I am late posting my thoughts on chapter 4..."better late than never!" seems to be my calling card this year. Gotta work on that... :oP
Chapter 4: Beginning Number Concepts
This was such an appropriate and inspiring chapter for a kindergarten teacher. Beginning Number Concepts are absolutely the foundation for our little ones to build on. Teaching number sense I have learned takes patience and each child will develop understanding at a different pace. So, having beginning number concepts math stations available throughout the year is important. We want our students to have a solid grasp of what numbers represent: being able to count, compare more or less, recognize and make patterns, write numerals, and match quantities to numbers. Without this foundation, they will have difficulty with the rest of the mathematical concepts we teach.
In the past I have provided manipulatives for students to explore number sense concepts with. However, I would demonstrate examples of the concept I wanted them to work on and then give them all manipulatives and let them work on their own. I would circulate and talk to each of them while they worked. What I was missing was the awesome talk they can come up if they work with a partner, math talk cards to guide them, "I Can" cards to keep them engaged, and a system to make sure they were on task and doing what I had asked of them while I checked in with others. I'm not sure I did very well differentiating concepts for all levels of learners either. So, I'm busily downloading the various math talk cards, I Can cards, and number concept stations that our blogging friends have been so graciously posting. I will slowly, but surely be adding some of my own creation...as soon as school lets out and I can focus my energies in that direction!
This year my students favorite number concepts activity was patterning. They loved all things patterns and would happily stack unifix cubes in patterns taller than they were, make patterns with sticker dots or any clip art I provided, and line up bears or dinosaurs in pattern parades. To mix in other concepts as I circulated, I would ask them not only to tell me about their pattern, but also how many of each color they had, which color they had more or less of, how many they had in all, how many more would make a particular number, which pattern was longest or shortest, and so forth. Again, this math talk was guided by me and not made kid-friendly for them to practice on their own...definitely what I want to fix for next year!
By the way, a great book to use when teaching patterns (and to include in a station) is Beep, Beep, Vroom, Vroom by Stephen Murphy. They loved it! Easy to act out with toy cars too. Of course kinders sometimes think a little out of the math box during discussions...when the sister had the cars mixed up and the brother was coming up the stairs to check on his cars, I asked "Oh no, brother's coming! The cars are out of order...what should she do?!" Hands popped up and the first answer was, "Hide!" :o)
Thank you to Fran Kramer for her excellent job hosting this chapter and for posting so many fabulous activity downloads! Click HERE to read her post as well as all of the other linked pages for the Math Work Stations Chapter 4 book study!