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Thursday, December 9, 2010

December Math Stations

December is such a fun time - so many fun themes to make learning fun. I wish there was more time to get it all in! To explain our Math Stations I must start with a brief explanation of our Social Studies unit - Needs and Wants.
To introduce the concept I read the book, A Chair for My Mother. This is a great story about a family that saves their change to buy a comfortable chair for their hard-working mother after all of their belongings are burned in a fire. To help them get reestablished the neighbors bring needed items - a bed, table, chairs, a bed, etc. We discuss why the neighbors bring these things and not a t.v., PlayStation, video game, etc. We also discuss why the family saves their coins for a chair and not a vacation or jewelry. It's a great story. After our discussion, I bring out Santa's Bag and we sort what's inside by what we need and what we want. The toilet paper is always a hoot!

 On another day the children find picture(s) of needs and wants. They glue them onto wrapping paper "presents" and sort them for the display.  

These lessons eventually lead to HOW we meet our needs. Of course WE WORK HARD FOR OUR MONEY! I use this to my advantage by combining behavior management with a lesson in economics! "Santa" visits our classroom each evening to "pay" the children for doing their assigned "jobs", completing work neatly, staying out of the Sad Book, etc. Each morning the children check their goody bag to find their pay! During the last week of school I will open my Santa Shop (class store) for the children to spend their hard-earned cash!

This is where the Math Station games start...FINALLY! This game is "Shopping for Santa's Suit". The children roll a coin die and add the matching piece to the paper doll. Almost all of the suit is from a die-cut. The rest of the pieces I cut free hand. After the suit is complete the children add the "details" - cotton/fur and facial features. The kids loved this!
This game has nothing to do with the unit - just another counting game to build that all important NUMBER SENSE! "Cover Santa's Beard" - roll the number die and add that many cotton balls until all pictures are covered.

 We loved the "Turkey Tumble" game so much that I had to rework the turkeys - REINDEER Games! The kids LOVE being active - it was wonderful watching them jump up and down after bowling a strike or cheering for a friend who got SO close! They recorded their number on the reindeer's nose.
 This game is called "Reindeer Race". Each child rolls a set (to compare sets of more/less) die. Whoever rolls the higher number adds one reindeer to the strip. The first to get 10 wins. I do not use number dice for this because at this level the children need to SEE the sets and WHY the set is more than the other. Remember, we are building a foundation for the next level.

If I were to remake this game I would use stickers on the strip instead of numbers. The numbers can be confusing. I made it this way in case I wanted to use it as a cover up game - roll the set die/cover the number.

This week we worked on dividing sets equally. To begin these lessons we read the book, The Doorbell Rang. 
After reading the book, a neighboring teacher knocked on the door and delivered cookies to our class - just like the Grandmother in the book. Each table had 12 cookies on their cookie sheet. 
Each table had to decide how they would divide the cookies equally. Some tables had 4 children - other tables had 3 children. It was encouraging listening to them discuss what they would do. They were so respectful of each other's ideas and to make sure that everyone was heard! My job is done. :0

This table said that each person could take one until all the cookies were gone.
This group decided to put cookies on their plate, then check to make sure everyone had the same number.
Isaac said that there was a row for each child! Great thinking!!

There was LOTS of discussion when they realized that some kids got 3 cookies each, while others got 4. 
The best cookie ever!
Next, we recorded our findings. 

The displayed masterpieces!
The children dictated what we did.

The next day during warm-up I had the children pair up. I then gave them one round "cookie" to share. They had to decide what they would do.

Next, I told them that I didn't have enough to give everyone a cookie. They would have to gather in groups of 4. I placed one cookie in the middle and asked them divide the cookie equally among the 4 of them.
Lots of discussion!
Soft Oreos would be great to use as a circle cookie - note for next year!
The end result!
We then named the parts - half and fourth. 
We then moved into Math Stations.
This group is playing "How Many Cookies". One person is the timer keeper - the rest are adding cookies to their plate one at a time. When time is called they will take turns counting their cookies back onto the tray and recording the number.

This game is an extension of the warm-up. The children rolled the fraction die and colored that much of the cookie on their paper. 

This group is playing "Please Share". Each child built 6 playdough cookies. Next, they each took turns spinning the spinner to see how many friends they had to share a cookie with. We WILL play this again next week! FUN FUN FUN

This group played the game, "Santa's Cookies" at my table. We were "bakers" and had to build 6 cookies each for Santa by rolling the fraction die and adding the matching piece. We practiced our fraction vocabulary - whole, half, and fourth together, but the kiddos were required to choose the piece without my help. It's amazing what kids learn when they are having fun!
Let me add that the idea for this game came from a collaborative planning session with my fellow teachers - Jamie Mayas, Julie Lee, and LaShae Henderson. I LOVE bouncing ideas around with other teachers - a good idea almost always becomes GREAT - and the kids reap the benefit!

