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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Remorseful or Resourceful With Target Stash?

Okay, now I have to justify my greedy behavior at Target. I must find clever little activities for all that I bought. This is not bad for starters but my brain needs to keep working. As I think of things I will post them and if you have a brilliant idea- share. Would you like these worksheets?  Get them right here. The kids will rubber stamp the matching capital letter and hopefully they will not be covered in ink. Any other ideas? If you take them please leave a comment and become a follower.

I love that these stamps have a zero. That is impressive. These might be hard to find (I bought all of them) but hunt through the bins. They are not always easy to see. Not bad for now and obviously they could be used for any number activity, especially for the child who is struggling with fine motor skills. That's why you need to be five when you start school. Woops... that slipped out of my mouth. If you would like these Grab these right here Please leave a comment.

Target Addicts: Did You Spot These?

Seriously, I need to stay out of this store for the rest of the summer. I am not even kidding! I flipped out when  I saw the capital letter stamps and the dotted numbers. I can make a million activities with those to make practicing numbers and letters less traumatic. The little baskets are just the right size for the stamps and a small pad. Check it out. I will post some worksheets later to use with these stamps. I need TA (target for addicts) intervention. Do you? Ladybug Teaching Files is having a linky party for hard-core shoppers who can't resist containers,stickers, plastic stuff, teaching awards, etc. Does this sound familiar? Check out all the posts on her fantastic site. She has a blog that I think is rock star quality


Polka Dot Beach Fun

Here is another opportunity for students to count dot stickers but I like having them in a ten grid to practice the skill of counting on. So what I want to hear them saying is ... "Ten...eleven, twelve... We want our kids to recognize that they can start with 10 when the grid is filled in and continue to count the remaining dots. This will get them ready for first grade. Many of my students have a difficult time with this and need lots of practice. I also included a record sheet so their work can be checked. Obviously, the cards can reflect the theme you are working on. Another math activity...MWS  possibility! I used stickers but do I dare remind you of those dot markers again!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Don't Spill the Beans: Beginning Place Value Work for Kinders

I posted about these ten sticks a few months ago but I thought it was worth bringing back when talking about Chapter 6 of MWS. Once the kids understand the teen numbers and have worked on building them with manipulatives this can be a great activity for teaching place value. I glued them down with Elmers on colored tongue depressors and had some moms make me tons of them to use in small group work. Now I realize these would make a great math work station.

Each student had their own laminated mat to work on. Our students need to be able to build tens and ones up to 30 and this mat provided the practice many of them needed. They each got their own baggie of numbers from 1-30. Each set was a different color to avoid having children mix them up. This was super successful and the kids looked forward to our bean activities. Would you like the mat?  Download it here. You can run these off in a variety of colors too!

Some teachers allow students to count out 10 beans and glue them on a stick themselves but I was not loving that idea too much. If you have a small class... go for it. 

Eventually I decided to make a recording sheet to see if they could do this on a more independent level and it looked something like this:

What do you think of this strategy? Maybe you can try it next year. 
If you want this record sheet  Pick it up here! Don't forget to leave a comment and follow me if you want to be friends!

Now you are all set to go....hummmm maybe we need a little book for more practice. What do you think?

Teens Make Life Interesting... More Challenging

So here is what the book looks like when constructed. Remember the fold goes on the outside and you make your 10's one color and the additional ones a different color. I love have "math talk" right on the page of the book or repetitive text. Call it what you want.Remember to build these with unifix cubes (2 colors) first and then move on to the book. If you want this I will create the download tonight when I come back from working at the district office. Let me know! Okay Google Docs was down for most of the day but I think I have it under control so download it right here and I hope it helps you.  Check back for more freebies later and look at the other wonderful activities that are available as part of our book study. 

Please go over to Oceans of First Grade Fun because she has done a fantastic job on Chapter 6 of MWS and is offering freebies galore. Go now or you will be sorry. What an amazing ride this book has been. There has been so much generosity and creativity. So many people are offering their work free of charge!

Who Doesn't Love Teens?

