Building Number Sense





It's so important to build number sense. The best way to do this is through daily routines.

Here are some examples:
Counting collections  

This is where kids are given large groups of items and they count them.  You see their number sense developing more and more deeply.  If you want a more detailed description, visit this blog post

Choral Counting 

Here is an example.
3   6   9   12   15   18   21   24   27   30
33 36 39  42  45    48   51  54   57  60 
63 66 69  72  75    78   81  84   87   90

Start at the 3.  Have kids count chorally.  Chart them.  What patterns do you see?  If that is the count thirty times,  what number would be the 36th?  What patterns do you see diagonally?  Vertically?

Do this with many different numbers.  Start at different points.  Try this with time, decimals, and fractions.  The sky is the limit!

True/False sentences 

Chart this:   26 = 14 + 13
Is this sentence true or false.  This is a mental exercise.  Use hand signals to indicate true, false or still thinking.  Have kids explain their thinking whether it is right or wrong.  Then put up another related problem.  Maybe, 
26= 14 + 12 or 14 + 14 = 26.

Mystery Numbers 

What number is odd?  Is the same two digits?  Is a multiple of 3?   33!  That's how mystery numbers works.

How many ways? 

Think of a number.  For example: How many ways can you make 106?  Think addition, subtraction, multiplication or division problems.  Can be place value blocks, money etc..

Here are just some of the things you can do to get started on number sense.  If you need a little help, try my CGI Math Number talks package!



How to close read a novel with your whole class

How to close read a novel 

with your whole class

Choose wisely
Start with a great novel with a topic that your kids are interested in. If you want to build empathy, try reading Wonder, Rain, Reign or A Fish in a Tree.   
Are your kids excited about learning about WW2? 
Try reading The Cay.  
Do you want your Latino students to relate?  
Try reading Tequila Worm or Esperanza Rising.  
Animal lovers?  Read The One and Only Ivan.  
Do you want to talk about the refugee crisis? 
Read aloud Inside Out and Back Again.
How about building an appreciation for the classics?  Read Alice in Wonderland. 
How many do I need?
A class set is preferable but it's not necessary.  
Ten would be fine and kids can share.  Or buy ebooks and have kids read them on digital devices. 

Read together
Bring your kids together on the rug to read.  I
t's a great way to build community.  
I have pillows and kids are allowed to lay down or sit. 

Read with passion
 Read with passion!  If you're bored, so are they.
Read it loud and powerfully.  Make the kids feel the anger, the sadness, the intensity the author intended.

Pivotal Parts only
Close reading happens about once a week.  
You do not want to do more than that.  
Let the kids have a love of the literature. 
As for the close reading, 
after we've read a pivotal part of the book, 
I have the kids close read a small part.  
We read it aloud together.  
Then they discuss it with a peer before they annotate.
 Make sure your focus question is meaty 
and makes the kids think.  
I like to copy the text on the left 
and have kids annotate on the right.  
Do the first ones together so they understand what a 
good close reading of the text looks like.  
They need to see good ideas clearly supported with text evidence.

This is what my rubric looks like for scoring:
Rubric for Close Reading
Score Analysis
·     plenty of annotations
·     focus question is answered clearly
·     Ideas are supported with textual evidence
·     important style elements marked:
diction, imagery, structure, figurative
·     thoughtful/shows effort
·     annotations are present
·     Ideas are there but connections to textual evidence are fuzzy
·     style elements marked: may be incomplete
·     focus question response may be limited
·     Unfinished
·     Ideas are limited and literal; no in depth thinking
·     Focus question response may be off the mark
·     Most of it is unfinished
·     Focus question response is not done or incomplete

I hope this was helpful.   
Do you need more help?  
Check out my close reading guides!  
I've already chosen the most pivotal parts 
and created the focus questions.  
 It's all done for you to make it easy 
to get deep with the literature. 


Check out these cool blog posts!
An InLinkz Link-up


Reading Strategies

Reading Strategies

If you're an elementary teacher, then you are teaching reading strategies.

It's super important to be explicit and clear.  You have to provide kids with a toolbox of strategies to help them navigate their reading.  Stephanie Harvey is amazing and knows all things literacy.  Her book Strategies that Work has been a cornerstone for me.

We all know Reading is thinking.  Kids need to interact with the text.  The strategies are: Activating and connecting to background knowledge, determining importance, "fix up" strategies, inferring and visualizing meaning, monitoring comprehension, asking questions and synthesizing and summarizing.  

Here is one of the anchor charts I made.  I make posters out of them (there is a lot of text) and I made small versions for the kids to glue in their journals.

Now what?
First, read the book so you have a thorough understanding of all the strategies.  As kids are reading in Reader's Workshop, monitor them.  Confer with them and take notes.  The notes will remind you what you've already covered and where to go from there! 

If you need the anchor charts, they are in my TPT store!  
The direct link is here.  There are three versions; two black and white.  One is more simple and the other has sentence stems for the kids.  There is also a color version with tween readers clip art.  Enjoy reading with your kids!  Give them the tools they need and they will amaze you! 



CGI math training: Number Talks

What I learned at my CGI math training:  Number Talks

I recently attended a week long CGI math training held by the UCLA math project.  We started with number talks.

What are number talks?

Number talks help students work out math mentally.  It helps build number sense. Kids build a better sense of basic number operations.

We started with a problem on the board. 
First, notice that there is no equal sign.  Instead of equal, we need to start saying things such as “the same as”.
Second, give the kids wait time.  They need to think about it. 
Third, use hand signals to tell you where they are.  Closed fist means I’m thinking.  One finger means I have a solution.  Index and thumb means I have more than one solution.

Now what?
First, have kids pair share.  As they share with each other, walk around and take note of what their strategy was.
Then, choose kids to share out strategically.  You’re looking for different approaches to solving the problem.  Chart it as they share out.
Here is an example of what it would look like charted....
As you can see, the solutions are labeled with the kids names to give them ownership.  And there are three examples here but you only do one problem at a time with the kids.

Things for you to think about as a teacher:
-What mathematical ideas emerged as the students engaged in mental math?
-What opportunities does mental math give teachers and students?
-How are the4se ideas related to your own CGI journey as an educator?

If you need some activities that are ready to go, check out the CGI products in my TPT store!  Well wishes to you on your own CGI journey!

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