Friday, 29 March 2013

Friday Game Day... Blast off!

 Here's a fun little game that I like to play with my class as a 'warm up' for our Maths lesson.. its a great one to practice writing and sequencing numbers, with a good dose of strategy thrown in too!

We call it.... BLAST OFF!

To play, you just need to draw a rocket on your whiteboard, with some windows on it. The number of windows will determine the complexity of the game, for my little Receptions, I normally use 5 or 6. The aim of the game is to fill all the windows with numbers in sequence before getting three strikes (though if we haven't 'won' the game for a while, I give us some extra strikes to make it easier!) Someone then rolls a 1-10 die, and calls out the number and the class decides on a window to write the number in. 

We have some really great conversations about number order, relative position in a number line, chance and strategy... I find the kids really get into it! If you roll a number, but can't make a move, a strike is recorded (by crossing out a star) - three strikes and you're out.

You could easily differentiate it for older kids by having more windows on the rocket, using two/three dice and making 2/3 digit numbers from the numbers rolled, or adding the numbers together, doubling the number... the list goes on :)

It's a fun, easy game to play, and I find kids really enjoy it...  great for strategic thinking too!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A free Eggy Maths Game :)

It's hard to believe that Easter is just around the corner....
This week will be an extra busy one, a four day week PLUS we have swimming!

We are looking at Chickens and eggs for the last three weeks of term, partly because it's Easter, but also because its our turn to feed the school chooks next week so we are learning about all things 'chickenish'!

I thought I'd quickly share a little Maths game we are going to be using this week, it's called Egg Shake. I wanted to do something with egg cartons for Maths this week, so I hit Pinterest and found lots of great examples of this little game.

I've included a copy of the carton cover and numbers that I used, just click here if you would like a copy :)

To play, students work in pairs or small groups. The first player puts the chick in the carton and gives it a shake, then opens up the carton to see which number the chick has landed on. They then say this number aloud and use the tongs to pick up that number of 'eggs' (cotton wool/pom-poms) and put them in their basket. The next player then has a turn. The first player to have their basket full is the winner!

I played the game with my four and a half year old and she loved it! Hopefully my class does too :)

To differentiate the game for those kids who already recognise the numbers to 12 and can count collections, I'm going to ask them to take 2 more than the number they have (ie. if the  chick lands in 4, they take 6 'eggs'), so that they are practicing counting on. You could also pop two chicks in and ask them to add the numbers together or subtract the smallest from the largest. You could also ask them to double the number or the number that goes with it to make 12... the possibilities are endless! 

Have you played this game with your class before? I'd love to hear how you used it :)

Friday, 22 March 2013

Friday Game Day..... 2D shapes game freebie

It's Friday Game Day!

Here's a little game that I played with my class this week... they really enjoyed it!

It's a 2D shape game that kids play in pairs....
(Click here to download)

To play, kids just need a 1-6 die for each pair and a game board and coloured pencils for each player.

Player 1 rolls the die and then finds a shape with that number of sides on the game board, names the shape and traces it. We started off using lead pencils, but we soon worked out that coloured pencils are much better - you can easily see which shapes have been traced at a glance! Player 2 then has a turn and the game continues until one person has all of their shapes traced... they are the winner!

We also played it that if you rolled a 2, you got to roll again (there are no 2 sided shapes on the board) but you could play it tough and say they miss their turn! If a player can't make a move (for example, if they roll a 3 and all the triangles are already traced) they skip their turn too.

My kids LOVED this game... I hope yours do too :)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ladybird Maths Fun!

Hi :)

Last week I wrote about a training day that  my school went to with Ann Baker - I came away really wanting to try  and do more contextual problem solving with my kiddos. Ann calls it a 'Problematised Situation', basically it's Maths learning in a more real context, that involves thinking mathematically and problem solving (... perfect for Australian Curriculum - well any curriculum really!) Problem solving always seems to be SUCH a tricky thing for kids, so I'm SO keen to really stuck into it with my Receptions this year.

We started off the lesson with a game of noughts and crosses (click here for info on a nifty way of playing it with the whole class). I've often played this game with my kiddos, it's really great for problem solving and (as Ann told us!) adaptive reasoning. Which ever way you look at it, kids LOVE this game and learn from it so I figure it's a win/win situation!

I started with some pretty straightforward questions today - we've been learning about Ladybirds so I followed that theme for our Maths too. Our first question was.....

