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Saturday, October 23, 2010

October Math Stations

One of our "warm ups" during the month of October is an activity using the book, Ten Timid Ghosts. This is a great rhyming story about 10 ghosts who are scared away, one by one, by a wicked witch. Eventually, the last ghost catches on to her antics, and organizes a "take back" of their house! The kids love it and it is a great way to kick off our stations for the month of Halloween.
Each child has a "haunted house" made of black construction paper and 10 lima bean "ghosts". During the second reading of the story, the children retell the story along with me using their beans and house. This activity is a great way to cover combinations of 10, more/less, counting backwards, counting one to one, etc.
Extensions from the story include a flannel version I made for our Storytelling Center, which is always a big hit and a take-home version to play with parents. The take-home version includes goodie-bags I found at the Dollar Tree, 10 packing peanuts and note explaining the story and how to "retell" the story. This is always a favorite!

This was our warm-up to Math Stations this week.
"5 Crows All Shiny Black". Thanks Mrs. Lee for letting me "borrow" your pictures since I forgot to take my own!

I LOVE this game because it covers SO many math skills at once - counting one to one, combining two sets, various combinations of a number (1+3=4 is the same as 2+2=4, etc.), matching sets to numbers (1-10), number order, and identifying numbers by name (1-10). 
He is counting the combination of the dots and will discover that he has already covered his 6.

This game promotes many of the same skills covered in the previous game: instant recognition of sets, counting one to one, numeral recognition, and matching numbers to sets.
We investigated 4 pumpkins of various sizes. I lead this activity to introduce the scales and measurement vocabulary. Later, the children will do more this on their own.
He chooses a pumpkin and weighs it in our "baby scale" - that I found at a local thrift store for $2.00.
He then records the pounds on the matching pumpkin. Did he choose the biggest pumpkin of the 4? the smallest? 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th?
This game required the children to plant the pumpkins until all the pumpkins were in the fields. 
Scarecrow Measurement. We used the bigger squares to keep the number manageable.

This is the "Build the Crow" game - just like the "Build the Pumpkin" game.

This game also teaches steps to a project, spatial relationships, and page orientation.

Is she taller, shorter, or the same height as the scarecrow? 
She answers the question.
Then, records her findings on the paper.
I'm really into "building" things! lol The kiddos love it and get LOTS of needed counting practice.
We talk about the "key" - it unlocks the secret to the game just like a real key unlocks the door.

So close!


  1. These are fantastic, Suzan! I think it would be wonderful if my team took a trip to your classroom for our own workshop with you. Math is an area we are always trying to improve upon and I love the seasonal activities. Do you teach these activities whole group at first or in small group rotations? I have many, many questions.

  2. I wish we taught TOGETHER! Wouldn't that be great?! We would probably get into way too much trouble!
    As far as the activities... I am always with a group where I introduce a new game or skill. Once the group has it under control I will visit each group just for a quick check to make sure everything is going according to plan. When I introduce a new game I remind the kiddos of how this game is like.... That usually helps them understand what's expected. If there are problems, we simply meet back at the rug to review the procedures.
    Also, my groups are not leveled - they are mixed ability. I do pull kiddos on occasion to assess, remediate, challenge, etc., but I put a lot of thought (as I'm sure everyone does) into how I form my groups and to make sure the activities meet several needs at once. There is always a child in each group who is the Wise Old Owl (they wear an owl necklace) - they are the group's "captain". This really promotes a sense of responsibility. EVERYONE wants to be the Owl and they work hard to earn the spot. Everyone eventually gets several turns.
    Mondays are usually whole group math or math/science integrated. These math station activities are small group (4 -5 in each), but I begin our Math Time with a whole group "warm up" - could be anything... a "math" story, a song, an interactive chart, a quick game, number writing on dry erase boards to Dr. Jean's Numeral Song, etc.
    I hope this answers your questions... I know I go on and on! "Concise" is not my strong point. :-)

  3. Love your scarecrow ideas! Thanks for sharing :) I noticed in the corner of one of your pictures some sort of behavior plan (it is on the picture of the response sheet for taller, shorter, same as the scarecrow). Would you be willing to share that with me??
    Kathleen (growingkinders@gmail.com)

  4. Sure! I'll email you a copy. It's a math station behavior rubric. If you scroll through all the math station pictures you'll see a close up of the whole page. When I get to school Monday I'll send you a copy. I use a version of this same rubric for centers and circle time, too. It has helped tremendously - the kids know exactly what is expected in every situation.

  5. Super ideas! Thanks for sharing, I need to hurry and try to get some of these games done :)

  6. I just saw the rest of your math stations, they look great! Thanks for sharing how you organize your stations, but how do you incorporate your district math program? I'm trying to refigure my math times and centers. Would it be possible for you to share your schedule?


  7. Latte Mama,
    Our district is more flexible with the math than the literacy program. However, I do cover all the content in the math program plus the state course of study and more if I can. As long as I get them to the end result I'm ok - at least for now. Could you do some of your district stuff as a warm up? Would that work? I was always taught that if you covered the objective you were good. I always looked at the programs as a guide and tried my best to present it in an even better way. Our kiddos need LOTS of repetition - which the programs do not do. That's why you will almost always see my stations with at least one counting game of some kind throughout the year (building up to larger numbers of course, but counting all the same). I'll send you a copy of my schedule from school tomorrow. Thanks for your interest!

  8. Hi I teach preK and love the Ten Timid Ghost idea do you have a copy of the send home version I really love inforcing the retell at home with parents!
    Thank you