# Math and Penguins

Today we will listen to the story Penguins Love Colors by Sarah Aspinall. In this story 6 penguins, named after 6 different color plants, work together to paint a colorful picture for their mom.

Today, let’s do some math! I am going to show you a few different adaptations of this activity. Your child will need, 2 dice, a sheet of paper, a pencil, counters (goldfish crackers would work perfect and go with the penguin theme).

On the sheet of paper draw out two ten frames on the top half of the sheet and on the bottom, create three columns.

Now have your child roll the dice. They will use the counters to show the total in the ten frame at the top. If your child struggles to see how to do this, using two different color dice AND counters that match the dice colors often helps to see this process. Remember that they are NOT putting the amount of one dice in the top ten frame and the amount of the second in the bottom. The goal is to see the addition of the two numbers together. In my picture I rolled a 5 and a 6. So I have the top ten frame filled in completely and the bottom only has 1.

Next your child will record the number sentence into the columns at the bottom. Was the total less than 6, exactly 6 or more than 6? You do not need to work on saying 4 plus 1 equals 5. You could have your child state 4 and 1 more makes 5. This way of stating the fact actually matches math thinking more and will help with the understanding of addition.

Ok… so my kid just doesn’t get it… now what? First, you might need to do the steps of this activity with them a few (like 3 or 4) times before they even begin to see the steps. You can break this down and do just the top, or just the bottom. OR, you can start with on die and do the whole thing but change the bottom to less than 3, exactly 3 and more than 3.

Now… let me tell you this is a LOTTTT of math thinking. Your child needs to recognize the number on the dice. They need to transfer this information into filling in the ten frame… oh and do it with two different numbers. Now they need to count and determine the new number made. Ok… THEN they need to figure out if this new number is less than, greater than or the same as the number 6. Oh and don’t forget you then need to record the result. Just a few steps. Just a bit of math thinking and learning.

This is a simple activity that can be adapted easily and played often. The more you play games such as this, the more your child will understand the concept of putting numbers together AND comparing numbers. You can also use dominoes, playing cards or number cards you make on index cards or sheets of paper.

# Pumpkin Bump Game

This week we will be looking at pumpkins! Who doesn’t like to learn about pumpkins? Here is a fun pumpkin story to listen to: Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White. What would you do if you had too many pumpkins? Well listen to what Rebecca Estelle does with all the pumpkins she finds!

Today you are getting two stories… How Many Seeds in Pumpkin by Margaret McNamara. The children in Mr. Tiffin’s class learn about estimating, sizes, counting and more by counting the seeds in three different sized pumpkins.

Time for some pumpkin math! I encourage you to do some math/investigations with real pumpkins at home.

• How much does your pumpkin weight? How much does it weigh after you take out the seeds and the pulp? After you carved it?
• How many lines are on your pumpkin?
• How tall is it?
• What is the circumference of your pumpkin?
• How many seeds are inside?
• Will it sink or float? Does it sink or float after you took out the seeds and pulp?

Now lets play a game!

Bump is a fun dice game to play with kids. I will teach you how to play and then share how to easily alter the game to work on different skills.

I will show you the simplest version first. Create a gameboard, I drew pumpkins (sad looking pumpkins I admit!) for mine. On the gameboard write the numbers 1-6 since we will only use one die for this version. Each player needs 10 counters, transparent counters work best, but aren’t necessary.

Directions:

• roll the die
• put your marker on that number
• next player rolls and they put their piece on that number
• if you roll a number that the other player is covering, you can bump them off that space
• if you roll a number that you are already covering you can double cover and lock the space.
• First person to use all 10 counters wins!

Easy and Fun!

Variations on the game:

use two dice and add them together

use one die and have the children add one (I would write _____ +1= on the board and have the children put the die in the blank space to remember to add one

double roll one die but cover it’s double (roll 2 but cover 4, roll 3 but cover 6)

use three dice

older kids you can use the dice to multiply or practice place value… so many options!!

