In each of our subjects, we begin the topic together and then my kids work independently or with me on grade level appropriate assignments. In all of our other subjects, we begin with reading something together (a good classic novel for reading, an engaging history short story, or even a “believe or not” for science). I struggled with how to begin our math time together – and then thought aha! Math Morning Meeting.
Several of the math curricula include a math morning meeting but I have found that they are geared toward having a traditional classroom setting (lots of students, all the same ability level). As my current classroom contains two students, in two different grade levels – I decided to create my own (using some of the ideas found in popular curricula).
Calendar – We begin our math morning meeting with the calendar. I printed out a calendar for each month of the year, three ring hole punched them, and we created our own calendar notebook. We talk about the traditional calendar information (what is today? What will tomorrow be? How do we write the date?). For my older student, I ask questions such as: what day of the week was it 9 days ago? Or, how many odd days are there in the month of April?
Each day we look outside (and often step outside) and decide what the weather is. The kids then color in the square for the day to match our weather key:
Red – Hot (you could wear a swimsuit!)
Yellow – Warm (shorts and t-shirt – but no swimming yet)
Green – Cool (jeans and a short sleeved shirt )
Blue – Cold (get out the winter coat and gloves!)
At the end of the month, we can take our calendar and make a bar graph to match our data. Or, we can create a fraction to match the number of red days out of the total number of days in the month. In a few months, my daughter will learn to convert fractions to decimals to percents – then there will be even more challenging calendar applications (what percentage of last month was hot?).
Some months we make inequality sentences:
Red days this month is < (less than) Green days this month
Behind our calendar pages, I keep blank notebook paper. Before adding the paper to our notebooks – I fold each page into fourths. This gives me four sections for my math morning meeting. Here are some of the many concepts/skills you might find on our pages:
1 – Clock – My first grader is just learning to tell time. I often ask him to draw a clock and make it read the time that he goes to bed (7:30) or the time that daddy comes home from work (4:00). I challenge my third grader to show me 12 till 2:00, or perhaps what time it will be in one hour and 5 minutes from now.
2 – Graphing – There are many opportunities to graph in a day! At our first math meeting, we talked about how to label a bar graph (title, left side, and bottom). We talked about how a bar graph can be vertical or horizontal. Some mornings I take the clean silverware container from the dishwasher and set it on the table. They can graph the number of forks, knives, spoons, and serving utensils! Other mornings we graph the size of our school books (small, medium and large – there’s an added bonus of sorting, and defining terms in this one!).
3 – Patterning – Once you have introduced patterning, and how to label a pattern (ABA, ABBA, etc.) – then you can give your students a theme and a pattern rule and let them create! This week we used the ABA theme and made patterns with “easter shapes.” Other weeks we have used a wide variety of themes – baseball, gardening, shapes, kitchen objects – the list goes on.
4 – Math Facts – I love working math fact practice into my math morning meeting. Both of my kids can benefit from daily repetition of math facts. The new favorite is to take an egg carton, write the numbers 1 to 12 in the egg carton (one number in each “hole”). Then place a die in the egg carton. Your student can shake up the egg carton – open it, and add/subtract/multiply/divide the two numbers they see!
Another favorite at our house is to use a deck of cards. They deal themselves two cards and create a math number sentence with the two cards (jacks are 10, queens are 11, and aces are 12).
Some days, I give my kids a target number. Let’s say today’s target number is 28. My son must add and subtract each number he rolls on a die from the target number. He rolls a 7, then he has two number sentences: 28 + 7 and 28 – 7. My daughter must multiply and divide the target number by the number rolled. She rolls a 6, she has 28 X 6, and 28 divided by 6.
You can also use regular flash cards. My rule is that 10 math facts must go in the square on math facts day.
5 – Problem Solving – One of the biggest challenges for children in problem solving is changing math words into math numbers and symbols. Some days I give the children a math number sentence and challenge them to write the story that matches it. For example, if I give my first grader 7 + 8, he might write: Xman had 7 baseballs. His friend Jacob gave him 8 more baseballs. How many baseballs did he have all together? Or, if I give my third grader 32 divided by 5, she might write: Mary had 32 skittles. She wanted to share them equally with her friends. How many did each friend get? Were there any left over?
These are just a sampling of the concepts and skills that you might see in our math morning meeting folder.
What concepts or skills would you include in a math morning meeting?
When Michele’s not turning toys into math investigations, she can be found blogging about her journey into preparing her children for the real world just in case they don’t become famous rock stars at http://rockstarthing.blogspot.com.
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