Addition and Subtraction Fun!

You're probably reading the title of this blog post and thinking
"How much fun can addition and subtraction be?"
My students really enjoyed using hands-on manipulatives and playing games these past couple of weeks to help us learn these important math concepts.
I had the pleasure of visiting another kindergarten teacher in my board last week, Ms. Cicinelli.
Her classroom was absolutely amazing and so inspiring!
I was very intrigued by the concept of her using multiple 10-frames with student pictures inside each box to demonstrate the many ways we can represent numbers and also to aid the students in reading and identifying numbers quickly and easily on a 10-frame.
I love how I can ask a student to tell me what number they are on this 10-frame.  Or I will ask them the opposite:  who is number 12?
Each day I have been mixing up their pictures to add to the excitement!
I thought about creating something similar and extending that idea while introducing addition and subtraction concepts.
When we started learning about addition, I wanted students to understand that you can get MORE when you add numbers together and that the answer is called a sum.
I showed them this fantastic video from Harry Kindergarten.
The children also learned to read addition sentences and worked with double-sided counters on these addition mats.
First, the students count out the number of counters needed and place them in separate circles.
Then they bring them altogether into the bottom green circle to find the answer.
My good friend and former colleague, Ms. Alves, introduced me to these addition mats years ago and I love how visual and simple they are for the students to use.
The students understood the concept of addition very quickly!
We moved on to subtraction last week.  Once again, I began by explaining that when we subtract, we take away, or have LESS.
At first, the concept was a little difficult to understand.
My students are definitely visual learners and absolutely love songs so I found another Harry Kindergarten video to show them on my Bright Links board.
If you haven't heard of Harry Kindergarten you HAVE to check out his catchy and fun songs on You Tube!
We then used the back of the addition mats (which are blank) to solve simple addition sentences.
We will be working some more with 10-frames this week...stay tuned!

Happy (early) Easter!

We are in full Easter mode in our classroom this week!
The children are very interested in reading books and learning why we celebrate this special holiday.
We decided to try a new craft for Easter this year.
My colleague, Ms. Cerbino, showed us an Easter craft she did in the past and we all loved it and knew the children would too.
Best part is....the children did nearly all the work!
Start by laying out strips of lasagna pasta on a baking sheet.
I mixed up a variety of pastel colours of paint.
The students came to the Creative Table all day long and painted the pasta strips.  We had a nice variety by the end of the day!
They helped to add sparkles on top too.
The next day, once the pasta is dry, have the students break it into small pieces and place in a large container.
Each student got a cross made from white Bristol board.  They had to carefully glue the small pieces in place, forming a mosaic. 
All the students worked very hard on their art pieces and they all came out lovely!
I can't wait for tomorrow to continue our discussion around Easter...and who knows?  Maybe there will be a special delivery in our classroom from the Easter Bunny too!
I just had to post this picture I took with the amazing teacher-blogger, Kathy Griffin.
Kathy came to Toronto last week to present at the SDE conference.
I had the opportunity to meet her for dinner.  It was so nice spending the evening with another teacher who shares my passion for play-based kindergarten.
If you haven't visited Kathy's blog yet, you really should!
She has lots of amazing ideas!  You can click here to take you to Kathy's blog.


Our Seed Inquiry

Nearly two weeks ago, a student came up to me and asked "Why is this plant growing all over the place?  I think a pear will grow out of it!"
This sparked a new inquiry in our classroom.
We decided to investigate why the plant was growing so much and what kinds of things could grow from it.
The next day I set out some soil, baby food jars and brought in a variety of seed packets.
I asked the students what they thought they were.
We had all kinds of answers!
F.V.: I think these are magical seeds.  They will grow and grow!
M.P.: These seeds are going to grow all kinds of things!  Maybe we can eat some of them!
S.P.: Maybe we can have a vegetable garden in our classroom!
So we set to work.
Some students decided to examine the seeds in great detail:  touching them and even smelling them!
Other students wanted to get right to work planting them in soil in baby food jars.
The students wanted to label the jars so we could remember which seed was inside.  We have been working on labeling our pictures for the past few months so the students knew that was important to include.  They also decided to put a picture of what was growing beside the word so that all students could read the label.
An ECE from the another class, Ms. Bruni, came into our room and asked the students if they had even grown anything from a plastic bag and paper towel.  The students all replied "NO!" and didn't think anything would grow that way.
So we decided to give that a try to and we charted our wonderings as to what would happen when we planted two different ways.
Pretty soon our Discovery Centre started filling up with inquiring minds.
The students decided to set up a display near the window so the seeds could get ample sunlight and everyone would be able to document what was happening to them each day.
When the students came to school the next day, I set out a provocation for them.
In small containers, I put a variety of bean seeds, which were all different shapes and colours.
We read the book One Bean by Anne Rockwell and discussed how the seed grew. 
We also talked about the variety of beans we eat.
I was so delighted to see the students exploring this provocation at our Creative Centre.  Some students decided to use a pencil to draw their picture first and then glue the seeds on top.
The results were incredible!
M.D.: These are lots of trees.
L.P.:  This is a cupcake.
F.V.: This is a happy face with flowers around it.
S.C.: This is how tall the bean seed will grow...up to the sky!
The students are continuing to document what is happening at our Discovery Centre each day.  When we came in on Thursday, we noticed that our pea seed in soil had sprouted quite a bit!
I can't wait to see where this is going to take us next!