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A new take on whole group math
A new take on whole group math
23 Mar, 2016. 14 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Math, Math. Posted By: Kristen Smith

A new take on whole group math

A few weeks ago, I was able to attend the kindergarten SDE conference in Austin, TX. I had the privilege to listen to Julie Brinkley present a few sessions and absolutely loved some of the things that she shared. My biggest take away has revolutionized my whole group math time. She talked about how she uses a math folder and math songs during her whole group time that includes a 100 chart and a few other pages that the students use every single day with a variety of songs. When I got home, I was so inspired, I downloaded the songs that she recommended and made math folders for all of my students! The next day back at school, taught my students our new math procedure. We have now been using this structure for about a month and by golly they LOVE it!

Here is a glimpse at what my whole group math time now looks like.

In my classroom, math happens right after lunch. My students come in from lunch and sit at their carpet spots. While they are getting situated, I play the song, “I like to count it, count it” by Shari Sloane. While this song is playing, my students get out their red math folders and take out their 100 chart.

A new take on whole group kindergarten math A new take on whole group kindergarten math

Once everyone is ready, I play the song, “Zero the Hero” by Shari Sloane. During this song, my students touch every single number they sing. This practices SO many skills!

A new take on whole group kindergarten math

After this song, they flip this sheet over and on the other side I have a page with the numbers 1-20 scrambled around the page. For this, I play the song, “Alien Counting” by Ron Brown. They have to think fast as they try to find all the numbers!

A new take on whole group kindergarten math

After this song, we practice a skill together. Lately, we have been working on making ten in my classroom. One way that we practice this, is using the song, “Ways to Get to Ten” by Hap Palmer. I give each student a baggie filled with ten counting bears and they set their bears up in a row of ten.

A new take on whole group kindergarten math

If they are missing a bear or have an extra one by accident, they raise their hand and we quickly fix the problem. Then, I start the song.

I charted the song and refer to it as it is playing.

“Let’s find some ways we can get to ten
Again and again

1 + 9 works just fine
2 + 8 there’s no debate
3 + 7 has always been
One more way we can get to 10

4 + 6 fits the mix
5 + 5 and we’ll arrive
6 + 4 we all adore
‘Cause it’s one more way we can get to 10

7 + 3 works perfectly
8 + 2 will surely do
9 + 1 gets it done
And it’s one more way we can get to 10”

While the song is on, my students move their bears to make the combinations they are singing.

A new take on whole group kindergarten math

After this song, we generally take a break and play a game.

Last week, we played bears in a cave a few times to practice our “make ten” facts.

bears in a cave- a math game to practice make 10 facts

To play this game, I partnered my students up and gave each group one cup to use with one of their baggies of ten bears. One student then closed their eyes and the other student hid a certain number of bears underneath the “cave.” When they finished hiding their bears, they tell their friend that they are ready, and their partner tries to figure out how many bears are missing to make the combination of ten! students play "bears in a cave" to practice their make ten facts

We spread out to play this game all over the classroom to give us some space!

A Day In First Grade-students play "bears in a cave" to practice their make ten facts

After a few rounds, I called my students back to the carpet and we finish our whole group math time. Some days I teach a lesson here and other days we go right into our BUILD time. To dismiss my students, I use Julie’s idea which I love! I play Hap Palmer’s song “Let’s count to 30” and my students take out their number writing page, a dry erase marker, and practice writing their numbers 1-30. (The song signals them to get ready for this activity. ) Then, they quickly get to work writing their numbers.

kindergarten students write their numbers 1-30 in order to make their BUILD choice for the day

Once they have finished writing their numbers, they bring it to me to check them and they make their BUILD choice for the day. To keep track of this, I simply tape a piece of paper that says BUILD on the front of their folder.

Kindergarten math folders (Helps students keep track of their BUILD choices!)

They choose one choice each day. In my classroom, BUILD stands for:

B- buddy math games

I set the buddy math games on the top of our math shelves. Students can pick any game they want from this shelf during their rotation at buddy games. I change these out about every 3 weeks.