# Syllables Counting Game

Recognizing and breaking down words into syllables is one of the important phonemic awareness skills that children need to develop in the process of learning to read.

Syllables are the “beats” you hear in words. We typically teach this to students by having them clap as they hear the syllables. For example the word head only has one syllable and the word alligator has 4 al-li-ga-tor.

Today I posted in my Teachers Pay Teachers store a board game to practice this skill. In the kit, you will find: a game board, picture cards and the rules. The children pick a picture card. They say the word that corresponds with the picture, then determine how many syllables in the word. The child then moves forward that many spaces on the board.

This can be used at home as easily as in a classroom setting!

# Phonemic Awareness Thursday- I spy

To continue with our get out into the backyard theme this week, I will show you a few ways to play with words while you are outside. When we play with words, it helps children develop their phonemic awareness skills. These activities are totally oral, so you do not need anything but the ability to speak and hear.

Play I-spy (pick one of these skills to work on at a time. If you mix them up, you will confuse your child. When his/her phonemic skills are strong (ready to read) then you can mix them up a bit more)

I spy something that begins with the sound /g/- grass, green, groundhog (beginning sound practice)

I spy something that ends with the sound /d/- bird, seed (ending sound practice)

I spy something that rhymes with tie- fly, sky (rhyming words)

I spy a /c/ /a/ /t/ (blending phonemes)

I spy a /c/ /at/ (blending onset and rime)

# word work Wednesday- lowercase letter practice

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I strongly believe in the importance of children recognizing, writing and matching the sound to lowercase letters. You can read about this here. Playing games with the alphabet makes it more enjoyable and helps your child build fluency.

Children need to be able to quickly recognize the letter by name and sound. Just as later on it is important for children to master sight words, phonemic blending and vocabulary in order to read fluently, they also need to master letter recognition and phoneme matching. So, this means keep playing games with those letters until your child is able to confidently and quickly name the letter and the sound it makes!

Here are a few fun games.

This first game can be played indoors or out…

It’s raining letters!

Create a collection of letters (magnetic letters, letter cards, flash cards, post it notes… doesn’t matter). Put all the letters in a bunch, when I play this in the classroom we use magnetic letter and I put them on a plate. Now toss all the letters up into the air and let them fall down. Now find the letters. In the classroom we do this by having each child pick a few and then we put the letters into alphabetical order. At home, you could call out a letter name and have your child go find that letter. If you have multiple children, or are playing yourself, you could have the children find as many letters as they can, but they can only keep the letter if they know the letter’s name.

Chalk Alphabet Fun

Want to get outside and use some chalk? This is a great medium to practice letter writing. Have your child write his/her name. Pick 3-5 letters and have him/her write the capital and lowercase letters. Play hopscotch, but put letters instead of numbers. Create an alphabet caterpillar. So many fun ways to play with letter writing and chalk

If you do not want the letters to sat on your walk… play another game. Give your child a paint brush and water, a hose or even a squirt gun. Ok now tell them a letter and have them squirt the letter until it is gone!

Here is one more fun outside alphabet activity. Have your child recreate the letters using natural object. They could use rocks, sticks, grass, or any other items they find outside. This is part of loose parts learning. In the loose parts learning philosophy, you provide children with bits of this and that and let them create their own expression. This can be done with natural items, Lego blocks, bottle caps, pipe cleaners, or any other item that can be used in a variety of ways. Loose parts is open ended and allows your child to use their imagination to show what they know.

And just in case you are stuck inside with rain or need your child to plug in for a bit… here is a fun bubble alphabet game. https://www.ictgames.com/phonicsPop/index.html

# Phonemic Awareness Thursday- Rhyming

I have found over the years that rhyming is a lot harder for children to understand than you would expect. I can give you a few theories I have, but remember they are just my thoughts!