During the next day's Warm Up we divided a rectangle shaped cookie in half and in fourths. We used the same procedure as the circle. 

Waffer cookies are easy to cut with a popsicle stick - graham crackers...not so much.

This was our last lesson - which I used for an assessment. 
Isaac was the only one to divide his rectangle down the middle. 


  1. I LOVE all these stations (makes me miss teaching Kindergarten!!). Do you mind if I use a few of these with my son...I'll blog about it and link back if it's ok?

  2. LOVE all of your great ideas!!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Michelle - I don't mind at all. I'm glad you found something useful!
    Kathleen - Thanks for visiting!

  5. Awesome ideas!!! I can't wait to use them when we return from Christmas break! Do you post the recording sheets anywhere, as in sell them or post in google docs? Thanks for the ideas!!! :)

  6. Do you post copies of your sheets? If you do, where? I love the Cookie roll dice sheet and the all of the cute fractions stuff.


  7. Great ideas! I was also wondering if you post your things?!

  8. Thanks so much, ladies! I've tried to upload the fraction assessment to googledocs. Please let me know if you have any trouble viewing. Thanks again for your interest!

  9. The assessment page came thru perfectly me. Thanks so much! I'll definitely be putting these ideas to good use.

  10. Hi Suzan,
    just wanted to let you know that I gave you an award over at my blog!
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas with us :-)

  11. Wow! Thanks, Michelle. I am SO touched I don't know what to say.

  12. LOVE EVERYTHING!!!!!! Would you be willing to post your recording sheets, Santa's Suit, etc.??? Or do you sell them? I would LOVE to use with my students as well! Many thanks for all you share! : )
    email is cja1st@gmail.com

  13. Hey there, can you email me your enmail address and I'll let you know how to get it on your blog etc.....too long to write here :-)

  14. I've been following your blog for a bit and then also saw you on Musings of Me-and as a former kindergarten teacher and now homeschooling mom and preschool teacher, I wanted you to know that I love your ideas!!!!

  15. You guys are great. Thanks for the encouragement!
    I'm presently working on making my program cooperate - I have used Print Artist for years...too many to remake everything! I'm trying to find a way to convert my documents so that they will print correctly for you. Any ideas?

  16. WOW! What great ideas! I would love to have a copy if you are willing to share your fabulous ideas!


    Amy :-)

  17. Hi Suzan,
    I just wanted you to know that I love your recording sheets and game ideas. I read that you are willing to share them, but not sure how to get them. I would appreciate any that you are willing to share. THANKS!!


  18. Love this! I am obbsessed with finding new teacher blogs and let me tell you.....I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I know that many of these ideas I can adapt to my 1st grade class (I can't wait to do these ideas for Christmas next year)!!!


  19. I love your blog! It's adorable! Hope you don't mind a new follower!

  20. Thanks, girls! I'm still working on the "sharing" recording sheets part, but LOVING the "blog thing"! Thanks for coming along for the ride. :-)Hopefully I'll get the sheets on here soon.

  21. I LOVE your blog! I can't wait to do your Santa Sack...Needs and Wants.

    Do you use patterns to make your stuff or are you just good at drawing. Your Santa out of Scrapbooking Paper is adorable!


  22. I'm glad you found something useful! My Needs and Wants unit was part of my National Board Social Studies/Art integrated unit so It is near and dear to my heart!
    I don't know about being "good at drawing", but it's definitely faster for me to just do it myself! Usually any recording sheets I do I use clip art of some kind. Anything else I draw myself.

  23. Neat projects!!

    I am blog hopping today and decided to stop by your blog!!

    I hope you will stop by and follow either or both of my blogs.

    Jessicas Lil Corner is my family blog at http://jessicaslilcorner.blogspot.com

    So Stylilized is where I am currently offering FREE custom blog designs at http://sostylilized.blogspot.com

    Have a very blessed rest of the week!! :0)

  24. Thanks so much for this post. I am a mom to a 5 1/2 yr old and we are pursuing homeschooling but it's been tough getting motivated. Your math activities are so adorable and simple, I'm inspired! I especially look forward to doing the needs/wants activity and the cookie division. SO commonsensical, but so effective! Thanks again...


  25. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Shopping for Santa's Suit activity and was wondering if you have the price sheet available as a free download or on TPT. I would LOVE to have it. Please let me know! Thanks!


  26. HOW AWESOME! I am so so sad that I didn't see all these great ideas before last week--we also did the Doorbell Rang--but our stuff was not nearly as fun!

  27. I love your ideas!!! So creative to use cookies for the whole unit! I was able to download the assement sheet and the spinner. Can you also load up the "Share the Cookies" work sheet? Thanks so much!!

  28. Thank you for the ideas and for the freebies!