Teaching the "teen" numbers can challenge our little ones so this is a book I created several years ago to provide practice with just these numbers and to build literacy too. On each page I ask a question using sight words they have acquired already. They build each number in the ten frame and we talk about the "extras". When we get to the teens I remind them that teenagers are bigger kids and the number word changes. Obviously this does not work for all these numbers but it is a great scaffold for our ELL's. In the _____ of the sentence frame students can just stamp the image they are using. If you do not have stamps you can use mini stickers or just color all the boxes one color to represent that number. So... enjoy those teens 'cause they can be a real handful!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chapter6: Zero the Hero Comes to Kindergarten

In my classroom the 100th day of school is a special math activity day my students really look forward to.
We play all kinds of games but I also like to provide a little book to connect to literacy. The children work through this book during a small group rotation and a parent goes through each page teaching them how to draw each object presented. When this is completed (takes several days) students put this in their literacy bag to take home and practice with parents. In chapter 6 of MWS Debbie Diller addresses place value and how it might look in a kindergarten classroom . We use "Zero the Hero" as our math mascot and practice counting by 10's to 100 throughout the year. It is important that kids recognize mathematical patterns and we use the 100 's pocket chart as part of our daily opening.

Here are the pages of the little book I use as part of our 100th day celebration.

If you would like a copy of this book you can grab it here.
Please leave a comment and follow me so I can make more friends.
I will add more activities tomorrow.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It All Adds Up to Kinder Friendly!

So I made a kindergarten mat that I can use later in the year and the recording part is right on it!
I can laminate it or just run it off for individual use at a station.
The clipart was done by my friend Makda and I love it!

My Head Is Spinning From Target

I thought I was finished blogging about mats but then I saw these:

So... you know that you having a blogging addiction or you would not be posting from TBA. However, have you thought about your dollar spot addiction too? I found these mats and now I will remake them so they can be used by kinderkids. I love the spinners built into the mat. Once again, I am spending too much money before I even make it into the actual store. Do you suffer from this addiction too? These are actually clever and made my light bulb go on today. There is lots of great stuff this week but shhhh.  Try to resist!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finally- It All Adds Up!

My teaching partner loves using number lines when we are working on addition and subtraction. So I came up with this idea but I forgot about it with all the end of the tear craziness. Once I pack things away I am on to the next idea. However, this really was a great scaffold for our kids who did not really understand this concept and the color coding with unifix cubes was very effective. You can run these off and even color code the backpacks (just the flap would be enough) for those little ones who need more practice. To build their language you could use real objects that might go in a backpack (crayons, little pencils, mini erasers,etc.)
What do you think of this?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pete the Cat...keep walking along, singing your song


Attention Kindergarten Teachers: 
How cute is this? My kids love this book and if  you are not familiar with it order it ASAP. It is also a song that you can download and put on your school  ipod. My kids sing it all the time and it is all about never giving up and taking life's challenges on with a smile. The author is Eric Litwin and the kids in my class insisted that I
make them a little book of their own. Here is a video of this song with the author. Fantastic-right?


I Love a Great Story... Don't You?

How about some mats based on stories you might be reading in your classroom. You can use them for addition and subtraction stories  that allow students the opportunity to retell events and review important story
elements. I love this idea and it will be great for building their language. Remember that mats can also be used for number sense activities. If you would like these grab them here. My head is spinning... The Very Hungry Caterpillar would be precious and all the foods he likes to eat, Pete the Cat and all of the shoes he might find, etc.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Will You Vote for this Blog?

Hi Blog Buddies,
If you are interested in supporting this blog I would love for you to vote for it on my sidebar to the right.
If you have taken a lot of the freebies I have offered this is a great way to show your appreciation.
However, if you have a different favorite I will understand that.
Thanks for all the support you have provided and the wonderful comments you have left. I have read them all!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Even Kinder Kids Can Do This: Adding and Subtracting

I don't know about you but this pace is killing me. We are now on Chapter 5 which is about addition and subtraction. Really? Where did the week go? Okay, blogging is not for the slow thinkers of the world but seriously I am still cleaning and purging in my classroom. I have never carried so much trash in my life.
I come home and fall asleep but then I start dreaming about numbers... What has happened to me? My partner told me this is like packing up your house every year! Okay enough of my problems. Let's move on.

Chapter #5: Addition and Subtraction Work Stations
 If you are a kindergarten teacher and you introduce addition and subtraction at the very end of the year this can become a nightmare for first grade teachers. So acting out story problems throughout the year is the way to go. The kids love doing this but I need to add this more systematically during my morning opening. You can do this quickly and the kids can make up the stories once they see how you do this. Don't forget to use their names. As I read  this I was thinking yah, yah, we all do this but then I had a thought when I saw the Frog and Toad activities. I should be connecting this to our literature which I have never done. I love this idea and it would be so easy to do. I still like the story mats for generic settings that they are familiar with or that hook into big themes but how about Fairy Tales or some of our author studies (Eric Carle)? 