We completed this question as a class, and talked about what the problem was and what we needed to figure out. It was a big heads-up to see the number of students that didn't understand 'altogether', so we had to explore that in detail as well. 

I actually did this on the Smartboard, but didn't save it (bright, I know!) so here's basically how we figured it out...

I then sent the kids off with this problem....

I was really impressed with their efforts! 

We spent a good 15 mins at the end of the lesson sharing some of our work -  this was a really valuable part of the lesson. I got to hear kids explain their thinking and talk through any misconceptions and the kids also got a chance to share their thinking which is really helped clarify their learning.

We use a document camera that can be used with the interactive whiteboard... such a handy tool! It means that we can display the kids work on the board (rather than us all trying to peek into their book!) and we can draw/write things on their work as we need to.

I'm really trying hard to have a big focus on the reflection part of our lesson... it's an area that I need to put more effort into! Today's reflection worked well, so I'm definitely inspired to keep it up :)

Here's the next problem we're going to try... 

This has a focus on decomposing number.. I'm hoping some kids might start to see the links with Rainbow Facts to 10!

A template for them to use to help solve the problem

If you'd like a copy of these questions, just click here.

I was really pleased to see how many kids could use what they'd learnt from the first problem to help with the next one, and I learnt that I need to plan for some more learning on the concept of 'altogether' - so it was a productive day all round! ;)

Have a great week!

Friday, 15 March 2013

An easy, fun positional language game!

Wow! I can't believe it's Friday already! I think having a three day weekend always helps the week go faster though ;)

For this week's game, I'm sharing one that I use to develop positional language... it's basically a barrier game with a bit of a shape flavour.
Kids work in pairs for this game, they'll each need a copy of the game board. With slightly older kids, I get them to draw their own grid, but I find with new Receptions, it's just easier to give them one that's already made... I'm sure you understand :)

The game can be made easier/more complex by changing the number of squares in the grid
The kids sit back-to-back, so that they can't see each other's work. One player draws different shapes (or lines) in each of the boxes, and they then need to describe where the shapes are to their partner. The aim of the game is to have two pictures that look the same.... sooo much easier than it sounds! We generally play the game as a whole class (with one person up the front, trying to draw the pictures that we have on the whiteboard) quite a few times before they play it in pairs, just to model the type of language to use and the questions to ask.

To make the game more difficult, I say that kids can't name the shapes either.. they need to describe them, which can be a real challenge!

Once the kids have the hang of it, this is a fun and simple to set up game, great for when you have a few minutes spare at the end of a day as well as a great way to 'warm up' for your Maths lesson. :)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Fantastic Maths PD!

This week has been a super short week for me... Public holiday on Monday and the kids had a Pupil Free Day on Tuesday, while we had an all day training session. We spent the day looking at Numeracy blocks with Ann Baker.... it was amazing! Have you ever had the chance to work with Ann? I thought she was fantastic... so knowledgeable and so passionate about teaching Maths... I came away all motivated to try some of the things she was talking about!

Ann was talking about the importance of purposeful Maths learning.. she shared lots of ideas about how to use Problematised Situations in the classroom. Basically, it's putting learning into context, and although I've done this to a degree, I think I could do it a whole lot better! I'd love to work out a way that we could include these types of problems in our Discovery Time (Developmental Play sessions) too.

The other big thing she talked about was the importance of reflection at the end of a lesson and I know this is my weakness! I always have the best of intentions to have a really rigorous reflection section to my maths lessons, but somehow we always run out of time (common problem for teachers I know!) and we end up doing a quick 3 minute share instead.

Here's a link to her website if you want to explore further... and here's a couple of her books that I have used before...

Great for teaching mental strategies... comes with posters too!
I have only used parts of this book when I was doing Maths Demo Lessons in classes, but I thought it was great!

So... my goal for next week.. I will do reflections for EVERY maths lesson and I'm going to have a go at trying some Problematised Situations as well.... 
I'll let you know how I go! :)

Friday, 8 March 2013

Friday Fun day... Place Value game

This game is one that I learnt from an AWESOME Maths educator, Professor Di Seimon. She has done some amazing work around teaching number, when I've heard her present, I've been in awe of how much she knows about teaching and learning Number... if you ever get the chance, definitely so see her!

This game is designed to reinforce place value. Here's a link to the original game board, that I've used with Yr 2/3s. The great thing about this game is that it can be adapted to any level so easily, and can be used for decimals, fractions, whole numbers... so many things!

