Sorting and Patterning – Math right now
Like most Grade 1 teachers I start my year off with some numeration review and then jump into sorting and patterning for my first unit. This year I am devoting 1 day each week to continue the focus on number sense and the other 4 on the strand we are studying.
This week we spent a lot of time sorting – sorting all kinds of things to keep the kids engaged and interested. This skill comes easy for most. I am always interested in hearing them explain how they sorted something. Where they often get confused is choosing 1 attribute to sort by, so lots of practice is still necessary. A good example of this is a collection of animals sorted in groups of eats meat, sleeps in a house, flies, has stripes, instead of picking an attribute for all - what they eat, where they live, what they can do, what they look like and sorting by 1 attribute.
We started our week by sorting our reading buddy stuffed animals. I chose a sorting rule and they guessed my rule and then added animals to each group. Next, students took turns suggesting ways to sort and then sorted the animals. Any time they can get their hands on the stuffed animals they are hooked.
We moved from the animals to buttons. Everyone has a button collection and this is the perfect time to use them. They came up with lots of interesting ways to sort on their own collection and then combined their buttons with a partner and then worked together on a new way to sort. Next we got to take a look at everyone’s sorting. We do this by doing a “gallery walk” around the room. We pretend we are in a “math museum” and walk around with our hands behind our back and look at everyone’s work. This is very tricky because it is so tempting to touch EVERYTHING! They also had to try to find someone who sorted their buttons in the same way as them. This helped to keep most of the kids focused.
Our final day of sorting was the “best” yet, according to the kids. We reviewed our math terms in our star chart and then we sorted our classroom toys. I pulled out bins of lego, knex, blocks, shapes, animals and beads. With a partner, they figured out different ways to sort their items and quickly discovered there were lots of things that “didn’t belong” in each of the toy bins. This led to a great discussion of why it is important to sort things out and put them in their proper place. We ended today with an assessment of their ability to sort. Everyone had a collection of animal pictures that they coloured, cut and sorted according to whatever attribute they choose. There were a lot of great ideas.
Monday we will be starting into patterning and I am excited to use my brand new centers with the students. They have already explored with the pattern blocks a fair bit so I know they will enjoy using them with the pattern block centres. In my patterning package there are also 2 different read and write the room activities. The kids loved them the first time we did one so I am sure they will be happy to break out the clipboards and do it again. I will post some pictures of it in action next week.
I am also going to start some problem solving with them this week. I am working on a new product for problem solving in early primary. I won't lie - I often struggle to find questions that grade 1 students can assess and solve that are open ended enough but are also appropriately scaffolded. A tough task to be sure. My "Colour and Solve" are designed to give the students a starting point but they still need to read the question and figure out what to do to solve the problem. Click below for a freebie from this package. I have not posted the full product as it is still a work in progress. I would love to hear what you think about using these in early primary.
What are you teaching in Math right now?