First, often times children listen to the first sound of a word and then make assumptions of the word based on context or background knowledge. This is very evident when children begin reading. They will look at the first letter and then just guess a word with that beginning sound.

Also, children are typically better at picking out two words that rhyme than coming up with words on their own. Again… children see/hear words based on the first sound and with rhymes you need to hear the rime of the word not the onset. They also have to have the word sense and vocabulary to pull words out of their memory.

There are lots of ways to play with rhymes and they are all important! When working with rhyme, I usually start with poems, song and stories that have many rhymes. Songs and poems can be memorized and then adapted. This is why children enjoy nursery rhymes and songs such as Down by the Bay by Raffi.

There are many online rhyming games, such as these games on PBS Kids. But you can also make your own rhyming games at home.

Play I spy with rhymes. I spy something that rhymes with head– bed, red. something that rhymes with hair– chair, pear. etc…

Sing head shoulders knees and toes, but put in words that rhyme with the body parts instead

red, boulders, trees and rose

skies and years and south and does

keys and snows

Make it fun! Play games with rhymes all the time. They will get it… it will click. Have fun

# Monday Math- Frog jump addition

There are many different concepts that are taught in the early years to help set children up to master addition. We teach addition concepts without using the words addition, adding or even plus. Children at this age understand the concept of putting together. They understand AND. They do not need to, but often do, master addition facts and enjoy these concepts.

Here are a few games that you can play to work on early addition skills.

Frog jump on a number line-

materials: ruler/yard stick, die (dice), and a frog

Have your frog start off the end of your ruler. Roll the die and have your frog jump up that many spaces. 0 And 3 more puts your frog on 3. Roll again 3 and 4 more jumps lands your frog on 7. (this is the concept of adding on a number line).

So, here is the big thing I want you to work on with this skill…. the most important skill at this age, have your child count on from their start point. Children at this stage of math development struggle with counting if the do not start at 1 each time. They need to work at a skill called counting on. So with the second example, they would say 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. If they are struggling to count jumps and count at the same time, put a piece of paper or other writing device (white board would be great as it can be used over and over) under the ruler. Draw out the jumps, but don’t move the frog. Now, have your child count on as he/she moves the frog forward.

Frog and Flies

Materials- paper, marker, something to be frogs and flies, 2 dice (two different colors would work best)

Draw a 2 x 6 grid on a sheet of paper.

Have your child roll the dice. Once die will represent frogs and the other one flies.

Have your child add the frogs and flies to the grid based on the number they roll. 2 frogs and 4 flies makes 6. You can easily flip this and compare to see more and less. I have 2 frogs and 4 flies, so I have 2 more flies than frogs.

This game works on a few skills. First it works on one-to-one correspondence. Putting one frog/fly for each number on the dice, then putting them into one box at a time…. AND comparing based on the columns are all levels of one-to-one correspondence.

Remember these are introductory skills and are not expected to be mastered, but played with and experienced

# Phonemic Awareness Thursday– stretching sounds/ The Talking Ghost

Many children struggle with combining sounds they hear out loud, but this is a key skill in sounding them out on their own. Here is another fun way to practice what they need to do to stretch and blend phonemes!

Have your child draw and cut out a ghost!

Practice talking like a ghost first. Hhhhheelllloooo mmmmyyyyy ffffrrrriiiieeennnddd! Remember to just stretch it out the way you say it out loud. Once your child gets good at ghost talk, you can begin a fun game.

This is an I say, you say game. You will say a word with the sounds in isolation (/d/ /o/ /g/) and then your child will say the same word like a ghost ddddoooogggg. Have them move their ghost from left to right as they say the sounds aloud, so the ghost moves with the sounds. After they stretch out the word, have your child say the word fast.

Here’s another example

• you: /h/ /ou/ /s/
• child: hhhhhoooouuuuusssssseeeee — HOUSE!

