Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

Launching Guided Math In A Reggio Inspired Program


Launching Guided Math and Math Play

Keep it simple.
During the first weeks use multiples of the same activity, build stamina very slowly, provide explicit instruction and read the room so that you are ready for the next transition. 

I introduce all of the learning frameworks as soon as possible in September and this includes Guided Math. For example, during the first five days the Kinders come in groups of five to orient themselves to school, becoming familiar with the room, expectations, each other and myself. I use these short blocks to introduce and practice our frameworks including guided math. 

Use Learning Partners
I use learning partners for all of the math activities except soft starts.  I wait until I know the children and then assign partners, the primary goal being for them to work well together. I have limited display space in this room so instead of a pocket chart I use a projector to showcase learning partners by adding a google doc to my desktop for easy access.

Once the framework is established I can begin to work with a group(s) for a portion of the time. Eventually the children are completely independent and I am free to work with more than one group, but in the beginning weeks I really want to be available to support this important start to our day together, making it joyful, independent and reflective of their interests and skills. In order to do this I need to observe, document and connect with the Kinders.

Gradual Release
I introduce each of the three parts individually and practice together with the children. After the first part we co-create an a simple anchor chart and review what we did. Then  after a couple of experiences I add the second part and afterwards we add onto the anchor chart for reference. Then on day five they are ready to practice the soft start and we add that onto the anchor chart. Next we begin each morning with a soft start using the anchor chart as a guide when needed. 

For example the Kinders 
  • carry a math activity to the table, working on the activity, clean up and return the activity to the shelf
  • a soft start, coming into the room, doing a cubby job and then finding an activity on the table, stopping then they hear the bell signal, clean up and joining me on the table for a math game
  • adult works at a table with the group then rings bell and waits at carpet for circle time.
Kindergarten Counting Collections Anchor Chart

Anchor Charts
Co-create anchor charts with your Kinders so that your expectations are explicit and they are successful. Gradually expand the amount of time Kinders are doing math centres as their stamina grows. Remember to review the chart regularly and once they fully understand their job you can replace the anchor chart with a new one, this keeps your walls less busy and purposeful. We know from brain research that when wall displays are co-created and used regularly they are more meaningful for the learners.

Setting up math centres
Math stations are an opportunity to practice concepts already modelled and experienced successfully as a group and small group. Some of the stations are game based and often allowed them to make their own rules, are collaborative and included variety. If the students are not motivated I change it.

I set up a math shelf in the classroom with all the materials students require including card games, board games and math activities. Once a activity is introduced and practiced it is placed on the shelf and becomes available to all children during independent play. I also like to have a rug adjacent to the shelf so that children to encourage children to use the materials.

I want to meet all of my Kinder's learning needs. By offering choices at most of the stations they practice at a level that is meaningful for them. For example, at the roll and colour work station, there were double dice or single dice. Students could roll a single dice and colour a single digit number or choose the double dice and colour a double digit number by adding the numbers together.

Teacher Organization
For teacher organization I use flat plastic boxes from Dollarama to store each math centre, i label them and organize them by concept. This keeps me organized and makes it easy to select activities. I also have a math binder with game boards for math play like those freebies from  Mindful Math Freebies or Build Math Minds Freebies 

I set up on the math shelves with a tray or basket because I want the students to see at a glance what is on the shelf.
I include four activities on our math shelves and rotate them as needed, supplemented with card & dice  games, board games and puzzles. I want the activities on the shelves to have visual space so that the Kinders can easily see what is available so they are spaced apart and not stacked.

When planning the math tubs I want to provide year-long practice of concepts introduced and I also want the math activity to be a stand alone, partner or small group set up. 

Math Centre Rotation:
I use math activities for a soft start in the morning as the Kinders transition from our forest program to indoor learning. This allows me to set the tables before students arrive and for the Kinders to browse the choices before making a decision.  I rotate the centres as needed, for example if I notice that one is super popular I will make a second set or if I notice a centre is seldom chosen then I will replace it with a newer concept recently introduced and practiced such as sequencing numbers, a simple pattern or a subitizing card game.  I am free to scaffold children as needed in the early weeks to build their independence.

Targeting skills
I keep my assessment up to date and use it for planning. I keep a grid on a clipboard with the needs sorted into groups for small group work such as four learners that need extra practice with conservation. If it indicates that a student(s) required more practice with a skill set then I will add that to my guided math i.e.: Dot Card Memory and provide guided practice, I probably would also add a transition math game like Blastoff or Count Down to my circle games to double dip.

I don't assign centres to specific learners unless I am working with a small group in which case their name will be on the table. I use flexible groups which are skill based and partners which are organized by who works well with who. I set up the learning partners in later September or early October.  But for the soft start they work with whoever joins them at the table.

During this time the students choose a centre and work with a friend. If they complete the activity then they can move to a new activity until the soft start ends. As their stamina builds they are able to transition through three math activities. 

I work at one centre and if I have a student teacher then he/she will also work at one centre allowing us to play with the Kinders, introduce a new game or scaffold their learning. 

If you need more information just shoot me a dm on my instagram @ReggioKinders and I will do my best to answer any questions.

In the meantime, have a great start to the school year.


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