Click here for these mats and cards and please leave a comment.
I will make some of these and post them later. Remember that once you practice these stories you can put them in a station for the kids to use independently. I love the idea of using props too. How about the headbands in Target that cost a dollar? If you did not see my other mats scroll down to Chapter #4.

Have you seen these animal paper plates in the grocery store? We use these to make up addition and subtraction problems using small cubes. The parts go in the ears of  the animal and we put them together in the middle! The kids really like using them. Try this next year.

Now Mrs. Saoud has done a wonderful job hosting this chapter so be sure to go over to her site and check out some of her amazing freebies. I love her thinking for this chapter too. Okay, your notebook should be bulging at this point but you are getting so much closer to being ready for next year!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another kind of stripping..

Here I go again. This is another version of a strip book which I create with my students using unifix cubes. First we build each story on a mat and tell a story to keep things interesting. This little book is another way to record all the ways to make 5. The kids love collecting these and keeping them in a little ziplock to practice at home. I thought you might like to have this just so you can get ready for the next chapter. Are you still reading? I hope so. The next teacher is the wonderful Mrs. Saoud at Primary Graffiti so link up with all your great activities. I can't wait! Click here to grab this little freebie.

Life Can Be Full of Surprises

So I hugged my entire class good-bye yesterday, worked on cleaning up the room (and there was serious work to be done) and went to a friend's house to celebrate another year of teaching. While I was there I got an email that I was nominated for this award from Really Good Stuff and it came as a wonderful surprise!  Endings are hard for me and this could not have come at a better time. The voting starts on July 1st and if you want to participate you can click on my sidebar.
Summer is officially here for me.
Thanks for all the wonderful comments and links you all provided for our book study. I read each one and really enjoyed your thoughtful responses and creative activities.
Fran Kramer

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chapter #4... Now Let's Explore! Freebies Galore!

Well it is finally my turn as I wrap up the year and start packing up my classroom. I feel honored to have the opportunity to discuss this chapter with the blogging community I have grown to love and respect so much.
A big shout out to Deedee Wills since this was her vision and I hope this meets her expectations. Maybe this book will help us to bring more joy into our classrooms. 

The party begins right here so link up with me.
Get some coffee (diet soda) , new printer ink for the downloads, and send the hubby out with the kiddos.
This chapter is big and I hope it gives you some ideas to take back to school in the Fall.
Here are my rambling thoughts on the key points in this chapter and there were so many.
Beginning Number Concepts:
Beginning number concepts are crucial and lay the groundwork for all mathematical understandings.
This involves more than rote counting or the ability to identify symbols. (Don't you love the parent that tells you their child is great at numbers because they can count to 10, without any help?)
How do we help our children with one-one correspondence, conservation of number, and number sense?
1. We need to provide lots of experiences with numbers in a variety of settings (large group, small group, or independently at MWS with a partner.)
Here are a set of cards to use as part of your daily routine.  Download here.  Check out the dot cards I am offering so your kids can make their own to practice with.  Grab those right here. 
Next year I will post these on my website for parents to use at home.

Another whole group activity I use for a quick whole group warm-up: I practice recognizing and ordering numbers from 1-10 by having kids wear these around their neck and putting themselves in order and saying,
"My number is ___." Hey, now I realize I need to make another set with dots so they cna order themselves and pair-up.) I can't wait to watch this!
I am also the queen of routine cards such as I have... Who has...? The kids love this and put them in a pocket chart as we read them. TIP: Everyone gets a card to keep them engaged!

Tell me some of the strategies you use. 

2. What do these stations look like?
Debbie gives us lots of examples of this and reminds us to use what we already have in an organized,differentiated manner- storing materials  in a numbered container.  It's time to clean out the math closet!
Great Idea: "I Can" Chart: I love this idea and will implement it next year using photos to keep kids on task.
Remember to lead the kids to create these with you so you have real buy in.
This is great for behavior management and is a better option than screaming!

What strategies do you have for crowd control?
I have a laminated flow map with classroom procedures in pictures for students to use when working independently. Now I realize it needs to be more explicit. 

Beginning Number Concepts: Check out your own grade level but she was "spot-on" about kindergarten. Does her list represent your standards? I would eliminate those that do not since I have such limited time. However, I could do better with some of these and I will work on buffing up some of these stations or reinventing them to make them more interesting.

