Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Equal Sign in Kindergarten

I love how math topics just come up naturally in our classroom.  The other day we were doing one of our daily math pages as a warm up to our math time. It was this particular one from my April Morning Math and when we got to the Comparing section we came to 10=10.
There haven't been a lot of these comparing statements that have been equal, so it was a great time to talk about what the equal sign really means.  We talked about how it means the same as, how the answer usually comes after the equal sign, but sometimes not.  Then, a teachable moment arrived.  I gave them an equation: 2 + 3 = 1 + 4.  "Hmmm," I said to them, "What do we think about this?"  I had them turn to a partner and talk about it.  We've never done anything like this before, so there was no telling where we were going with this one.  Right away, when we began to share, one of my smarties said, "It's true.  Take the 4 apart and give 1 to the 1.  That makes 2.  Then you have 3 left out of the 4 and then it's 2+3 on the right side too. So that means it is the same."  Wow!  Someone else said that they could just get an answer from both sides- since 5 was the answer on both sides, it was true.  We tried a few more along the same lines and more of them began to get an idea of what to do.  I know that Kindergarten doesn't have a CCSS about the equal sign, but here's the 1st grade standards.
1.OA.D.7 Understand the meaning of the equal sign, and determine if equations involving addition and subtraction are true or false. For example, which of the following equations are true and which are false? 6 = 6, 7 = 8 – 1, 5 + 2 = 2 + 5, 4 + 1 = 5 + 2.
I guess I am a little ahead of the game, but when those moments come up, you just can't let them pass by. We did another one today and here's what we did.  I love that my smarties are beginning to compensate without me even teaching the strategy!!!  Of course, we had to name it and refer to it by name every time someone uses it in the near future.  Can't wait to see what they can do next- I think I will give them equations with one addend missing on one side like this:  3+4 = ? + 2.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing about a topic (No Pink Blueberries)

I love when Kinders begin writing more than one sentence!  There comes a point in the year when their writing really takes off and they will write three or more sentences independently about a topic.  But with that comes the random fact writing.  It really hit me hard a couple of weeks ago when we were writing about plants.  Here's what one student wrote- their topic was "fruit".  "Baby blueberries are pink.  Seeds are inside fruit.  Fruit grows from the flower.  We eat fruits like bananas."
All true- and all facts about fruit.  However, I cringe a little reading it because the facts are so disjointed. So, my question I pondered was- Can kinders write sentences that all flow together or am I asking too much?  I decided to test it out!  When I taught first grade we used a "flee" map to organize our topic- it's a Write from the Beginning thinking map.  Here's a basic sample of what a flee map might look like.

Most of my kinders are no where near ready for this but could I adapt a little to fit kinders?  I felt like a beginning sentence was a good place to start.  The beginning sentence set the topic and would keep the pink blueberry sentences from occurring.  So I made this.
Click on the link to get a copy.  Flee Map Kinder  The top box is designed for the beginning sentence and the big boxes below it are meant for pictures and key words.  My plan was to begin teaching this with everyone using the same beginning sentence and everyone deciding together on the 3 key ideas.  Then they would use this pre-writing organizer to write their own sentences about the topic.
We're learning about community workers so we tried it with a book about doctors.  We came up with a very basic beginning sentence.  Doctors help people.  Our details were about how doctors help healthy people, sick people and people in emergencies.  Here are some of their flee maps.

And here are some of their writing samples.
 Doctors help people.  Healthy people go to the doctor to stay healthy.  When people are sick they take medicine.  In emergencies doctors give them band-aids. (I love the speech bubble!)

Doctors help people. People get shots when they're healthy.  Doctors listen to your heart.  In emergencies and your bone is broken, you get a cast.

They have a long way to go and I am sure I will get many more "pink blueberry" sentences, but using the flee map to help them organize their ideas is a good beginning step.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Response to Literature with Fairy Tales

Kinders can offer opinions all day long. "I like it because it's good."  "I like it because it's funny."  I've read those sentences so many times.  But it's more difficult for them to offer evidence to support their opinions.  I decided to do this type of writing with fairy tales.  We use proficiency scales for our writing and our team created this one for response to literature.

We began by reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  It was the James Marshall version and there are some funny parts.  We decided our beginning sentence would be "Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a funny book."  Then we made a circle map where I asked them to support that statement with evidence from the text- what parts were funny?  Then they used our beginning sentences or one of their own and our circle map (or their own ideas) to support their opinion. Here are some samples.
 I think Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a funny book.  I liked when she jumped out the window.  Goldilocks rocked and rocked the chair got broken.
 Goldilocks and the Three Bears is funny.  The book was funny because she jumped out the window.  The book was funny because she broke the chair.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears is funny.  Goldilocks was funny when she jumped out the window.  Goldilocks was funny when she got squooshed in the soft chair.

Here's a link to my freebie on TpT that includes writing sheets for six different fairy tales as well as two different versions of proficiency scales for response to literature.

Saturday, April 12, 2014