Sunday, October 25, 2015

Spooky Fact Families- Guided Math

Happy October!
I love this time of year with my firsties.  We are finally in the swing of things with our routines and procedures and they are gaining independence.  One of my favorite times of the day is Guided Math. We were working with fact families last week, so I thought I would walk you through my guided math time and share a fun little Halloween themed math lesson at the same time!

We start math with a little warm up and a short (15-20 min) whole group lesson.  I tend to switch back and forth between place value concepts (number of the day type activities) and problem solving for our warm up.  Then we meet as a whole group on the carpet.  For this lesson we made an anchor chart about fact families and practiced creating the equations.  We talked about how Big Papa likes to sit in his chair, so Momma and baby do most of the moving.

After our whole group lesson we break up into small groups and do stations.  My stations are:
1. Teacher Table
2. Technology
3. Independent Work
4. Partner Games

At my table we review the concept I just taught, or a previous concept the group struggled with.  I often use lessons from Kristen Smith's Guided Math lessons, or sometimes I use my own lessons, depending on what my kids need.

At the technology station my kids use their Chrome Books to practice skills on  If you haven't checked out this website, you should!  It's amazing, and free!

During independent work my kids will work on a task at their seat.  Most of the time it is an interactive journal activity (I use Reagan Tunstall's stuff- she's great!), but some days we do a seasonal activity or use a page from our workbooks.  With this lesson my kiddos created a haunted fact family house, and they came out so cute!  I totally stole this idea from the fabulous teacher across the hall from me, and my kids loved it!  Here are a few hanging in the hall.

Our fourth station is partner games.  My kids LOVE working with partners and I love that they are working together and learning while "playing".  We spent a lot of time at the beginning of the year modeling what this should look like, and practicing "math talk".  We discussed how Mrs. PiƱa has magical powers and even from my table I can tell the difference between "math talking" and "recess talking".  Here are some of my cuties playing games from Kristen Smith's October Math Stations pack.

The kids spend about 15 minutes in each station and then we wrap up.  I like to pull everyone back to the carpet and we talk about what we learned and practiced that day.  It gives a sense of closure to my math block and allows my kiddos to reflect on what went well and where we need more work.  All in all, it's a very productive 90 minute block, and my students are engaged the whole time.

What does your math block look like?

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Hello friends!  I can't believe it is already half way through October!  Time is just flying by, and I am doing a terrible job of keeping up with this little blog.  I need some sort of time management intervention!

Every year we  celebrate Johnny Appleseed's birthday during the last week of September.  We call it Apple Week and our kids LOVE it.  We have so much fun!  We use resources from A Year of Many Firsts for guided reading and A Day in First Grade as well.  I love that both of these ladies focus on rich vocabulary, real photographs that build background and schema, and integrating science into every part of the school day.  I rely on resources from both of these ladies constantly!

Here is a small peek into some of the activities we did for Johnny Appleseed's birthday!
First, we got our applesauce started.  I had a fabulous parent peel, slice, and dice ten apples for me.  We put them in the crock pot with a cup of water and a cup of sugar.  Then we added a few shakes of cinnamon and we were all set!  It cooked all day and made our classroom smell heavenly!

After we got the applesauce started we sampled different colored apple slices and graphed our favorites.

We followed up with a quick little craft for our hallway display.  I just had the kids cut out a picture of an apple and layer tissue paper squares on it.  They always look cute outside our door!

We spent the rest of the day reading about Johnny Appleseed and writing about how he was a good citizen.  By the time the kids came back from specials the applesauce was ready!

The kiddos snacked on their applesauce and a few other appley treats that our parents sent in before we went home.  We were able to get out our science journals and record the properties of our applesauce while we ate.  All in all, we had a great day!