Today, I am going to give you a peek into our math block! We have a 60-minute math block. Our math block includes calendar time, mental math/math review, whole group, small groups, and centers! We do have a required math curriculum that we are required to use but we supplement heavily with our Math It Up! resources.
Starting Math Block With Calendar Time
Our math block kicks off with our calendar time. The calendar time is led by our Boss Of The day. Our calendar is interactive and engages all students. The Boss Of The Day fills in the calendar on our smart board while the rest of the class provides the information. We include the date, digital date, and days of the week. Then we do a number of the day which includes a ten frame, even and odd, how many, tally marks, greater than/less than, counting on, and counting back. Place value is included by using place value blocks or base ten blocks to count the days in school. This routine covers a number of standards and lasts 10 minutes or less.
Here is a video of our calendar routine:
Our calendar creations are available here:
Next is mental math. Mental math is a quick,2-3 minute mental math activity. In kindergarten, mental math sometimes uses fingers because research says our kids NEED to be using their fingers! It gives them a necessary tactile experience as well as making connections in the brain.
Some of our mental math activities are:
count on-start at a number and counting to a number
greater than/less than-I give students a number and they give me a number that is greater than and less than the number
counting-count to 5, 10, 20
add-add two numbers to 5 or 10
subtract-hold up 4 fingers. take away 2. How many are left?
ten frames and subitizing-show students a ten-frame card or dot card and they identify the number. We also have subitizing videos that the kids love! There are two versions of the videos: a slow version and a fast version!
For more subitizing videos and cards just go to the search on this page and type in subitizing!
Following mental math is a math review. This is where we review any previously taught concept or skill quickly. This can be numbers, shapes, counting, adding, subtracting, coins, etc.
For numbers, coins, and shapes, use a PowerPoint to review! We click through the PowerPoint quickly reviewing numbers or shapes. This lasts about 2-3 minutes.
Click the pictures to download the PowerPoint
After our math review, we move to our mini-lesson. This is usually done with whole group lessons and lasts 10-15 minutes, depending on the skill. The math block mini-lesson is where we introduce new skills and practice those skills. This is also when we build on previously taught skills. The math mini-lesson follows the I Do-We Do-You Do model because this is what research shows to be the most effective math instruction. We also include a great deal of conversation and discussion as part of our math lessons.
But, you don’t have to do a whole group mini-lesson every day. If you’ve done some mini-lessons on the skill then it’s ok to pull students who need extra help and work with them while the students who are mastering the skill do independent work. Don’t do whole group lessons just to do them. Use that time as an opportunity to target and differentiate instruction.
After the concept lesson, students can go to centers.
During this small group time, we work on the same skill as the whole group but in a small group setting so we can provide more support and hands-on practice.
During small groups, we also work on the skill from the mini-lesson. For my students who need extra help, we might work on independent work together or do a new activity to practice the skill. It’s ok to use the same lesson/materials in small groups because you’re providing much more intensive support and practice!