For comparing numbers to 10 I give kids individual number cards and they build their number with unifix cubes and compare their tower to the partner next to them. They have to say something like "I have 6 cubes and David has 2. My tower is bigger. My number is more." David might say, "My number is less." This builds their academic vocabulary and is great "math talk." I need to have our kids practice this orally all the time.
Do you encourage "math talk?" How? I want to hear from teachers who work with second language learners.

What the kids do at these stations: What do these stations look like in your room?  she reminds us that kids need to count for a purpose (applause). Some good tips: (keep pieces in baggy), limit how many manipulatives you give children, and remember to differentiate for different ability levels. How can you differentiate? Obviously you can do this with a range of response sheets. Store them in zilplocks and label them so kids understand what to use ( red dot: easy yellow dot: average, and green: most complex) I will work on this more. Directions could be more or less demanding too. What are your thoughts?
She mentions a variety of ways to teach deeper understandings of numberquantity- good suggestions.
 I made circle maps for kinder teachers to use later in the year to check their understandings (cut and paste style). Firsties can start the year using these (good assement of number knowledge). So to keep you invested I have these.  Get them right here.

With them I have provided "math talk'" cards kindergarten students should be able to read themselves, fairly early in the year. Is this getting better? Take a break and text a friend or play Angry Birds on your ipad.

Remember these? Now  you can have them. Thanks for sticking with me through this ridiculously long posting.  Download and enjoy these.

Station Ideas: offers concrete suggestions for differentiation (Did your light bulb go on like mine?) Now I see what she really means by this!
  • Board Games you already have (dust them off0 that require counting / differentiate with more difficult number cube pr spinner with more and less. Wow, so obvious but not to me. So addthis to your station to make it more challenging (duh).
  • Domino work: We all have them so now lets use them in a variety of ways as suggested here.
  • Five and Ten Frame Game: such a clever way to teach addition combos Would you like a set of these with "math talk" cards that go with it? how about a blank template as an extra bonus? Grab your mouse and click here. 

Didn't you love this idea? I though it was so clever and worth teaching as a whole group activity, practice in small groups, and let them use it as part of a station. Maybe I am starting to get this.

Okay coffee break time. If you are bored just download all the freebies and go out shopping. Retail therapy rocks! Otherwise there is more to come. Remember, I warned you so don't gripe.

Memory or Go Fish Games: Here is where I think you can create cards based on the theme in your classroom. I have a download for you but I also made a mat so your kids could work in a controlled space. Kinderkids need this to be successful. Yup, you guessed it- another download with directions. Here is your copy.

  • Comparing Games: My kids love using decks of cards (It starts to look like Vegas in my room) to play games and Debbie also reminds us to use numeral cards you already have as well as dominoes. She mentions ten grid cards which I found on-line. These look like a great addition to the mix.

  • Graphing Activities: Again this is a big favorite with five year olds where you sort "stuff" which I like to store in little cloth bags (Brighton Jewelry bags are perfect) Raid your child's room for little plastic animals, small toys- all the junk you are dying to throw away! The dollars stores have tons of this stuff. Warning -you might have to do a pocket check at the end of the day (LOL). You can even use coins for graphing and sorting. Ms. Diller offers more possibilities for math talk cards to support this activity and I bet an " I Can " chart would keep them from just playing with the junk! Right?
What do you like to use? Hint: Check your old Math Their Way manuals for ideas.

Surveys:  Talk about authentic data collections. I use to do and now I am going back and adding it to my morning opening. Here's another opportunity to connect to your current themeand for ELL's your questions will help to build their background of knowledge and academic language (those tests are around the corner0.

Want a cute download for this?  Download it here.
Counting Books: Okay, I confess that I will be dragging these out of the closet and making an attempt to get them in the hands of kids. Students should make their own counting books too- great addition to writing center Remember to  teach them how to create these You could make dictionaries with number words and store in page protectors to use with them.  

Okay I am taking a break to go work out. but before I go look at this:


These are counting books I made for you to use early in the year. You can use dot markers, color in the boxes, or dip the eraser on the back of a pencil into a stamp pad for recording purposes. Mini stampers would also work. I think adding a physical component helps them to understand that one-to- one correspondence and cuts down on impulsive counting. Counting Dots is a free download. Remember to fold each page in half with the fold to the outside. Stack the pages and use a colored strip on the side. Get it?
The other one is a bit more difficult and maybe should be done as a guided activity. If you want it grab it and use it with your kids. 

