Chapter 8 was all about measurement work stations. If you have a classroom, you already know how much students love to measure things...and how hard it can be to get them to understand how to do it correctly. There are definitely some big mathematical terms that go along with a measurement unit, so I really applaud Debbie Diller's idea of breaking measurement up into individual lessons on length, weight, capacity, and time. She recommends working on each concept over a longer period of time to give students more opportunity to master each idea and avoid confusion. And I have to admit that cramming measurement into a three week unit as per the scope and sequence of our math curriculum has only caused confusion. So, I will plan to introduce each concept separately at a slower pace and include measurement work stations throughout the year for students to practice enough to gain mastery.
In kindergarten we focus solely on using non-standard units for measurement. I like having many choices of units available for students to use: paperclips or plastic links, unifix cubes, popsicle sticks, die-cut shapes, straws, and so forth. I usually set them loose to measure things around the room and record their data. Having everyone doing this at once can be quite a bit chaotic, so I know I'm going to love using this as a two-person station rotation instead next year!
I love using picture books to reinforce math concepts. Some books we use with our measurement unit include Stuart Murphy's The Best Bug Parade (comparing length), How Big is a Foot (measuring length), Super Sandcastle Saturday (measuring, comparing, choosing the right tool), and Just a Little Bit (comparing weight). There are many more listed at the end of the chapter as well!
Our district does not have a kindergarten benchmark for telling time, so we do not spend any instructional time on this. But, I like to give them a little foundation to set them up for first grade. My favorite way to do this is to hang my Audubon singing bird clock in the classroom...at the top of every hour it has a different bird song. It is quiet enough not to distract, but the kids do notice it and look to the clock. I simply say the time, "It's ten o'clock," and keep instructing. They begin to pick up on how it works and soon tell me the time when they hear the chime. The bonus...I love hearing birds in the classroom...it makes me happy! :o)
Definitely let the kinders get as much practice actually measuring, weighing, filling and comparing things as possible. This is an especially good unit for relating math to real world problem-solving. I think one of the harder concepts for kinders to grasp and do right is estimation. They are sooooo bent on their answer being correct that they do not want to guess without measuring and counting first. I usually have them do this part without giving them measuring tools first...then let them check with tools. At an independent station however, I will have to rely on "I Can" charts and Math Talk cards...maybe something like this:I Can Measure
I think I will most likely keep a measurement station all year (once it gets up and running) and keep it in a special measure station location with optional tools and some mess containment system. We will see what I come up with...I'll post pictures of my math areas (and others of course) once I can get into the classroom again. Til later!