I was working on a professional development session this week for my primary teachers, and it had me thinking about how we can use the same routines for whole group instruction, small group instruction, and workstation activities. And how we can differentiate activities to meet the needs of our learners without creating a great deal of work for ourselves.
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One activity I love is Count Around the Circle from the book Number Sense Routines. You might like to read this post about using it for skip-counting. It goes something like this–depending on your students’ needs and your standards, you choose a counting pattern. For younger kiddos it might be counting forward or backward by 1, skip-counting (by 2s, 5s, or 10s), or skip counting by 10s off the decade (17, 27, 37, etc.). For older kiddos, it can be used to practice multiples or skip-counting with larger numbers. Students sit in a circle and you, well, count around the circle. Say you’re counting forward by 1’s starting at 12. The first child says 12, the next 13, the next 14, etc. At some point, you can have them begin to count backward. Another version has kids start standing up and every time a certain number is reached, that student sits and the counting begins again. For example, to practice the teen numbers, you might start at 10 and count around the circle. The student who says 20 sits down and the next child starts again at 10. This keeps going until only one student is standing. Very engaging!!
Now think about doing that same activity in a small group. Your class might be counting forward and backward to 100, but you may have a group of kiddos that are still working to master numbers to 50. Or you may have some students that have trouble with the teen numbers. So you’re doing the same activity with a smaller group of kiddos using different counting sequences and numbers. I think you can see how easy it is to differentiate.
I really wanted to come up with a way to use the same activity in a workstation, so this is what I came up with. The file, which you can download for free below, has two pages. The first is a sheet of six cards you can copy on cardstock and program (fill in) to match the needs of your students (see some of the examples below). The second is a recording sheet you can laminate and put in the workstation for students to use to record their work. Another option, of course, would be to have them record their work in their math journal.
Check out these other suggestions for elevating this task!
Download your freebie by clicking here, As always, I’d love to hear your comments about this activity!