Friday, February 21, 2014

Bright Math Ideas Blog Hop...Joining Groups Jamboree!

I am excited to be joining a group of 20 bloggers to bring you this month's hop- which is focusing on math 'bright ideas!'  Each blogger will post about his/her 'bright idea' and offer you a freebie to get you started with what they chose to blog about!

The hop runs from February 22nd-24th!

Get ready to learn a lot and fill your brain and 'teachers tool bag' with amazing ideas, freebies and fun!
My kinders are getting ready to learn all about addition!  We will be working with joining groups, understanding what an 'equals sign' means and be introduced to the 'plus' sign within the next week or so!

My students work best when they have the opportunity to 'do math' so I created an easy and 'little to no prep' math center activity to help us work with these concepts!  We will start with understanding 'equal' and then move onto joining groups and eventually attaching a number sentence to our 'findings!'

If you are about to embark on something similar, grab some pattern blocks and read on!

So how do we start?!!
Students will use a work mat with an equal sign and find a bag of pattern blocks that I have counted out for them.  I am going to use actual pattern blocks- the picture shows card stock pattern blocks I made for my Joining Groups Jamboree pack.

Kids will take the pattern blocks out of the bag and make the two sides equal.  I will also have number cards available for them so that they can match the amount counted on each side to the actual number.

Once the pieces are sorted, they will record their finding on the recording sheet

Next is to work on joining groups...
 Again the bags will be pre-counted so that I can control the amount they will be joining
 And numbers will be available for students to match what they counted to the physical number

 And again students will record what they learned on a recording sheet 

Once we have mastered joining groups we will move onto making number sentences
 And will record what we found on our recording sheets

I can control differentiation by offering less blocks for support and more blocks for enrichment.  I will even have some students choose their own amounts of blocks (using the recording sheet to tell them which blocks to add) to make independent number sentences.

These workmats and recording sheets will be used as a center.  I am going to number the bags and recording sheets so that it makes the center even more independent!
Students will match the number on the bag to the number on the recording sheet until they have completed all 6 bags.  

I am planning on making it a 'move about the room' center because my students LOVE them!  I will have each child carry a clipboard with a work mat and recording sheet (along with their crayon box).  They will find the numbered bags around the room, take out the blocks, make the number sentence on the mat using the blocks, match the numbers and then record their findings.  They will put all the pieces back into the bag and move onto the next 'station' until all 6 are completed.

It can also be done as a 'stationary' center.  Place all the bags in a basket/bin/bag and place that, along with the mats and recording sheets, at the table.  

You can find all the pieces in this pack (which is only $2.75)!

Want to give it a try?  Here is a sampler for free!
The sampler has a general recording sheet that you can use with pattern blocks you have in your classroom.
It also has a 'BONUS' addition page that can be used for morning work, homework, a center extension activity, etc!

Want a chance to win the full pack for yourself?  
Leave me a blog post comment about a fun way you teach joining groups and addition in your classroom!  I will choose a winner on the evening of Monday February 24th!

Ready to find your next math 'bright idea' tip?
It comes to you from Laura from Differentiation Station!
She has a great post about subitizing- which is the ability to instantly count a group of objects!  She has a comprehensive post that explains the concept-one I am eager to try out with my kinders now!  It is full of wonderful pictures, uTube video links and a freebie sample for you to download to get started!

Click her button below and read all about it!

Happy hopping!
I am also linking up with Teaching With Nancy for the TGIF (Thank Goodness It's Free)!
Click this button to read more!

Until next post,
post signature


  1. Love this! It is definitely on my wish list :)
    I am busy having my kids gobble down cereal bars, so I can make your composing and decomposing monsters, too!!

  2. Jennifer, you did such a great job of explaining your instructional process! I can't wait to try this idea with a certain group of students. :)
    Burke's Special Kids

  3. We combine our adding skills with story-problems. The kinder-bears choose one character from our foam shapes they will use as the 'friends.' Then, they build their math problem on their paper, add colored details to match their story. When they are ready, we put their paper on the Doc Cam, and with a mic, they tell their story. For instance, "Once upon a time, three little yellow ducks were playing in a pond. Two more ducks jumped in the water. How many ducks were there altogether? There were five ducks swimming in the pond. The End." They love using the 'once upon a time/the end.'

  4. Thanks for sharing your ideas and freebie, Jennifer! I love the idea of making this a move around activity. A bit of action keeps the interest high! :)

  5. Thank you for the freebie! I use a lot of manipulatives.

  6. I love using whole body activities. I have a student choose a number out of basket and call that many friends to the middle of the rug. Then another child chooses another number from the basket and calls that many friends to the middle. We then count up to see how many friends have joined our party. We use a whole class recording at first and then we pass out white boards so that children can practice writing the number sentence. This is done over several sessions. I love your ideas. Susan

  7. I love this! I use manipulatives to teach my students.

  8. What a great way to learn joining groups and shapes at the same time. We have been using themed based objects to studying joining and addition. We started during Valentine's week, so we did hearts and candy. Since we had started the Olympics the week before, I used pictures cards of the different Winter Olympic sports. We even did the medals too! I would love to win your pack! Thanks for the freebie too!

  9. I love using the little themed erasers.

  10. Dominoes - the dots help students see the addition

  11. I use a lot of whole body activities so they can see the Part-part= whole.

  12. We use anything we can get our hands on, cubes, frogs, people, counters, erasers, pictures, anything and everything :)
    Love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  13. I use students as manipulatives, then also use dominoes. We also do alot of part-part whole story problems.

  14. My students will love these activities. Thanks for sharing.

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