Friday, August 28, 2015

Letters Alive! Augmented Reality Awesomeness

I've been playing around with a really cool kit over the last few weeks and I want to share it with you!  I ran into CEO and "Chief Zoo Keeper" Cynthia Kaye in Vegas over the summer and she spent about 30 minutes introducing me to Alive Studios and their augmented reality awesomeness.  Honest first impression?  I told my husband "I've got flashcards and teach my kids letters everyday. What's the big deal?" Then she put the card (I think it was the elephant!) under the camera and it came to life.  Like 3D without the glasses kind of life.  Mind blown. 
She sent me the Letters Alive, Storybook Alive AND Math Alive kits to use in my classroom and I've been obsessed with them ever since!  My own child, my husband, my new kinders, my kindergarten team and all 3 of my administrators have been my guinea pigs as I work my way through all of the amazing technology.

I had my friend and co-worker video me this afternoon so I could show some of the cool tricks of the Letters Alive kit.  It's Friday afternoon and my voice is almost gone so no judgment.  :)

Seriously.  Can you see why I've been so excited about this?
  • It's a supplement to your reading curriculum
  • It's engaging
  • It involves multiple modalities to reach a variety of learners
  • It's Common Core aligned
There are many more videos of Letters Alive in action that you can view on the Alive Studios website {here}.  Make sure to explore their site for more information.

I can't wait to start using the letters and sight words in my small groups.  I have some ESL students that I know are REALLY going to benefit from this program this year.   I will document our progress! :)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Math Linky Reasoning and Measurement {Weeks 6 and 7!}

Ok.  So school started back and I'm a little behind on my posts for our linky series on number sense!  I'm going to combine week 6 and 7!  Laura with Kinder Kraziness is hosting week 6 on Reasoning Strategies {here} and Marsha with Differentiated Kindergarten is hosting week 7 on Measurement {here}.  Make sure to visit them to read their wonderful ideas. You can link up your ideas on their pages as well.

Differentiated Kindergarten

Week 6: Reasoning Strategies

According to Marilyn Burns, you should always question students about their reasoning strategies.  You should do this when they are right AND when they are wrong.  This provides opportunities for deeper understanding and encourages alternate ways of looking at problems. 

    Questioning Students: Prove It! are all familiar with the teacher look.  I've had to really work hard on my facial expressions over the last few years.  When you call on a student to provide an answer and they give you something totally off the wall it is really hard not to react with your face.  However, you need to re-train yourself to not give it the answer right or wrong? Good question.  :)  I like to tell my students to PROVE IT.  They give me an answer, I act like I do not know if they are right or wrong, and then I have them prove it to the class.  I will tell you that most always my students who give wrong answers initially end up identifying their mistake during their explanation.  That's what we want.  When kiddos find their own mistakes and are able to correct them in the moment they are more likely to remember to apply their new learning in the future.  Click on the image or here to download you own copy of the "Prove It" sign.  I keep my on the wall in my carpet area as a reminder for students.

    Alternate Ways of Solving Problems

    One of the ways we practice reasoning strategies is by seeing how many different ways we can solve a problem.  For example, if my students were solving the number bond above I would have multiple students demonstrate different ways of solving it.  These could include:
    • base ten (one group of ten + 6 ones = 16)
    • 16 -10 =
    • 10 + 6 =
    This helps our students build number sense and become comfortable with the connection between addition and subtraction.

    Visible Thinking Routine: CSI

    Traditionally a CSI stands for color, symbol, image and I use it primarily with reading.  After reading a story, my students give me a color for the story (like black for Tacky the Penguin or green for Hide, Clyde!), a symbol that encompasses the story and an image that pops into their brain when they think about the story.  For The Greedy Triangle a student might give you: 

    • Color: green for greed
    • Symbol: a wand to represent the "poof" from shape to shape
    • Image: 2 friends holding hands to show the friendship and loyalty of the triangle's friends
    You could even modify the color part by changing it to number or shape to go along with your math lesson.


    Week 7: Measurement

    Measurement is a fun way to use concrete experiences that lead to further investigations.  It takes estimation (week 5) to the next level.
    I also love how it gives students opportunities for selecting tools and using appropriate units.  We usually start with unifix cubes, links, paper clips or anything thematic that we are studying.

    Visible Thinking Routine: Think, Puzzle, Explore

    A Think, Puzzle, Explore routine is similar to a traditional KWL chart.  One huge difference though...a KWL is more fact-driven and a TPE is more inquiry-driven. It allows for connections with prior knowledge and encourages inquiry and curiousity.  It also helps to see what direction your students are wanting to take the unit of study.  Here's a TPE my class did at the beginning of our measurement unit.  Forgive the was an in the moment chart and I was writing their input as fast as I could!

    Connections with Literature

    Here are a few book suggestions that encourage reasoning and measurement.

    I hope you were able to get some new ideas from this post.  Thanks for reading. :)
    Make sure to check back for our final week on math fluency!

    Sunday, August 2, 2015

    Estimation! {Math Linky Week 5}

    First Grade Blue SkiesEstimation is the topic for week 5 of our linky series all about number sense!  Jennifer with First Grade Blue Skies is hosting this week so stop by and read her ideas {here}.

    Here are a few ideas on how to use estimation in your classroom:

    Week 5: Estimation

    Estimation should be embedded into problem solving.  Discussing real-world problems, like which checkout line to get in at the grocery store, helps students understand the importance of estimation in everyday life.  It is something that is easily incorporated into morning meeting or math tasks.  There's nothing wrong with incorporating a little seasonal fun with your estimation too.  :)

      Visible Thinking Routine: Chalk Talk

      Place butcher paper or something similar in different areas of the room.  Allow students to walk from paper to paper with a marker and add their ideas, observations, thoughts and questions to the paper.  You could brainstorm items that might weigh the same as an elephant, a feather, etc.

      Visible Thinking Routine: Tug of War

      Have your students participate in a tug of war debate such as Do we estimate the total to be closer to 100 or 1000?  Students can divide up into sides of the classroom depending on what they estimate to be true.  Let your kiddos argue and defend their position while they try and convince their classmates to come to their side of the classroom.

      Estimation Online Game
      PBS Kids- Curious George

      Guesstimate Game

      Divide your class into groups of 3.  Have 2 of the students place a sticky note on their back or forehead with a number on it.  Have the 3rd student tell the sum of the 2 numbers and see if the students can guess their hidden number (practice for missing addends too!).

      You could also do this with one student who has a number on his/her back.  Have the class give clues using "Math Talk" and allow the student to ask questions to help figure out the secret number.

      Sid the Science Kid "My Best Guess" Song

      Count Around the Circle

      Decide on how you will count around the circle (i.e., skip counting by 5's) and let students estimate what number the last person will say.

      Connections with Literature

      Here are a few book suggestions that encourage math discussion of strategies.

      Make sure to check back for week 6 on reasoning strategies! :)