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Saturday, November 6, 2010

November Math Stations... plus a few extras!

Our "warm-up" for math stations this week was decorating our tipi covering. We started by watching a clip on Youtube of a family assembling their tipi. We then gathered around our tipi covering (a half circle of 2 bulletin board paper strips taped together) with one child starting the pattern - a zig zag. He then passed the crayon to the next child who kept the zig zag going. This continued all the way around the circle. We then added another element to the pattern using the same procedure. It turned out great!

The finished product!

I always have a counting station - this was "Count the Room". He counted the Indians and then recorded the number on the matching shape of the recording sheet.
Pattern is another skill that needs lots of repetition. This activity provides a great way to get kids THINKING and PROBLEM SOLVING - which is what math is all about. An added bonus is the level of fine motor ability required! Great practice and a beautiful outcome!

We also decorated our drums while practicing pattern.

I was amazed at the patterns the kiddos created given only 2 elements. 

Another favorite is measurement - which provides for lots of counting, counting, counting! Not to mention number/set match. She even added the pattern!
This station is always a hit with the boys! I've decorated these pins with beaks, eyes and waddles. The kiddos bowl and record on their paper how many they knock over. I drew x's on a page of chart tablet paper for easy set up.
This station works on number order. Each child has a set of feathers numbered 1-8 and a turkey body. Each child spins and adds the matching feather to the turkey. The "thinking" part of this game is where in the number line to add the feather since the numbers will spin in random order.

More pattern practice - in, out, in, out, etc.
Each child has a basket, tweezers and a recording sheet. I use the 30 second timer to keep the number low.   Each child takes a turn being the "timer-keeper". When time is up, each child adds their feathers bad to the turkey as they count. Then, they record their number. There is always discussion of who had the most/least.
Every year about this time we begin our symmetry study. This turkey is a fun warm up!
  During the week of symmetry, the Indian vest is one of our stations. The kiddos paint one side, then fold the vest over and rub, rub, rub! Symmetry! An added bonus is that we wear these during our Thanksgiving Program. You could also have the kiddos design one side of the vest with die-cut shapes, then build the other side to match.
This medicine bag and papoose provided more practice with pattern. The "corn husk" doll, made with a lunch bag, was a perfect baby for the papoose!
We made our "corn husk dolls" after watching a short demonstration using real corn husks. I demonstrated with real corn husks, then we made these together. This wasn't a math station -  just for "extra".
This is also an "extra". We write the room during centers. This particular recording sheet provides extra practice with our "star words". 

Just a thought...

One of the most important skills that k's learn in Kindergarten is CONSISTENTLY COUNTING OBJECTS! Be careful not to be fooled into thinking they've got it - consistently counting objects takes lots of repetition. Just like so many skills, K's need lots of reps with counting objects to a particular number to master the skill (which leads to the skill of instant recognition of sets!). Having said that, I try to include at least one or two counting stations each week for the entire school year. I think sometimes we move too fast to "cover everything" - covering everything is definitely important, but not at the expense of the child's ability. What happens when they show up in 1st grade - having "covered" everything, but masters of nothing? I'm reminded of my dad's story of when he was a kid helping plow the family fields. They were very poor and still used mules to plow. To begin the process someone had to dig up and rid the field of the big rocks that were hiding under the ground. Obviously, a few would go undetected...a blow to the unfortunate soul who was manning the plow! Can you imagine being strapped to the plow with two strong mules pulling you along...straight into an unseen rock! My point is that if rocks were left it made the job harder on the next person. It also reduced the crop production because nothing grew where a rock was left. I think of this analogy often in my teaching. Find those rocks, K Teachers and do everything in your power to clear the field for those kiddos to flourish and enjoy a solid math foundation!