Sunday, January 31, 2016

Flexible Seating in Kindergarten!

I didn't graduate too long ago and I already feel like I am behind the times.  I am constantly amazed at how fast the education world is changing.  It is constant - but that is what I love about it!

Figuring out a classroom design with flexible seating can be tricky, but, flexible seating in the primary classroom works wonders!  My kindergarten students love wobble chairs!  Check out my first tip for transforming a classroom into a 21st century classroom.

I had been reading and pinning and swooning over flexible seating for a while and this year I decided to take the plunge (more like dip my toes in the water....the plunge is coming soon!).

I started off by deciding what type of seating I wanted to try out the most.  Would it be bean bags? Wobble Chairs? Standing Desk? Yoga Balls?

For my kiddos, I thought wobble chairs would be the best!  I set up a project on Donor's Choose & wahlah! It was funded.

Four wobble chairs entered my kindergarten classroom...
(that kind of sounds like the start of a bad joke...)

Figuring out a classroom design with flexible seating can be tricky, but, flexible seating in the primary classroom works wonders!  My kindergarten students love wobble chairs!  Check out my first tip for transforming a classroom into a 21st century classroom.


I kept reminding myself, I am just dipping my toes, dipping, dipping, dipping.  I put the wobble chairs at one of my extra tables.  Tip 1: Start with just one option.  All the kids still had their assigned seats but they were allowed to work on wobble chairs during Daily 5 or other independent work time if they felt they needed to sit somewhere different than their regular chair.  

Figuring out a classroom design with flexible seating can be tricky, but, flexible seating in the primary classroom works wonders!  My kindergarten students love wobble chairs!  Check out my first tip for transforming a classroom into a 21st century classroom.

No surprise, the chairs were always getting used.

Test run = success.

I am ready for the plunge!  I created a new Donors Choose project & it was funded.  I have new seating coming in this week (along with some seating I ordered on my own) and flexible seating is about to take off in our kindergarten classroom (fingers crossed)!

Looking for flexible seating ideas for your own classroom?  Follow my pinterest board - Flexible Seating is Grrreat!

More to come as I work through this new process!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Daily 3 Math - Math by Myself - for the Kindergarten Classroom

Time to digger a little deeper in to:

Daily 3 Math Kindergarten activities have made my math block and center time fabulous.  Here are a few tricks and tips on how to set-up your room for Daily 3 Math and how to get started in the classroom!

What is it?
Math by Myself pretty much is as it states - math that children can complete by themselves.  It is worksheets, games, activities, puzzles, etc. that students can complete because they already have the content knowledge from the awesome lessons that you have taught as a teacher.

How is it set up?
I have a shelf in my classroom that holds my Math by Myself baskets.  Each center (there are 9 for each unit) gets a basket.  I sometimes have 2-3 centers to pick from at Math by Myself and other times I have all 9 out.  As the year goes on, it is easier to have multiple centers at the Math by Myself station.* 

*Stations are the 3 main branches (Math by Myself, Writing, Math with a Partner)
 Centers are the options at each of the Stations (puzzles, race to 100, all about xx, sorts, ID pages, play-doh mats, flashcards, etc.)

How does it work?
After I teach a mini-lesson, students are able to pick a station.  They pick math writing, math by myself, math with a partner, or they may be pulled to my table for a small group.  At that station, they can work on any of the centers that are open.  They stay at their station for the entire Daily 3 Math block (it can range from 10 - 25 minutes depending on the math lesson that day) but they are free to pick between any of the centers that are open at that station.

How do they know what to do?
I slllllooooowwwwwllllllyyyyyyyyy introduce the stations and centers at the beginning of the year, starting with my first Unit: #0 - 10.  We practice each center together following the very common model:
Daily 3 Math Kindergarten activities have made my math block and center time fabulous.  Here are a few tricks and tips on how to set-up your room for Daily 3 Math and how to get started in the classroom!
 I use this model because I really want the students to understand what they are doing and how it should be done.  This is so important to me because if they can grasp it during the first unit at the beginning of the year, they are set and ready to roll for the rest of the year.  The units that I have created are modeled after one another so it makes it easy for the kids to use.  We spend a long time learning these stations during the first unit - it makes the rest of the year that much easier.  The choice at each station starts as just one simple center.  As we learn to do more centers together, they are added to the stations.  By the end of the unit (or sooner), they are choosing between 5 - 9 centers at each station.

How is this different than the old "math centers?"
My biggest complaint with the old "math centers" is that the kids forget what to do the next day.  I would explain math centers at the beginning of the week and the students would rotate through them (one center a day for the entire week).  Well, I was constantly getting questions.  How do I do this again?  What are we supposed to do here?  This model allows students to be independent, understand what they are supposed to do, and use their time more wisely.  My kids weren't getting to all the stations due to assemblies, field trips, snow, holidays, teacher work days, and weeks that weren't 5 days long.  This allows them to work at their own pace, have choice, and do what they want to do.  No need to make sure they do x worksheet and y worksheet.  The copies with old "math centers" were horrible.  So much to copy, so much to grade, so much to send home, such a waste.  I laminate everything!  I check in with students as they work.  We erase and re-use.  There is no center work going home.  Parents are able to see what they are doing in class through assessments, worksheets from mini-lessons, and twitter - they don't need center worksheets as well.

So, what do these centers at Math by Myself look like?
There are a wide range of centers at Math by Myself, but I will share a few freebies that will hopefully get you hooked today!

