Teaching Children to Write Numbers

Sunday, 29 October 2017

It's easy to get caught in the loop of fast forwarding through math instruction, without spending a lot of time on numeral writing, only to find yourself reteaching "3" in the middle of a place value unit.

Speaking from experience here!

This might be because commercially available math programs consider this skill "handwriting" and fail to include a lot of upfront instruction.

So this year I decided to sloooow it down a bit and get it right from the beginning!  I created a set of posters and numeral rhymes to help my children picture the numeral and learn the sequence of steps for each formation.

I begin with numerals 0-5,  introducing one new numeral each day. We look closely at the poster for a number shape and then I recite the rhyme while tracing the numeral with a wipe-off marker as I see it in the photograph.  As I'm saying, "Long-necked flamingo," I'm tracing the curved part of the two.  As I'm saying, "sitting at the zoo," I'm tracing the straight line at the bottom.

Then, I recite it again while tracing the numeral at the bottom of the page.  The bird symbol helps children remember which direction to "fly" with their pencil.  I've already taught directional words so I can ask "Is the two flying left or right?"  I then invite children to recite the rhyme with me and to trace it on the carpet and in the air.

Following that, we practice the rhyme and formation using these practice pages. I always encourage the children to continue to say the rhyme out loud as they write the numeral, otherwise they might just trace the numeral in any old way without really practicing proper formation.  In many cases, I am trying to correct "bad habits" that have already developed, such as writing from bottom up vs. top down.

The first row is always done in highlighter, the second using a crayon of their choice, and the third in pencil.  The children enjoy the challenge at the bottom of each page where they get creative and turn the numeral into the picture shape that I am trying to imprint into their memory.

Once 0-5 is introduced, we make a counting book and I send practice sheets home for homework so parents can also learn the rhymes and support their child in correctly forming their numbers.

Practice continues as I add  Roll it, Write it, Count it  games to their math tubs.  Each game requires the children to work on subitizing (roll it), numeral formation (write it), and counting a set of objects (count it).  

Then we repeat the process all over again with numerals 6-9!

Taking the extra time to help my children build good numeral writing habits from the beginning will help me avoid the frustration of constant reteaching.

If you'd like to use Numbers in Nature Formation Rhymes with your children, click on the link to find them in my TPT store at a discounted price for the next 48 hours.

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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

I went into this week unsure of how I might introduce this character strength to kinders, but was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they grasped it, especially as it relates to trying new things.

We began by listening to Green Eggs and Ham and the children named foods they have been "close-minded" about.  One little guy shared with great enthusiasm, "I am going to be open-minded about strawberries and try them when I get home!"  This led to us talking about how being open-minded about something, doesn't necessarily mean you are going to like it, just that you have been open to trying it.

Other books we used for discussion included:

At the end of the week, I brought in a new food for us to be "open-minded" about!

It's called Kiwano or Horned Melon and it tastes a bit like a cucumber.  Only a handful of kids were "open" to it!

Next up is perspective which will build upon the children's understanding of open-mindedness. The Positivity Project has carefully sequenced the character strengths to build upon one another and correlate with times of year.

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Saturday, 7 October 2017

The first character strength introduced with the Positivity Project is curiosity.   This was a great one to begin the year because it provided opportunities for us to explore children's interests and model a curious disposition (I wonder...) from the get go!

While "wondering aloud" can be done with any read aloud, here are some of the books we shared to explore characters who exhibit this strength.

We asked the children what they were curious about and attached it to their self-portraits using talk bubbles.  These were displayed at open house for parents to enjoy!

These will also become the front covers of our Show How You Grow books.

I kept a list of these "curiosities" and will try to incorporate as many as possible into our project work and curricular units.

To spark their curiosity, I placed this fossil in the nature center as our first Mystery Object without any introduction.  There has been lots of wondering about what it is and where it came from (found it in the closet in my first ever classroom and have been curious about it ever since!).

I've also set up a wonder window and wonder wall, but have yet to introduce them.

Our beginning work with curiosity will set the stage for these in later days.  That is the great thing about the Positivity Project vocabulary, once introduced it becomes part of your classroom language and living!

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