Buddy game shelf for BUILD in a kindergarten classroom

kindergarten buddy math games (BUILD)

U-using manipulatives

Students are allowed to use ANY of our math manipulatives during their rotation at “using manipulatives”.

example of a "using manipulative" choice for BUILD in a kindergarten classroom example of a "using manipulative" choice for BUILD in a kindergarten classroom

This includes our math provocation table.

reggio-inspired math provocation table

example of a "using manipulative" choice for BUILD in a kindergarten classroom

I- interactive math notebook

kindergarten interactive math notebook page

On the shelf with their math journals, I also keep their interactive math notebook page for the week. My students simply take the page they need to complete for the week, their notebook, and complete it independently.

L- learning through technology (iPads)

D- do math (a lesson with me) Since our BUILD time lasts an hour, I typically meet with half of my class each day. Therefore, I meet with each student 2-3 times each week.

My students LOVE this structure and it is a great way to practice many skills quickly every, single day. I am so glad I was able to attend Julie’s sessions, and if you ever have a chance to listen to her present, make sure you do! You won’t regret it!!

 

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14 Comments
  1. Sara -

    This post is AWESOME!!! I have a question. If they choose one choice each day and you do BUILD for one hour. Are they at their BUILD station for that whole hour?? THANK YOU so much! I found your blog a couple months ago and it is now my very favorite one!! I am a teacher blog junkie and I have no idea how I just “found” you!

    • Sara- Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoy my blog– that means so much to me! :) “BUILD” lasts about an hour but the first part (the whole group time) takes up about 15-35 minutes depending on the game/lesson we play. It works out that my kids are at their BUILD choice for about 35- 45 minutes. This has not been a problem because they have many, many choices for buddy games, using manipulatives (which is their favorite!), interactive notebook (if they finish early, they write their numbers 1-100 on a blank page in their notebook or write equations using dominoes or dice on a blank page), learning through technology, and with me (running two groups). I hope that makes sense!

  2. This was a great read and I commend you for mixing things up in the middle of the year to accommodate your own new learning! What are the major differences between your new format and you Guided Math for the Year (This is what I’m currently using in my own classroom.) I love the idea of incorporating the math folder and songs/chants as I can see how this would really cement these important skills. How would you recommend someone using your GM resources adapt them to your new routine? Are students now just doing 1 rotation per day? Do they need to hit each BUILD activity once per week? Thanks for elaborating more! I love this idea!

    • Amanda- I still am using my guided math pack every day! That is what I teach during the small groups that I pull during “Do Math.” What has changed is the rotation wheel vs. the “BUILD” model. My students now go to one BUILD choice each day. (I pull two groups during the “Do Math” time so they miss a bit of that choice when we meet.) That is the biggest difference. My students like this model better because they get a longer amount of time to play the math games (that they choose) and can create amazing things at using manipulatives and not have to hurry to clean it up. I hope that helps! :)

  3. Love this idea! Could you email or post the link of where to found more info about this routine? We do something similar with a binder that has letter sounds, months of the year, colors, and shapes. I would love to know more about it! Thanks!

    • Rachel, unfortunately there isn’t a link that I can send you to. I learned this at a conference and it’s not online. I hope this blog post helped. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them.

  4. Sherri-Lynn -

    LOVE this post!! I so wanna do this with my little ones! Can you describe how your BUILD sessions work? how long do they stay at their choice for? Also do you have the resources you made available for sale anywhere? I’d love to be able to purchase them and get my folders all together.
    Thanks :)

    • Sherri- I am so glad that you like this post.:) My students stay at their BUILD choice for the day for the entire BUILD time. (That tends to be 35-45 minutes after the whole group time is finished.) They make their choice, color it in on their folder, and then go to the correct shelf or shelves in my classroom. They can use anything on those shelves that day. As for purchasing the folder materials, I will post the 100 chart and the scrambled number pages as a freebie on my Facebook page later on today! I’m glad you like them!

  5. Do you have links to the exact worksheets that are put in their math folders?

    • Sarah- I will offer the 100 chart and scrambled number page as a freebie on my Facebook page later on today!

  6. This sounds awesome! My only question is, do you have a math curriculum and textbook you have to use? My district has one that’s required and we have to make sure to cover the required pages daily. I’d love to do something like this daily but, other than the centers I do, I don’t see how this would fit in.

