Today is the first day of December and as it is already getting dark at 4:30 I wonder where the school year has gone so far? Wasn't yesterday just Halloween? I feel I have so much more to teach to give my students a greater chance to be successful in mathematics yet the school year is flying by!

I recently sat down and modified my math fact monthly goal sheet for the year. I am much further behind than I wanted to, but I am taking more time this year to make sure my students are really grasping those number concepts rather than saying I got through everything. This is what I got through so far

September:-

- understanding of the equal sign/part-part-whole
- skip counting by ones, fives, and tens both forward and backwards
- True or False number sentences
- Join result unknown story problems (3+ addends). I really took the time to let my students know my expectations of them when solving problems. We also worked hard on organization and different ways to represent their thinking (picture, number sentence)

- Balancing of the equal sign
- Number before/Number after practice
- Fact Family (different representations of number sentences)
- Understanding of number (how many number sentences can you make that equal 7?)
- +1/-1 math facts- just began at the end of the month
- Subtract result unknown story problems as well as more join change unknown. We continued to really work on organization as well as math comprehension (How can we tell if we will add or subtract in the story problem?)
- skip counting by twos both forward and backwards

November:-

- +0/-0 math facts along with doubles up to 5+5.
- Join change unknown in both addition and subtraction. I really took it slow this year focusing on representing the number sentence with the missing second part circled and then using our fact family knowledge to figure out how to move that answer only to the right or left side of the equal sign. They will need to show both equations though.
- Continue to work on fact families- I will have a math center activity that works well with this.
- Still skip counting, but relating it more to math facts (When we count by 5's we are really adding 5 each time).

December:-

- Join and separate start unknown problems and how they are similar/different to change unknown problems. I again will ask them to manipulate the number sentence from the answer circled at the beginning of the number sentence to moving the answer to only the right or only the left side of the equal sign.
- We will continue to work on +1/-1, doubles, and +0/-0 facts, but add +2 facts as well. I know the majority of my students will be able to grasp this concept due to their skip counting ability at this point of the school year.
- Number order 99-120. Many of my students are having a hard time writing their numbers after 109 so I am working on number order because of this need in my classroom.
- Make ten math facts - working with numbers that equal 10.

I mentioned a while back that when I teach math this year I am focusing on I(teacher) do, we do, we do, and then you(student) do method of teaching. This basically means that I show them a problem or concept and model expectations by talking my way through the problem (although sometimes I give them a new problem to try first at this point of the school year), then we go through a problem together where they help me solve the problem (this is done on another day than when I worked on the problem), next they tell me what to do the majority of the problem and then I still facilitate and ask questions to check for understanding, finally I send them off to do the problem themselves. Whenever I send them off themselves we ALWAYS meet back together to discuss strategies and different ways to solve the same problem.

I was also asked how to help students understand change unknown problems. I teach this concept through problem solving. I will do this whole group and really focus on the language of the problem. Here is an example:

John had 4 pencils. His friend gave him some more. Now John has 7 pencils. How many pencils did John's friend give him?

First I focus on the number sentence by drawing three blank squares. I then go back to the problem and read the problem again to them. "John has 4 pencils." " How many pencils does John have?" When they reply 4 then I write 4 in the first square. Then I read about how his friend game him some more. "Do we know how many some more is?" "Does the problem give us a number?" When they say no, then I circle the whole blank square to show that is where the answer we are trying to find will be. Next I read the rest of the problem and fill in the last square.

From there I will ask them if we are adding or subtracting in this problem and how they know. If they do not know I will read the problem again and ask if giving someone something would be adding or taking away. Once they see this set up usually they can solve for the answer, but start will small numbers no more than 10 or 5 if you have students that really struggle. It is always best to keep things easy when first introducing concepts and then getting more challenging as they become more confident.

This has helped my students so perhaps it may help your students as well. I am sure there are other ways to help this understanding, but this is one way that I have had success with my students.

Now here is the giving part. I have been busy trying to post December themed activities, but I have also been creating a lot of word work and writing activities. I know this is a math blog, but I am going to post a sample of some of my word work activities also.

I have Who Has Numbers to 20 is an activity I have been using with my Target Time (intervention) group the last couple weeks. They struggle with number ID and this activity has helped.

I Wish I Had 10 game is great to practice and prepare your students for those ten pairs math facts.

Fact Family Number Sentence Sort- Students will sort number sentences according to their fact family. This activity can be used to bring up conversations of why some number sentences look so different than they are used to seeing.

Sentence Structure Sample- This is a sample of some things I am working on for my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Check it out at my store on Teacher Pay Teacher if you like it.

Primer Words Practice Program- I created a 5 week program for students that are struggling with their Primer sight words. This is only week 1. Students take home a weekly practice sheet of 12 words, work on a speed read sheet also sent home, and then a practice book of all 12 words that you copy of 1-2 sided. Again, if you like these activities you can find them on my TpT store by searching my name in the search engine on that site.

I actually have a number of spin games for the site words as well that also reinforce those weekly words. I will try to get them posted this weekend yet if I have time.

That is all for tonight!

Tina Parker