We are loving our Co-Class of Kindergarten and 1st Grade. The kindergarten students have had an easy transition thanks to the example of the old pros!
Here’s a fly-on-the-wall view of what happens during our Math.
We talk about the calendar first thing in the morning as a big group before we do our memory work.
At 8:45 we all look at the day of the year. Today is the 16th day of school, so we look at the number 16 from many angles. The teacher gives specific tasks depending on grade level. Kindergartners are responsible for stars, dots, and blocks to practice place value. A first grader will find the number word. First graders also puzzle out the Roman Numeral, and make just the right tally marks. We count up to the number and then back down so we can blast off! The kindergarten students are getting familiar with how numbers work and the first graders are having a great review and are growing their vocabulary.
Next up is our fun time of math facts! We get out instruments or do karate, boxing, dance moves and dinosaur marches to our math facts. What we do intermingles so that the first graders are getting exposed to new content along with the basics from kindergarten. Right now we are counting by 2s and 10s. We are adding by 1s, 2s, and 3s.
At 9:00 we learn something as a group. This week it was our coin song. We all need to know what the coins are called and how much they are worth. However, when it comes to a challenge like making a certain amount with coins, the kindergartners use pennies, but the first graders are expected to use a combination of coins.
At 9:10 we start rotations. This is when things get really fun!
There are six stations which students travel through in grade-level groups of two or three people. Each station runs for about eight minutes.
Development. These activities rotate throughout the week. On Thursdays, the students deliver mail. They have to read an address written in dots, tally marks, letters, Roman Numerals, or a domino. Then, they deliver it. Though the mail comes every week – each week there will be more information to process, and the first graders will continue to get higher and higher numbers.
IXL. We use a web-based program called IXL which allows students to practice what they have already learned. They use the big touch screen in the room and work as a group.
Kinesthetic. This is a hands-on game or activity. Even though it is the same activity, the first graders are responsible for higher numbers and more processing information. Today we played a dice game to help us subatize, which means we can see an amount and know the number without having to count it.
Engineering. Each week students have something with which to build. This week, we are working on tangrams. The students are given a picture and have to recreate the object with their flat shapes.
Observation. Saddled up with the Engineering task is an Observation Station. This is something that one student does independently which allows the teacher to gauge the progress of that student in a specific area. Today, it was putting numbers in order. This is something that the teacher can see from anywhere in the room. It is not timed and can give some quiet space for students to think.
Grade Level Work. For the first 20 minutes of rotations, the teacher monitors all the stations to give support, clarify, and wiggle the moving parts where they need to be. She concentrates mostly on whatever kindergarten is doing and whoever is at IXL. But, on the 4th rotation, she sits down with the kindergartners to give them some specific meat! They have finished walking through the numbers 1-10 and are working on writing numbers correctly now.
The kindergartners head to Engineering and Observation. Their Engineering time is split into two. First they will complete the Engineering project. Then, they will get an extra ten minutes of free building as individuals or as a group!
While they are there, the first grade students work with the teacher on their Singapore Math workbooks. They love this! We go slowly and methodically. This twenty minute time in the workbooks echos things students have been doing with their hands, eyes, and ears all along.
With all of this, the room maintains an orderly, calm atmosphere even though there is a tiny bit of whispers and giggles. Even though we all love it, when 10:00 rolls around, we are grateful for SNACK TIME!