Thursday, June 7, 2012

Math Warm-Ups

Do you use math talks? I remember going to a training on them once and just being amazed by how adept the students were at being able to verbalize their process in particularly addition and subtraction. Here, unfortunately, I don't think we spend enough time on the basics. We are being required to introduce things before they really have an understanding of number sense; and as anyone who teaches the primary grades knows, if you don't have a strong foundation in that-you are sunk!

I do them daily as part of our whole-group warm-up. People do different things, but for us it's a matter of looking at math dot cards:


I ask the students to give me a thumbs up when they know the answer. I ask them for not only how many dots, but how they figured that out. They usually start with "I counted them". So that would be 1+1+1.... Did anyone do it a different way. Eventually they start seeing the 2's or 5's in the dots. When they are ready, we move on to addition problems. Give me a thumbs-up when you know the answer-but the answer isn't what I'm looking for. I'm looking for them to verbalize how they got there. With regular practice, they become very adept at composing and decomposing numbers. Hopefully not having to rely on those good old fingers to add it up! I let them do it at the Smartboard as a workstation and I love to hear them describe their processes to each other and the "good job" that follows. :)

A few other math ideas:

Never would have thought of this in a million years-what a way to incorporate objectives into that lego table!

I use these as a whole group activity. I ask the students to hold up theirs if it equals more than 5 or less than 3. It's a quick activity but they have to incorporate that addition and know where the number falls on the number line.

Using real life photographs. I love this site: MSNBC's This Week in Pictures. I use it for my oral language in reading, but also for math.

I love to do a tricky one with the shapes. How many rectangles are there? They will forget to count the tables.

How many people? How many legs? If one person left, how many people are there?

You can go on and on making those real-world connections!

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  1. Wow, these are wonderful ideas!
    Thanks for sharing!


  2. Love the idea of using real photos - thanks for the site link!

    Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

  3. I love your ideas! I have really been trying to get my students to use more "math talk" when they are explaining & answering questions! Thanks for more great ideas!
    Jen's Kinder Kids

  4. Great "real world" ideas! Also, love the Mr. Potato head ideas in your other post! You are right about Marble jars taking too long...I am going to try this next year! Thank you for the great idea!
    I am a new follower.