I warned you about printer ink. I went a bit crazy but hey I was anxious... I'm just hoping you can use these things.
  • Do you know about "foldies" made from a single sheet of paper? They rock! I create millions of this during the year and eventually the kids make them by themselves. They adore these (not sure why). Now you can focus on simple counting ones and kids can make them independently.

Are you interested in this? If you want a copy of this  Take a look at this here. Try these with your kiddos.

Big Books: I have not made math big books but I have many that I have created for our ELA program using repetitive text. Now my brain is humming... Does anyone want to create these and post them on their blog? Debbie suggests making these authentic through the use of photos. The kids decide on the objects to compare.  Great idea but no time right now...I will put this on my "to do" list that is growing by leaps and bounds. Get out the digital camera. Problem: Do you create new books each year? Here is another opportunity to use repetitive text and sight words you want your students to learn.

Ordinal Numbers: I loved the idea of using this for retelling a story. I do this verbally all the time with a Flow Map . I never thought about matching to ordinal numbers- can put right under the map. Love it when you blend math and reading together.

Practice With Writing Numbers: Confession: I do not take enough time to do this in a structured and consistent manner. My time is so limited that this tends to get neglected.  A good strategy for practice is to have the kids use wipe-off boards. So, you guessed it. I am sharing a number book I make every year and spiral bind so it lasts over time. Want it? Here it is but it's big! 


  • We roll dice and graph numbers too. Kids never get tired of this. Remember to use playdough for making numbers and the kids can put it right on top of laminated cards. Use the ol' snake rolling technique.Sounds like fun.
  • What activities for number writing practice do your kids like?
  • Check out the list of suggested materials to teach number concepts and be sure to check out the Picture Glossary
  • Remember to label manipulatives and store them in separate containers (this will cost you millions).
Model: before you release the little darlings to work at these stations or you will be sorry and anyhow,
who wants yo scream like a nut at young children? Nope, you can not skip this and it might need to be repeated numerous times. When the children are not using materials in a meaningful way you need to go back and model what you expect.

Use anchor charts generated by the children to deepen their understandings and to scaffold their learning.
This is a fantastic strategy for English Language learners.

Problem Solving: Interesting section with great suggestions for open ended strategies.
Here are some counting mats to use for such activities.

Here are some counting mats to use when you want to tell a math story. The children can use related manipulatives to solve the problem. Small toys, cubes, or counters work well for this activity. This is a great bridge between using oral language and problem solving. Differentiation would be simple here. For the youngest child you could say, "show me 6" and for a student with more number sense simple addition and subtraction could be done. The mats can be downloaded right here.

Counting Money:  Debbie emphasizes counting for a purpose so working with coins is a worthwhile activity to include in your math stations. We all recognize the importance of using real money and I have created a simple sorting map for coins.  More capable students can add the totals in each column of the mat. An anchor chart is also recommended but I am thinking you can make it on a regular sheet of paper, put it in a page protector, and include it right in your station tub! I do not have that much wall space. Any other thoughts?  Ahoy... Here is my plunder. There are lots of ideas in this section to check out.

Once again there is conversation about materials and containers to use but this has already been presented.
Make use of what you already have and limit the amounts you give little ones or they might start flying through the air. You know exactly what I mean.

If you made it to the end of this post I am impressed. If you downloaded the freebies and put them in your notebook, I salute your organizational skills. It will take me 2 weeks to clean up my computer area! If you got at least one idea I would appreciate a comment or two. If you want to blog about this chapter I will do a "Happy Dance" because you are probably on your vacation. Link up to me when you are ready. I look forward to hearing from you and will try to read all the posts. If you loved this post please take my button and become my BFF. Please have a restful summer that is well deserved.
See you in Vegas!

Fran Kramer

 Math Work Stations: Chapter #4; Beginning Number Concepts Work Stations

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kids Just Wanna Have Fun

Do your kids love spinner activities? My partner suggested this one to keep them busy while we try to get some work done! I hope you can use it too! Remember to use a paper clip with a brad for the center of the spinner and this is fun to play with a partner the Debbie Diller way. Enjoy it or put it away for next year. If you like it leave a comment and suggest other spinner games to create. Now go catch a
You could have math talk cards for graphing. Ex: "I have more _____ than ______". How about ____ and ___ are equal. "I have the most______ or the least ______.."  Get it?