Monday, February 28, 2011

Math Monday - Number Sense and Numeration

Each Monday I will explain a different math "strand" and some activities that parents can do with their children at home to support the strands. (This is a duplicate of what was posted last year, if it sounds familiar).

There are 5 Basic Strands in Mathematics
1. Number Sense and Numeration
2. Measurement
3. Geometry and Spatial Sense
4. Patterning and Algebra
5. Data Management and Probability

Number Sense and Numeration

Number is a property of sets that indicates how many elements are in a set. Number can be represented through objects, pictures, graphs, or symbols (such as words or numerals) Numeration refers to the use of numerals to represent numbers. When we say the a child has good number sense, we mean that the child possesses varied abilities and understanding that have gradually developed: an awareness of the relationships between numbers, an ability to represent each number in several ways, a knowledge of the effects of operations and an ability to interpret and use numbers in the real world.

In Kindergarten, number sense evolves from the total classroom experience and through specific activities. If we want children to develop a solid understanding of numerical concepts, we must call attention to ways numbers are used in everyday life, provide opportunities for children to explore number relationships with different objects, and encourage conversations about these concepts.

Counting skills are an important component of the development of number. Counting on, counting back, and skip counting indicate advances in children’s development of number ideas. However, counting is only one indicator of children’s understanding of numbers.

Some ways to develop number sense and numeration at home:

- Talk about numbers that you see outside of the home such as on houses or as prices in the grocery store

- Play commercial games such as Snakes and Ladders or Dominoes that reinforce recognition of numbers.

- Make your own board game!

- Practice printing numbers (use crayons, markers, paint, draw in the sand etc)

- How many letters are in your name? How many letters are in that word?

- How many carrots are on your plate?

- make your own "flash" cards or a number matching memory game

- don't forget to talk about 0 (zero)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Experimenting with colour

We are having lots of fun in the light and shadow centre. I've put out some "colour paddles" which are transparent plastic sheets. You can layer them to mix colours. We often hear squeals of delight coming from this corner of the classroom. Things like -- "Look, look, I made purple!". We're still in the exploring stage.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Experiments with light and shadow

We are also exploring the properties of Light and Shadow. The overhead projector is a BIG hit. It's really fun to project things on to a piece of paper and then trace what is there.

The questions that I am asking here is why the LOVE is just a shadow when it is projected on the wall, and the hearts (gel window stickers) show the colour. Please don't explain to your child yet why the colour shows -- we are trying to experiment so THEY can figure out the answer. THANKS!! We also have other things to experiment with (glass baubles, pieces of cellophane, driftwood and lots of plastic shapes)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


This is our dinosaur playscape in progress. I have asked the children what they need to make this look like the dinosaurs would have lived there. The green felt is grass. The blue is water (a waterfall here) There are some trees (in progress). Under this table there is a large bin of dinosaur books. I've put a comfy chair beside it. We're going to explore dinosaurs a bit. Most of the girls would rather play with the ponies..... but they got a bit more interested when I said that we were going to "decorate" the table......

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


We learned some printmaking techniques to make our parents Valentines. We cut pieces of styrofoam trays into heart shapes and then we drew on them with pencils, pressing hard. Then we used real printing ink (water soluble -- non toxic) and worked the ink onto a piece of plexiglass with a brayer (to get an even coating on the brayer)(a brayer looks like a smooth paint roller). Then we used the brayer to apply the paint to the foam. Then we lay the inky foam face up on a clean piece of paper, then lay our "good" paper over the inked foam. Then we used a spoon to rub the paper so the ink would transfer evenly. We had great results! Here are some of them (they are 6-7" tall -- 15cm) :

Monday, February 21, 2011

How The Gimquat Found her Song

(sorry for the late post -- the material isn't posting when it should be.... technical difficulties....)

We had lots of fun on the school bus (as expected). I have to say how proud I was of all of the children. They were so well behaved on the bus! And when we left the bus to go into Roy Thompson Hall, they all held their partner's hands and stayed with their parent supervisor. Then they sat quietly (talking quietly) and waited for the symphony to begin. When it began, most children were very attentive, and the ones who were a bit bored (yes, a few were -- it was an hour long!) also sat quietly. This was a very successful trip!

A few days later I asked the children to draw and write about what their favorite part of the play was -- most of them said either when the Gimquat sang really badly, or when she finally found her song (she turned into a loon).

(please click on the photos to make them larger -- it REALLY is worth it!)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Banana Song - or How to Go Bananas

On Thursday we went on our fabulous trip to the symphony (the children were all so well behaved -- and quite an attentive audience -- I was very impressed) (and THANK YOU so much to our parent volunteers -- we couldn't have done it without you!).

On Thursday night I went to see a production of the Lion King -- one of the students in the morning class was playing Baby Simba :) (and she stole the show). (I'd give you more info - but it was only a 3 night run and it sold out immediately). The money raised went towards Sarina Condello's Big Little Caravan of Joy -- see more about it here.

The monkeys taught us this song -- and I had to share it with the class. Ask your child to sing it to you with the actions (we've only had 1 day to practice so they might need a bit of prompting). Sorry, it gets a bit loud.....

And really, Kindergarten isn't all fun and games... we really do do educational things in our class.... well, actually, when we're doing the "educational" things, the children think that it's pretty fun too.... I'll post some of our writing this week.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

This week we are celebrating the beginning of Chinese New Year (The Lunar New Year). We are entering the year of the Rabbit. We will be having a little parade around the school on Friday. We are hoping to wear as much read as possible (it's a lucky colour).

If you would like to learn a bit more about the celebration of the new year, try this website. It is very straighforward. Gung Hey Fat Choy! (orKung Hei Fat Choi -- it's a phonetic translation so you might see it spelled many ways) It means "wishing you prosperity".

The children are born in the year of the Dog (juniors) or Rooster (seniors). Two seniors were born in the year of the Monkey (they have both already turned 6!).

Here is what we are reading this week!

(as you can see, I snuck in a Groundhog day book --for Wednesday)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's a snow day!

We hardly ever get snow days in Toronto! That means that there is no school today. We should be staying off the roads because it is too dangerous to drive. I know that most of you walk to school, but some of the teachers live far away and drive cars to school (I live far away, but I take the subway!)

(this video is about no-one that we know -- but it features my favourite Snow Day song by Bleu and the boy in it is having lots of fun in the snow!). If you click on the video, it will take you to the youtube site and you can watch it larger and you can turn off the ad.

Hey all of you kids! Go and help your mommies and daddies shovel, okay? I'm going outside right now to shovel my sidewalk.

See you tomorrow for the trip!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A class trip!

On Thursday we are (finally) going on a class trip. We have already had a walking trip to the Public Library and that went very well, so we are ready to venture out further. We are travelling by school bus to Roy Thompson Hall so see a play/symphony production called "How the Gimquat found her Song". You can learn more about it here. We are talking about it in class and have been listening to some of the music. The podcast is great! Please go to the site and listen to it (your child has likely already heard it, but I'm sure that they would love to listen to it again with you :)