KinderGals: November 2015

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Making the Most of Your Math Small Groups: FREE WEBINAR

Are you trying to figure out how to run small groups during math centers? Are you wondering what kinds of activities to use to teach the standards? Or, are you trying to figure out how to differentiate your small group lessons without working yourself to death? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you will want to tune in to this webinar—DI: Easy as Pie-Making the Most of Your Small Groups.

How excited am I that ESGI has invited me to conduct a webinar that is specifically designed to answer these questions. In this webinar, I am going to share how you can effectively set up your small groups for interventions, on target, and enrichment groups so that ALL children are getting just what they need.

So here are the details:
When: December 17th.
Time: 6:00 PM CENTRA:L TIME (Be sure and adjust for your time zone!)
Who: pre-k, kindergarten, first grade teachers, principals, math coaches, instructional leaders, anyone who is interested!
How: Click on this link to register
Want to know more about ESGI and how to get a two month free trail? Click on the image below.
You might also want to check out this blog post I wrote recently about small group math. It contains a link to a free unit of math assessments!
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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dollar Store Holiday Card Game Freebee

Yeah! Target has put out the Christmas items in their dollar spot. I love these decks of cards. (BTW, they also had sports cards.) In this blog post, I am going to show you an easy, peasy game! Scroll to the bottom of the post to snag this FREE game.

Getting Ready!
  • Each deck of cards is enough for two games.
  • Sort the cards with the black cards in one pile, the red cards in another pile, and the jacks, queens, kings, and jokers in another pile.
  • Throw the jacks, etc away. The red cards are for one game and the black cards can be used to make the game again.
  • Reproduce a game board for each the black cards and another one for the red cards.
  • Make the spinner using a paper clip, brad and bead.
To Play
  • This game is played with a partner.
  • Place the deck of cards between the players.
  • Each player turns over a card.
  • The players compare their cards for more and less.
  • Each player puts his card on the game board on the correct side—more or less.
  • The player with the less card, spins the spinner.
  • If it lands on more, the player with the more card gets both cards.
  • If it lands on less, the player with the less card gets both cards.
  • Repeat the game by inviting each player to turn over another card.
Add and Compare
  • Here’s another option….
  • Each player turns over two cards and adds them together.
  • Each player places his cards on the more or less side of the card—comparing the sum.
  • The player with less, spins the spinner.
  • If it lands on less, the player with less gets al 4 cards.
  • If it lands on more, the player with more gets all 4 cards.
  • You could also have children turn over 3 cards, add and compare.
Comparing-Place Value 
  • Invite each player to turn over three cards. (You could also play with each player turning over two cards.)
  • The players make a 3 digit number with their cards. (2 digit if they are playing with 2 cards.)
  • The players compare for more and less, placing them on the correct spot on the game board.
  • The player with less spins the spinner.
  • If it lands on less, the player with the lesser number, gets all the cards.
  • If it lands on more, the player with the greater number, gets all the cards.
I also picked up the Christmas Tree cards.
2 decks of cards, 4 game boards----8 kids playing! So….get to Target to pick up your cards and scroll to the bottom to get your boards as a FREE download.
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Friday, November 6, 2015

Differentiated Math Instruction and Assessments

I recently saw this on social media. I’ve seen it before, but every time I see it I am reminded of the challenges of teaching.
“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of who didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job!”  Donald Quinn
Yes, teaching is challenging, but some of the finest people I know are teachers! They look at these challenges with a sense of optimism. They will keep trying all the strategies in their bag of tricks until they find just the right strategy for each learner!
A few years ago my friend Michele and I teamed up to create some activities we could use with our small groups during math. Activities that we could EASILY differentiate and not have to plan different activities for each group!
Children are ever aware that they are doing different activities. We wanted these activities to use the same resources and still be differentiated! Then, they all think they are doing the same thing!!
Let me show you a few of the activities.
In this activity, Dump, Sort and Count…we can easily differentiate just by putting different numbers of pattern blocks in each child’s cup. The children dump out their blocks, sort, and color the recording page. Then, they cut the recording page, sequence the strips by quantity and glue them back down!
Here’s what our plans look like. We script one plan. Then, at the bottom of the plans we write our accommodations that make differentiation easy peasy!
Now, how do we know who is in each group? Who needs 1-5 blocks in their cups and who needs 6-10 in their cups?
We start with the assessment, group our kids, do the activity, then assess again to see the progress. While assessment tells us what the kids accomplished, it also tests the effectiveness of our activity…no improvement—shelf the activity!
Here’s another example…First we did our assessment…the hands game.Slide2
Then, each child plays the game using 3, 4 or 5 bears (depending on the results of the hands game) and records their responses on the recording page.
It’s not like we are doing an assessment for EVERY SINGLE lesson. One assessment helps us determine the grouping for several activities!
In this activity, the kids toss a pompom onto the game board. Then, they put that many pieces on their  frame. Last, they record their results on the recording sheet to show how many more they need to make 3, 4, or 5 depending on the results of the assessment! Same game, just different recording page and different frame.

Last activity! Children spin a spinner, color that many stories on their tower. Then, they determine the number combination!
I love this quote! It reminds me of why we so meticulously think through each lesson, each activity…why we use every second in a way that helps us reach our goal.
We have compiled the assessments for units 1-5 into one unit. You can find a free copy of these assessment by clicking on the cover below.
This assessment pack lists each of the units, the standards, and the assessments you can use for each of the activities.
So how in the world do we keep up with everything!? We use ESGI! Have you heard of it? Want to try it out? You can get a free two month trial by clicking on the image below.
Here’s the cool thing….our math assessments are now on ESGI!!!!
When you click on my name, you will see a screen with each test.
After you administer the test, you can check the bar graph for the class results. But, here’s what’s cool…If you click on the green, you see who already mastered the questions. Click on the gray part, and you see who has not!
You can also see a class spreadsheet. It will show their baseline, then the score they received after teaching and  retesting.
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