Subitizing Activities for Number Sense

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We all know how important number sense is. It’s the foundation of every other math skill! That’s why I LOVE subitizing activities so much – they help students start to see numbers is new ways and to begin seeing the connections between numbers.

Especially in kindergarten, I like to make subitizing a part of our daily routine, no matter what level my students are at. These are some of my favorite activities to do whole group, in small groups, and as centers!

Quick Look Cards:

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In my class, we do number talks every day. I choose a different set of quick look cards each day. Sometimes we just work on fluency and identifying the number shown, and sometimes we talk about how they see each number, different ways to make the number, how many more is needed to make 10, etc.

Every Friday we do a longer math talk. This is when I show my students one of the subitizing cards (as the year goes on, I make the amount of time they have to look shorter) and I have them think about the number they see. Then i’ll have students talk about the different ways they saw the number – “I saw 3 dots and 4 dots and that is 7” or “I saw 2 empty spaces on the ten frame so I knew it was 8.”

These subitizing quick look cards are included in all of my math units because I think they’re that important!

 

Subitizing Games:

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In this game, students will roll a die. You can use a number die or a dot die (I prefer number dice for this, but I didn’t have one available!). Students will roll the die and cover that space with their counter.

This game is a freebie here.

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In this game, students will draw a domino card and cover the matching number with their counter. This game is also a freebie, and I have included a 0-6 and a 0-12 version.

Subitizing Strips:

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In this activity, students will match subitizing pictures to each number strip. You can focus on all numbers 1-10 or on only a few numbers at a time.

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In this activity, students will match number cards to subitizing pictures. This will require them to work with multiple numbers at a time.

You can find both of these activities here.

 I hope you enjoyed these fun subitizing activities and that you’ll consider building some of them in to your math class next year!

Number Bonds for Number Sense

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Honestly, there was a time when I hated number bonds because I didn’t understand them or how to make students understand them. Obviously, I don’t feel that way anymore!

Now I LOVE number bonds because they are such an easy way to expand students’ number sense and help them decompose numbers. This is one of those skills that I cover multiple times a year and build on as our math experience grows.

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This is the anchor chart that I used to introduce number bonds. I also have the exact same thing in a SMART board file so we can practice number bonds digitally.

I did not have the addition and subtraction problems on there the first time I introduced number bonds! Like I said, we revisit this skill multiple times throughout the year, so once I had introduced addition and subtraction, I went back and showed my students how they can turn a number bond into an addition or subtraction problem.

If you want anchor charts you can print off or display on a screen, you can grab them free by clicking on the pictures:

 

This is also when I introduced Turn-Around Facts, which I will show you later on in this post!

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When i’m introducing number bonds, I like to use different manipulatives as the parts to keep engagement high. They are also easy to move back and forth from the parts to the whole, so students can really see how the parts make up the whole.

Besides counting bears, I like to use playdough, mini-erasers, counting chips, and little toys I get from Dollar Tree. Basically anything to make it feel new and exciting!

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Having student physically swap out one manipulative for another and changing the parts is an easy, concrete way to show them that there are different ways to decompose a number.

You can get this mat as a freebie by clicking on the picture:

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Once we begin addition, we will use this mat to come up with all the different ways we can add to get a certain number:

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Another great way to practice making number bonds is with dice:

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Just roll 2 dice for the parts and count the dots for the whole. I like to have my students color-code just to reinforce that the dice are making the parts.

You can get this recording sheet as a freebie by clicking on the picture:

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I also like to use dominoes:

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These are what I use when I introduce Turn-Around Facts:

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It’s super easy to turn the domino around and show that the parts may change places, but they still make the same whole!

Do you have any great ideas for teaching number bonds? I’d love to hear about them!

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Organizing for Guided Reading & Guided Math

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If there is one place I am organized (the only place I am organized), it is at my small group table. What happens at this table is so important, and it happens SO fast, that I find I need to be as efficient as possible.

Keep in mind, this is what works for me and its taken me 4 years to figure out exactly what did and did not work. Hopefully you can use some of these ideas, but if something doesn’t work for you – find something that will!

