first grade one of our units (which I think is one of the most fun to teach and learn about!) is geometry.  A few years ago, it was also a time when we were visited by a fabulous artist who taught us about watercolors and a new geometry/art project was born.  The topic has been different every year (for example last year kiddos had to make their house), but the focus every time has been on using what they know about 2D shapes to create a picture, then paint it.

We used shapes we had already learned about and used in math (pattern blocks that were squares, trapezoids, rhombuses, hexagons and triangles) and traced them to create a design.  It was pretty tricky for some of us, as we’re still working on fine-motor skills and the tracing part can be hard!  No worries, though, because in Rm. 111 we have a boatload of grit and we just kept trying!

After we had a pencil drawing that covered the whole page (which is an expectation we have whenever we do a painting or drawing project on big paper), we were ready to paint it.  Kiddos were asked to paint it to match the colors of the actual blocks.

As with most watercolor projects we do, the last step is to trace our pencil marks with Sharpie.  This makes the shapes crisp and clear.

Our last step is to analyze the creation, showing what we know about the shapes we’ve been working on.  Kiddos completed a sheet called Shape Talk, that went along with their mathematical design.

 

 

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Often, depending on the time year this unit happens, mathematicians may be asked to write equations to show how many of two shapes they have altogether, for example: triangles + hexagons =

Once these were finished, they hung on our hallway bulletin board for a while and they were BEAUTIFUL to look at every day!  Check out our hard work!

 

Acts 1 & 2, Day 1: #classroombookaday

It happened again.  Remember when I struggled on this blog somewhere last year with the idea that I don’t tell all the parts of a story and then forget about it or time passes and I don’t tell any of it?  Well, boo–this is another time of the year when so much is happening and I haven’t been telling some of our stories because there are so many pieces.  This ends now! 🙂  Very slowly….with day 1 of a new project today and then hopefully all the parts of a few other stories soon.  Hopefully. LOL

So anyway…at a professional development meeting I was in yesterday, I learned about 3-Act Math Tasks and knew I wanted to give them a try.   I am all about productive struggle, giving kids meaningful, motivating math tasks, and using contexts that are relevant to our mathematical community.  These seemed right up our alley!

As you read in the explanation, these tasks start with a video or picture that invites wonder and questioning.  There are very few words and kiddos can go in a variety of directions as they engage with the visual.

Our 1st Act started with this picture, which I found on Twitter and comes via  and  (thanks, by the way!).  It connects BEAUTIFULLY with what’s going on in our room this year. 🙂

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As we started our work, I gave kids a chance to study the picture and then talk with their partner about what they noticed and what they wonder.  We shared out and gathered these questions:

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Once we had an idea about where we might go, partners were invited to choose a question they thought they could answer and have a go.  They could choose any on they wanted to (to start with) but they needed to be sure to show their thinking and convince their classmates that their answers are correct.  We reread our chart to remind us of what that meant:

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Then we got busy with our first drafts of work.  As they got their paper and got started, I gave each partnership a copy of the picture in case they wanted to use it in their work.

We will continue our work tomorrow, but Day 1 of Act 2 (where kiddos work to find a solution) went fairly well and EVERYONE was engaged.

I caught a little bit of Josh, Jack and Chase’s thinking here:

And while we’ll come back to our posters and revise our work tomorrow, we’re off to a pretty good start:

Can’t wait to share our next steps later this week!

One more thing…what would YOU wonder about the picture?  Here it is again:

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Please share your questions in our comments! We’d love to try out your wonderings!!

Math Warm Ups: Week of Oct. 19-21, 2016

I used to blog our math warm-ups every week.  Then this year I changed our warm-up plan again and sometimes they are questions other than math problems and so I never really got into that routine.  This week, however, they were indeed all math warm-ups so I thought I’d share what we’ve been doing!

(This was a short week of school, with only 3 days and 2 warm-ups.  Small but mighty math thinking!)

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My kindergartener, Allie, created this one for Rm. 2o2 kiddos and was very excited to share it with them.  I was impressed with how they are getting better at telling stories and creating word problems to solve.

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Some highlights of the answers to this one:

We also tried one during math on Friday as an extension after we’d talked about the warm-up together.  We’re learning how to use Padlet, so it’s been the place we’ve been sharing our thinking lately (and since we’re still working on the logistics, some friends didn’t quite get their answer on the board).

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Great thinking lately, Rm. 202 friends!  More to come soon!

Digital Recording: Counting Strategies

I shared the story of how we have been counting EVERYTHING in our room this week, but there’s a quick story that actually come just before that, as we started our initial journey into practicing counting and recording our strategies.

