# 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.

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. 🙂

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:

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:

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:

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!)

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.

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).

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:

(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!

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!)

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!

# #FDOFG: …and 123s

We worked on letters letters this week, and also got some math into the mix, too!

One way was with one of our first morning math warm-ups (which I will start to share about later).  I asked a short, simple question with infinite answers, allowing every kiddo to share their initial thinking about what math would be this year.

The variety of answers was great, with no one having to use the prompt I taught them of “I don’t know yet, but here’s what I’m thinking now…”  I love that someone’s answer was “math is fun!”  Many kiddos said “numbers” and many others gave examples of kinds of math like adding/subtracting or wrote equations.  I was impressed that they were not scared by this question, even though we were only on day 9 of 1st grade!

After we discussed this warm-up, I gave everyone an activity that would allow them to show me (and the class) a little bit about themselves as people and themselves as mathematicians.  Now…it is a very infrequent thing for me to ask everyone to do the very same thing at the very same time in the very same way.  But since it is early in the year, and we 1) don’t have our iPads yet (which is how we often differentiate opportunities), and 2) it’s still early in the year and we don’t have all of our routines established yet, this seemed like a time and place to ask the whole class to try something together.

The general idea was based on a math poster that was shared in our school’s Sharetank on Facebook by Mrs. Hill ((a 5th grade teacher):

Ms. Turken made the template we used in 1st grade, and it was most of the same questions as this 5th grade version, but you’ll see that our equations were a little different. 🙂

After kiddos were finished with their Math About Me posters, I put them in pairs for them to have their first go at a math game.  We had not had a chance to prep for this, but since it didn’t include a die or an iPad, I was pretty sure they could handle it without much instruction.  Once I explained how to play Turn Over Ten, they got busy and did a pretty great job of quietly playing while the rest of us finished.

Now for whatlearned…

*The idea of using numbers to tell about yourself is a GREAT idea, but I should have done it in a different way.  This was a bit formulaic for 1st graders, had a lot of directions, and they needed a lot more help than I had first anticipated.

*Most kiddos had the same answers for the number, and made the equations in a similar way, too, although they did vary a little in the order their labels and cards went on the paper.

*This was DEFINITELY more of a lesson in following directions than a community building or math task.  We didn’t even have a chance to share our answers when we were finished.

*I did not clearly explain why we were doing this, which made it much less meaningful to my students, and therefore probably was not the best use of our time.

*My class works really well when they are busy with an individual, partner or small group task, and can do a lot of things independently already, even at this point of the year.

*Most kiddos are willing and able to talk to each other to clarify directions, ask for help and encourage each other when they don’t know what to do.

*They were able to transition very easily from a project to a game.  They followed the directions, worked quietly and were focused on doing the right thing with their partner!

*We have a pretty strong foundation on which to build the rest of our mathematical thinking this year, and kiddos are excited to get started on “real” stuff!

And just like them, I am also excited to get into the “real stuff,” too!  Let’s go Rm. 202 mathematicians!

# Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: Week of May 9-13, 2016

This week was relatively normal, but somehow I only have 3 warm-ups to share.Enjoy! Please comment when you’re finished reading and let us know what you think!

Monday

Yep, we’re still working on subtraction around here.  It’s kind of an all-the-time thing because as soon as you abandon it for longer than a few days everyone forgets how to do it!  This time I gave them the answer and the strategy and had them analyze it for me.  We had a great conversation about why this problem was most efficiently solved by making an easier problem (rather than say, the traditional algorithm or splitting and using a number line to model it) because the second number was close to a hundred.  This made it SUPER easy to subtract in just two easy steps.

Friday

Um, yeah…not really sure what happened that our warm-ups are just from Monday and Friday.  We must have been really busy this week.  Hope I remember what we did so I can tell you about it here. LOL

Friday we actually had a bonus math warm-up because our Writing Warm-Up led us to figuring out some math and making a graph.  And yes, I ran out of paper.  We improvised. 🙂

We are also still working on multiplication, including writing an equation and drawing a model.  This one was cool, because as often happens, kiddos thought of a model that I hadn’t: showing the repeated addition on a number line.  This was a great conversation about which number meant what in the problem (the number of groups vs. the number in the group), and we also talked about how you could flip the problem around and have the same answer.

# Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: Week of May 2-6, 2016

I am a little bit late–sorry!  I forgot a few important pictures that I needed in order to properly share.  Hopefully you’ll still read (and learn with us!).  🙂

Monday

There’s not a lot to explain behind this one except that I wanted to continue to focus on the idea of a fraction being EQUAL pieces, not just the number of pieces in the denominator.  As you can see in many of the post-its, most kiddos understand this when they partition the cookie cake for 4 people.

Tuesday

As I mentioned with a problem or two last week, kiddos are to have a basic foundation of groups and arrays to help them with further multiplication concepts in 3rd grade.  We played a game called Circles and Stars last week, which is basically where they roll a dice twice, once drawing circles and then filling each with the 2nd number’s worth of stars.  Then they figure out an equation to go with the model as well as how many stars there are altogether.  I wanted to build on this idea and see what they’d do with a new problem.  As is seen on their answers, they almost all drew circles with stars (or dots).  I wanted to help them see the same idea as an array, as well, so I connected the equation to brownies (so they pan/array would make more sense).

Wednesday