Sunday, October 26, 2014

Comparing & Ordering Numbers: Least, Greatest, and In Between

Math is one of my favorite subjects to teach. It's not easy, but I have come across so many fun ways for my students to practice many different skills. There are manipulatives, games, online videos... you name it, I've probably done it. Browsing Pinterest for any upcoming skill, while a enjoying a cup of coffee on Saturday mornings, is my favorite past time. You can really find some great stuff out there that amazing teachers have already thought of, carried out with successful results, and shared with the rest of the world. THANK YOU to them!

One of my successful implementations this month was having my first graders order numbers. During calendar math I quickly learned that many of my students didn't know the vocabulary (common, right?) of less than, greater than, between, before, and after. I would call out a number on the calendar and ask for a number using the terms. The poor little kiddos were so confused. I tried working with them and finding the numbers all together. They seemed to follow me. Then, I tried having them work together with a partner. They seemed to understand. I went back to having volunteers find the numbers independently, and it all fell apart. I knew it was time for an intervention.

In my school, we have a great Parent/Teacher resource room. It is funded by Title 1 and has a lot of useful resources to be shared among the teachers, and for parents to borrow from. In it, I came across a 0-30 Number Line Floor Mat. You can get it from Really Good Stuff here:

I began by choosing a student to stand on the number line. I then chose another student to stand on a number before or after. Once everyone had a turn, we added a third student to stand on a number between. They had to use a sentence to tell their spot on the number line. For example, I am standing before the number 11; I am standing after the number 11; I am standing between the numbers 10 and 12. We practiced this many times before I felt comfortable that they truly understood.

The next day, we pulled out these slide and learn number lines:


We reviewed the terms from the day before and then practiced giving clues and finding numbers with a partner. It was a great informal assessment that allowed me to listen and take note of who knew the terms and used them correctly and who was able to understand the terms to find numbers. It also allowed for application since they had to make the clues themselves.

Since everyone already had a number line in their hands, we moved onto the vocabulary of less than and greater than. We connected the term before to less than and after to greater than. The students turned back to their partners and gave new clues using the new words they just learned. It was success!

In anticipation that my kiddos would finally grasp this concept, I had some pumpkins ready with numbers 1-20 written on them. I randomly passed out the pumpkins and called students 3 at a time to make groups. Their task was to put themselves in order from least to greatest. The groups then had to use the vocabulary to tell about their arrangement.
Finally, to wrap up this lesson, they went back to their seats and made three numbers using connecting cubes. They had to put their numbers in order and explain their ordering as I walked around.
This final application and assessment really brought everything together. These kiddos are no longer confused about less thangreater thanbetweenbefore, and after. And.... I was even told it was fun! Bonus!

Best Wishes!

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