Kiddos were given a partner and a “mystery bag,” which was full of between 10-35 of something (bags were differentiated for different counters), and asked to figure out how many things were in it.  They were to use an efficient strategy and somehow capture an image to demonstrate how they counted their item(s).  Partners worked together to determine the most efficient way to count their items, took pictures together, talked about their work and added explanations to their pictures via the Notability app on their iPads.

Through the information I received from seeing their images, as well as through observations and conversations conducted during their work time, I was able to more effectively create pairings for later in the investigation.  Partnerships were formed to best challenge and support mathematicians in their continued learning.

Mathematical strategies and digital tools for the win!

 

Gotta Count ‘Em All!

We’ve been working on a beginning counting and place value unit in math lately, and the premise behind the investigation is that we need to organize and do inventory on things in our classroom (this came after we read a story about a messy family called the Masloppys and how their son Nicholas does just that in their house so they can find things!).  We’ve been counting everything in our room. And I do mean everything.  If it’s not attached to the floor (or too heavy to pick up), someone has put their mathematician fingers on it!

Kiddos worked in pairs to catalog a collection of classroom items (and then many more as they finished), focusing on using efficient and accurate ways to count the group.  Students were charged to find a way to easily share their thinking with others; counting by groups or keeping track made it easier to tell someone else what they had done.   Callahan and Jesse were especially proud to share the learning they had brought with them from kindergarten (“Mr. Peacock taught us to make groups of 10!”), and they made bunches of 10 crayons into a bundle of 100!

We have had many conversations sharing kid strategies, tips and suggestions for how to count large groups of things, and then we started to look at the numbers of totals.  We wanted to know how many bundles of 10 we would have in each amount (if we counted like Callahan and Jesse!).  Our chart began together with some class numbers, and then kiddos got in on the fun (work!) as they continued to count EVERYTHING in our room:

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(As a side note, I am always excited with how many possibilities there are for ELA in math–here for example as I could conference with kiddos as they wrote on the chart and helped them work through sounds in words!)

It was funny as kiddos kept running up to me asking “Can I count this?”  The more they counted, too, the smarter they got at using efficient groups–notice all the rubber bands, cups and baggies in our pictures?

We counted so many things we needed to record that Rachel asked for a new sheet.  Love it!

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The next phase is moving into further connections with 10s, as we think about how many we’d have to had to have whole groups of 10 for each item.  We’re playing math games to make combinations of 10 in a variety of ways , and will continue this thinking as we move into addition and subtraction.  Place value discussions throughout the year will go back to these beginning inventory experiences. 🙂

 

#FDOFG: Guided Discoveries–Math Manipulatives

I realize this post is a little bit after the true “first days of first grade,” but I’d say it still applies, and the actual learning actually took place then anyway, so that counts, right?

One of the things we do a lot of in the beginning of our time together in first grade is explore.  These guided discoveries take on many forms, and have been done with colored pencils, pattern blocks and play-doh before (among other things that are done less formally).  In the beginning days of math workshop, guided discoveries of math tools are an important learning activity.

Rotating through 6 stations–dominoes, power polygons, multilink cubes, Geoblocks, square inch tiles and Cuisenaire Rods–students were posed two simple questions to consider while they worked: “What could a mathematician use this tool to learn more about?  What are the possibilities?”  Then, in small groups, they explored the tools, for only about 7 or 8 minutes each:

Dominoes

Most kids built things to knock over. LOL

Power Polygons

Many kids put these together in piles and looked through them–they’re made of pretty colors. 🙂 (And yes, we’ll talk about more mathematical ways to use them later–right now it’s just work to figure them out and try things!)

 

Multi-Link Cubes

These tool may be the interesting just because it’s one of the most versatile.  Lots of different kinds of exploration happened in this station.

 Geoblocks

Inch Tiles

Also a versatile tool, kiddos stacked and counted, sorted and created with these little squares!

Cuisenaire Rods

While these blocks have many place value uses, many kids use them as building blocks, and many sorted them by size or color.

The last step was to chart some thoughts on our answers to those questions I posed at the beginning.

It was just the beginning, but definitely got us off on a good foot to some smart mathematical thinking this year!

Morning (Mostly Math) Warm-Ups: First Grade 2016

If you have been around 20somethingkids for more than this year, you’ve probably seen my math warm-up posts, and then the start of our writing warm-ups that went really well in 2nd grade last year.

This year I started morning warm-ups pretty soon after school began, to get kiddos into the habit of reading the easel, thinking about their answer, and adding their post-it.  The ones in the beginning, though, were not yet math (or writing), but were other things instead that were related to what was going on in the classroom.

Our first warm ups of 2016 looked like this:

 

Then, once we had the hang of it, we started into more traditional math warm-ups, which are related to what we will be talking about that day (or what we did the day before):

Kiddos are on a roll with this Rm. 202 routine!