    • Lauren, We don’t have a textbook. You could change interactive notebook to textbook pages if they are independent work if you wanted to keep this structure. Then you could make your curriculum mandated lesson/game your mini lesson for the day.

  7. Hi Kristen! I was wondering if you posted the Math freebies. I would love them, but I am having trouble finding them. Thanks so much!

  8. Hi Kristen! This was an amazing post! I’m having trouble finding “Let’s Count to 30” by Hap Palmer. Where did you find this song? Thank you so much!

14 Comments

  • Sara -

    This post is AWESOME!!! I have a question. If they choose one choice each day and you do BUILD for one hour. Are they at their BUILD station for that whole hour?? THANK YOU so much! I found your blog a couple months ago and it is now my very favorite one!! I am a teacher blog junkie and I have no idea how I just “found” you!

    • Sara- Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoy my blog– that means so much to me! :) “BUILD” lasts about an hour but the first part (the whole group time) takes up about 15-35 minutes depending on the game/lesson we play. It works out that my kids are at their BUILD choice for about 35- 45 minutes. This has not been a problem because they have many, many choices for buddy games, using manipulatives (which is their favorite!), interactive notebook (if they finish early, they write their numbers 1-100 on a blank page in their notebook or write equations using dominoes or dice on a blank page), learning through technology, and with me (running two groups). I hope that makes sense!

  • This was a great read and I commend you for mixing things up in the middle of the year to accommodate your own new learning! What are the major differences between your new format and you Guided Math for the Year (This is what I’m currently using in my own classroom.) I love the idea of incorporating the math folder and songs/chants as I can see how this would really cement these important skills. How would you recommend someone using your GM resources adapt them to your new routine? Are students now just doing 1 rotation per day? Do they need to hit each BUILD activity once per week? Thanks for elaborating more! I love this idea!

    • Amanda- I still am using my guided math pack every day! That is what I teach during the small groups that I pull during “Do Math.” What has changed is the rotation wheel vs. the “BUILD” model. My students now go to one BUILD choice each day. (I pull two groups during the “Do Math” time so they miss a bit of that choice when we meet.) That is the biggest difference. My students like this model better because they get a longer amount of time to play the math games (that they choose) and can create amazing things at using manipulatives and not have to hurry to clean it up. I hope that helps! :)

  • Love this idea! Could you email or post the link of where to found more info about this routine? We do something similar with a binder that has letter sounds, months of the year, colors, and shapes. I would love to know more about it! Thanks!

    • Rachel, unfortunately there isn’t a link that I can send you to. I learned this at a conference and it’s not online. I hope this blog post helped. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them.

  • Sherri-Lynn -

    LOVE this post!! I so wanna do this with my little ones! Can you describe how your BUILD sessions work? how long do they stay at their choice for? Also do you have the resources you made available for sale anywhere? I’d love to be able to purchase them and get my folders all together.
    Thanks :)

    • Sherri- I am so glad that you like this post.:) My students stay at their BUILD choice for the day for the entire BUILD time. (That tends to be 35-45 minutes after the whole group time is finished.) They make their choice, color it in on their folder, and then go to the correct shelf or shelves in my classroom. They can use anything on those shelves that day. As for purchasing the folder materials, I will post the 100 chart and the scrambled number pages as a freebie on my Facebook page later on today! I’m glad you like them!

  • Do you have links to the exact worksheets that are put in their math folders?

    • Sarah- I will offer the 100 chart and scrambled number page as a freebie on my Facebook page later on today!

  • This sounds awesome! My only question is, do you have a math curriculum and textbook you have to use? My district has one that’s required and we have to make sure to cover the required pages daily. I’d love to do something like this daily but, other than the centers I do, I don’t see how this would fit in.

    • Lauren, We don’t have a textbook. You could change interactive notebook to textbook pages if they are independent work if you wanted to keep this structure. Then you could make your curriculum mandated lesson/game your mini lesson for the day.

  • Hi Kristen! I was wondering if you posted the Math freebies. I would love them, but I am having trouble finding them. Thanks so much!

  • Hi Kristen! This was an amazing post! I’m having trouble finding “Let’s Count to 30” by Hap Palmer. Where did you find this song? Thank you so much!

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