This is from Math by Myself Unit 1: #0 - 10 .... Students represent the number in multiple ways! This All About Center is carried out through every unit - the layout, questions, and representations just slightly change.  Again, just laminate & you are good to go!
Daily 3 Math Kindergarten activities have made my math block and center time fabulous.  Here are a few tricks and tips on how to set-up your room for Daily 3 Math and how to get started in the classroom!

 This is from my Math by Myself Unit 2: Teen Numbers - This is similar format to Unit 1 where students are working on identifying and representing numbers greater than the number given.  Again, just laminate & you are good to go!
Daily 3 Math Kindergarten activities have made my math block and center time fabulous.  Here are a few tricks and tips on how to set-up your room for Daily 3 Math and how to get started in the classroom!
 Who doesn't love a good puzzle!! This is from my Math by Myself Unit 3: Shapes - you print on cardstock & cut the triangle out.  Cut along the black lines.  Students work to put the puzzle together.  Each Math by Myself packet contains puzzles!
Daily 3 Math Kindergarten activities have made my math block and center time fabulous.  Here are a few tricks and tips on how to set-up your room for Daily 3 Math and how to get started in the classroom!
 Another All About, just in a different form!  This is from my Math by Myself Unit 4: Addition and Subtraction with 5.  Students represent and solve the equation in a variety of ways.  I laminate all the equations, stick them in a basket, and the kids work on various equations during Daily 3 Math time! 

Daily 3 Math Kindergarten activities have made my math block and center time fabulous.  Here are a few tricks and tips on how to set-up your room for Daily 3 Math and how to get started in the classroom!

This final freebie is from my Daily 3 Math by Myself Unit 5: Addition and Subtraction within 10.  This is the Equation ID.  The ID sheets are carried out through every Daily 3 Math by Myself packet!  For this unit & worksheet, students color in the equations that equal 7.  Again, I just laminate & let students use dry erase markers.  I walk around and check & then we reuse them the next day!

Daily 3 Math Kindergarten activities have made my math block and center time fabulous.  Here are a few tricks and tips on how to set-up your room for Daily 3 Math and how to get started in the classroom!

Be sure to check out all of my Daily 3 Math Products!
Math by Myself - Unit 1: # 0 - 10
Math by Myself - Unit 2: Teen Numbers
Math by Myself - Unit 3: Shapes
Math by Myself - Unit 4: Addition and Subtraction within 5
Math by Myself - Unit 5: Addition and Subtraction within 10
Or check out the Math by Myself BUNDLE which includes all 5 of these Math by Myself Units!

If you are feeling super adventurous, here is the MEGA Bundle, with All Daily 3 Math Stations for All 5 Units!  It is over 100 Centers for your Classroom!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Daily 3 Math in Kindergarten

Math can be tricky in a kindergarten classroom.  I don't know if your county is anything like mine, but we are given lessons to teach the kids and most of the time they are lessons where the kids are sitting on the carpet for the whole entire math block.  Anyone who works with kids knows that sitting for that long does not fly in a kinder room.  So here is what I found what works best for me, and that is:


I love Daily 5 for ELA so I was not at all surprised when I fell in love with Daily 3 for Math.  Daily 3 Math consists of 3 sections: Math by Myself, Math Writing, and Math with a Partner.  I even add Math with a Teacher and pull small groups when I can!

Just like Daily 5, there are many ways you can execute Daily 3 during your math block.  Here is what my typical math block looks like:

-Calendar and Counting:  We spend 5 minutes doing the calendar, counting the days of school, and doing a "brain break" to count to 100!
-Mini Lesson:  I spend the next 10 - 15 minutes teaching the main mini-lesson for the day.  The county I work in provides us with lessons, so I take what they give us and shrink it down to an engaging and focused mini-lesson.  The kids may have a quick worksheet or activity that they will complete for 5 - 10 minutes after.
-Daily 3 Math:  Kids pick what stations they want to go to and they learn through practice at the Daily 3 Stations.

So how does Daily 3 Math work?
In my room, it has become a routine!  I started Daily 3 Math with my very first unit - numbers 0 - 10.  I slowly introduced the students to the Daily 3 Math Stations for Numbers 0 - 10.  The kids were quick to learn these stations and they were slowly given the choice to pick where they go.  I walk around the room and question students, work with students, and conduct quick assessments with students.  I may even pull a group during this time if my assistant is in the room and able to monitor the class.  I was amazed at how independent they were!

The next unit I teach is Teen Numbers.  The great thing about the Daily 3 Math Stations that I use is that they are very similar in layout!  The directions don't change too much, the format is similar, and students are quick to learn the stations when a new unit is introduced.  The big change from unit to unit is the content.  This allows them to quickly dive in to the 20+ stations that I allow them to pick from for each unit!

I then go on to teach Shapes!  This is followed by Addition and Subtraction within 5!  And finally, Addition and Subtraction within 10!


If you are ready to jump right in, check out my Daily 3 Math MEGA BUNDLE!  This includes over 100 math stations that can be used during Daily 3 Math!  

Below you will find an example of how the stations are similar from unit to unit.  This is just one of the stations from Math by Myself - I have included one page from each of my 5 units.  The format is the same, yet the content changes, making it easy for kids to know what to do and allows them to quickly adjust to new stations as the units change!  This station is the ID station.  Students look at the target in the middle and color in anything that represents that number (or shape) on the outside.

And finally, some photos of the kiddos working independently at these stations!  They LOVE them!  This is from our most recent unit, Daily 3 Math Stations: Shapes






Enjoy & have a grrreat day!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Holiday Break!





I hope that everyone had a wonderful and relaxing break!!  I can't believe that it is time to go back to school tomorrow!