Thursday, March 28, 2013

Number of the Day

I've been reading Jessica Shumways's Number Sense Routines book and just love, love, love it.  The idea of number of the day isn't really new to me.  I did it for years when I taught the upper grades.  When you do number of the day in those grades, you really get lots of interesting ways to make the number because the students have so many more operations that they can use to reach the number.  So, when I tried it with my kinders this week I didn't really expect much deep math to come from it.  But I was pleasantly surprised!  Yesterday our number of the day was 7.  I asked the students to think of as many ways as they could to get 7.  I had the basic addition facts to equal 7. Then some of my higher kinders figured out a few ways to reach 7 with subtraction.  But then, my little gifted kinder says, "20-13=7". We talked about how to got that- he counted back 7 on his fingers and landed at 13.  But the coolest thing was what happened next.  Another of my little smarties said, "19-12=7" I asked him how he figured that out.  He said that he took the 20-13 and took one away from each number and he knew if he did that it would still equal 7.  Then, another of my little smarties said, "Well, if 19-12=7 then 21-14=7"  Now, I am not naive.  I know that not every one of my kinders understood what these smarties were doing, but some of them were really interested and trying to understand what they were doing. 
Then I challenged them to try to use 3 different numbers to reach 7.  One of my most behaviorally challenged kinders said, "That will be too difficult."  He was about to shut down and give up, but we worked through one together using our fingers as manipulatives.  We came up with the 2 on one hand as our first number and then we broke apart the 5 on the other hand into 2 and 3, so we wrote 2+2+3.  Then, we used that same strategy to create two more three addend number sentences that equaled 7.
By that time, I was starting to lose a few kinders to the wiggles, so we kissed our brains for working so hard and gave ourselves a pat on the back for being such good mathematicians.  Great stuff!  The great math that happens third and fourth quarter in Kindergarten makes the drudgery and never ending boredom of first and second quarter worth it! :)

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