Continue with familiar words. Want to switch it up? you stretch out the word and have your child say the individual phomemes they hear (switch roles)

you: ssssshhhhhiiiiirrrrrrtttttt

child: /sh/ /ir/ /t/ –SHIRT!

# Wednesday Word Work- alphabet review

I figured we had not done any letter identification practice in a bit. I’m going to show you a few games that can be quickly altered to make it more enjoyable for your child, and hopefully you! I hope you are going back and visiting the letter game I showed you here.

Children love to use highlighters, bingo daubers, markers and pens when they practice letters. You would be shocked at how just changing the medium they are using will motivate them to practice writing and recognizing letters.

The first game is a roll and write. I am sharing it with the letters c, o, a, d, g, and q filled in, but you can change out the letter to any letter you want to practice. Have your child roll the die and then write the letter in the column above the number the rolls. In this example, if they roll a 2 they say “o” and practice writing the letter “o” above the number 2 die/letter “o”.

The reason I choose c, o, a, d, g, q is when you start writing them correctly they all begin by writing a “c”. The next set of letters I teach are i, t, l, b, k, h, p (all start with a straight line down) r, n, m (all go down, up, curve) v, w, y, z (all have slanted lines) e, u, s, f, j (each unique letters…. to write the lowercase e which is tough for them teach them to go over and then make a c).

The next game is a letter hunt game. This game can be made by writing letters at random on a piece of paper, printing out a sheet, letting your child search through a magazine OR using a word search to find the letters.

There are a few ways to play this game. Provide your child a set of letters that match the letters they are searching for and have them find the match on the sheet. (Have your child circle, cover, highlight or other ways to mark the letters already found/matched)

Provide them with the capital letter and have them find the lowercase that matches it on the sheet.

Say the letter name and/or sound aloud for your child and have him/her find the letter on the sheet.

Say a word and have your child find the beginning sound (want to make it harder? have them find the ending sound instead)

Provide a stack of pictures and they say the word and then find the beginning sound.

See… lots of ways to switch it up and help challenge your child with one simple sheet of paper.

# Monday Math– game boards

Games are a great way to work on many different learning skills with children. I love when I can get a lot of learning in and they don’t see it as learning, just as having fun. Today I created a simple game board. I made it in the shape of a snail since we are learning about pond ecosystems this week and the shape of a snail lends itself easily into a game board shape.

I find that children who do not play games at home struggle to count on a game board. They want to count the space they are on as 1 and then the space in front of them as two. If you did this, then every time you roll a 1 you go no where. When I teach children to count on a game board, we start with 0. Zero is the spot you are standing on and 1 is the spot in front of you. This does two things… it gets you to understand how to count on a game board, AND it reinforces counting from zero instead of one.

Here are a few simple ways to use the board to practice math skills.

Simple Version

Start at the snails head. Roll a die on your turn and then move forward that many spaces. The first person to get to the inside of the shell, the finish spot, wins. As we say in class… easy peasy! This skill works on counting forward 0-6, recognizing the common dice configuration of the numbers 1-6, taking turns and playing a game.

Skill based

Create cards that your child can use to practice a skill. I created counting cards with items you would find in a pond ecosystem. The child would draw a card and count the number of items on the card. If he/she gets it correct they then move forward that many spaces. This allows you to practice counting items beyond 6, work on varied configurations of counted objects and much more. If you want to work on numbers higher than 10 you could have the child count the number of items on the card and then if they get it correct roll the die and move according to that so you don’t move through the game too quickly.

This same game board can be used for any number of skills. Practice letter recognition, matching shapes, and any skill you want. Create game pieces that show the skill you wish to work on and then move around the board as you get the answers correct. You can even do it with various level children by creating different skill cards for each child. So a 3 year old might work on recognizing shapes and colors, a 5 year old might work on counting items from 6-12 and a 7 year old might work on addition facts. This way they are all working on skills they need to practice, can play the same game and have an equal chance of getting the answers correct.