The original download is much clearer... I wasn't sure how to upload a clearer image.. sorry!
The game needs two players, two 0-9 dice and a game board each. The aim is to be the first person with a number in each of the boxes. Player 1 rolls the two dice and then makes a number with the two numbers rolled (for example, if I roll a 3 and a 5, I can make 35 or 53) and then chooses a box to write the number in. Player two then has a turn and this continues until one person has all their boxes filled. If you can't make a move, you skip a turn. 

There is so much strategy in this game! Kids need to have a sense of where a number is in relation to 0 and 100 so they can estimate a box to write in, so there is a lot of calcluated guessing!

When I play with game with littler kids, I use a one 1 - 10 die and a simpler board. The concept is still the same, but obviously only working with the numbers 1 - 10. 

At first, we have 9 boxes on the game so that all the numbers 1-9 are written, as they get into the swing of things, we use a game board with less squares so that they need to start making strategic decisions about where to place the numbers that they roll (this can get quite tricky!)

Once they have the gist of this, we use two 1- 9 (or 1 - 10) dice and add them together. For this, we use a 0 - 20 game board - I either give the kids a game board, or I get them to draw one that looks something like this....

This is a great game to play as a part of your lessons, or for kids to play when they have some spare time... I always find it's a really popular one! :)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Jack and Jill's Bucket... A Measurement Activity

 So far this year, we've been looking at Nursery Rhymes, and last week focused on Jack and Jill. I don't think I've ever really noticed until now, but that is a pretty gruesome story... two people falling down a hill and cracking their heads! I only really noticed when I played an animation to the class and half of them were looking at me eyes wide open, worried if Jack was going to be alright! Poor, dear kids!

Anyway, I thought I'd share one of our Maths lessons from the week. For this lesson, we compared how much different 'buckets' (well, containers that we had in our room) could hold. I worked with the kids in small groups; they each chose a 'bucket' and we measured how many blocks they could hold.

We used a number line to show how many blocks were in each bucket...

We then recorded what we'd's an example of our finished piece of work...

Sorry about the picture quality :)

The kids really enjoyed this activity, I was able to have some really good conversations about comparison and measuring with each group when which was great too. If you'd like a copy of the sheets we used to make these, just click here :)

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Freebie for St Patrick's Day :)

Hi :)

I just wanted to pop on quickly to share a little Maths activity for St Patrick's Day... I'm joining up with Mary from Sharing Kindergarten for her St Patrick's Day Linky!

It's a simple but fun game for kids to play to practice addition to 12..great for pair work, early finishers and Maths Centers! I just print off the game board and laminate it, then you just need 2 dice and some counters to cover the numbers with. Each player rolls both dice, adds them together and covers that number on one of the shamrocks. If the number has already been covered, they miss their turn. The player with the most numbers covered at the end of the game (when all shamrocks are covered) is the winner!

Click here for a copy :)

I hope your little ones enjoy this game :) What plans do you have for your class for St Patrick's Day?

Friday, 1 March 2013

Friday Game Day... a fun and easy card game

It's Friday again!

Today's game is one that I learnt from the lovely lady I team teach with. It's a really simple card game that you can use to develop a whole range of number skills. It's originally meant to reinforce number recognition, but you can use it for ordering numbers, number bonds, doubles, adding on... the list is endless! It's a really easy game to differentiate, so I love it!

The game is played in small groups, 4 or so is best. You need a pack of cards (minus picture cards, and Ace is worth 1), and one person to be the 'dealer' they deal each player a card (face down) and on the count of three, everyone turns their card face up. The first person to say the number on their card is the winner and collects everyone's cards from the round. This continues until there is only one player left with cards, and they're the winner! Simple but effective and kids LOVE it.

Here's a couple of ways you can modify the game... I'm sure you can think of more ideas too!

Ordering numbers - when all the cards are turned over, you say the card with the highest value.

Number Bonds - when the cards are turned over, say the number that goes with it to make 5/10 etc.

Doubles - Call out double the number on your card

Adding on - Agree on the number you are adding on before each round (or the whole game (for example, 2). When the cards are turned over, each player adds on that number to their card (so if I had a 4 and the number was 2, I would call out 6)

Times tables - choose the table you want to work with (say, 3) and then players call out 3 x the number on their card.

 Great to use for small group work, for working with Buddy Class or with helper in your room!
 If you give this game a try, I'd love to hear about it!