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Ignore the mess in the background! It’s proof that i’m human. 😉 This is how my table is set up each day. I’m supposed to be able to fit 6 at my table, but I can only fit 5 right now and i’ll show you why in a minute. I prefer to have 5 or less in my groups if possible (We share kids between classrooms to try to make this doable).

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This set of drawers is where my 6th chair would be and without them I would be lost. I keep my alphabet charts, sound boxes, and analogy charts on top in dry erase pockets.

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In the small top drawer, I keep my magnetic letter trays. I used to keep these out, but I found that letters would mysteriously “walk away.” 😉

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In the middle drawer, I keep things I need for guided reading. I keep my pencil trays with dry erase markers, erasers, pencils, and highlighters in them and I keep one tray to the side filled with extras just in case. I also keep small sentence strips from the dollar spot in here.

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In the bottom drawer, I keep my items for guided math. Most of my manipulatives are kept in separate tubs, but I keep things I bought myself in here. I have counting bears, 50 & 100-charts to practice counting, magnetic ten frames, and playdough.

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I also keep this 10-drawer cart over here because you can never have enough drawers. On the top is a “junk drawer basket.” I keep random things like sticky notes, scissors, and glue in there and I also throw in anything students bring up to me during guided reading.

The top 5 drawers are for each of my guided reading groups.

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In each drawer I keep a folder with any printables I need. For example, my Pre-A drawer has all the letter pages we will be doing from my Letter ID Intervention pack. In my Pre-A drawer, I also keep a pile of magnetic letters to match to alphabet charts.

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I also keep each groups’ writing journals in here so that I don’t have to sort through one big pile. These were just blank journals I found in a cabinet. If it’s day 1, I keep their books in here too. After that they go in their book boxes.

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This binder is my LIFE. Seriously. It was originally just for guided reading, but I recently made the back half for guided math. In the very front I keep my schedule and the interventionist’s schedule side-by-side, but I won’t show you that for privacy purposes.

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I have a tab for each group. In each tab, I keep a chart with what letters/sounds they know, what sight words they can write, and then all my lesson plans. I switch kids around quite a bit, so I just change out the charts as needed. We use Jan Richardson’s lesson plans (which I seriously love and suggest you check out), so I don’t have anything fancy to show you there.

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After that, I have my math intervention groups tabbed by what skill they need to work on. I just write the students on the front with a vis-à-vis and I can easily erase/add as needed. I also put the day of the week I aim to meet with that group on the bottom.

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After that, I have all my regular guided math groups. Again, I write their names on the tab cover. I can only meet with 1-2 of these groups a day unfortunately.

Hopefully some of these ideas were useful to you!  I will have blog posts up soon about how I organize and teach each reading level in kindergarten – from Pre-A all the way to Transitional!

Gus the Plus & Linus the Minus

OH my goodness! Can you say long time no blog??  All I can say is it has been a crazy semester. But I’m back and ready to roll!

If you’ve been teaching for a while, or even if you haven’t, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Gus the Plus and Linus the Minus before. After all, they’re one of the cutest ways to help your students remember the plus and minus signs!

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We’ve spent the last few weeks becoming familiar with addition and subtraction and I feel like its *clicked* with most of my students.

That said, I feel like one of the hardest things for my students every year is being able to switch back and forth easily. They want to do just addition or just subtraction, and they tend to not pay any attention to the signs.

That’s where the idea of this craftivity was born! First, I introduced Gus & Linus. Then, we did a sort whole class. Yes, it looks rough but I literally had the spark of inspiration for this activity and prepped it all in my 20 minute lunch!

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Then, I walked my students through the steps of creating Gus & Linus and sorting the problems themselves. I chose to have already solved problems for them to sort because I wanted them to JUST focus on the sign, but if you choose to do this, I included a version where students can solve the problems too!

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They all ended up so unique and adorable! We will definitely require much more practice with mixed facts, but I LOVED introducing it this way.

This activity is FREE here. Just click the picture or click here to download:

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