Video segment about me, by the school district

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ways to Make 10

Students Wearing Number Hats To Show Ways To Make Ten

Happy Sunday everybody!  I have off tomorrow and I'm so glad, because last weekend I went to a 3-day workshop and I really needed to rest this weekend.  It was one of the best training classes I've ever attended.  The presenter was Frank Kros from the Upside Down Organization.  The workshop was called Creating Connections, and it was all about presenting but with brain research totally at the forefront.  I love how Mr. Kros mixes factual information with games, fun, and realistic ways to take the knowledge that you've learned back to your job.

I wanted to share with you some of the ways I implemented what I learned at his workshop in kindergarten this week.  We are told over and over again by experts that moving is one of the keys for learning.  I've often heard presenters say this in the past, and I think "I have my kids moving.  I use music, dance, and games to teach content."  But this time I really internalized everything that was being presented.  I reflected on how, when we ask questions to the students during whole group time, we're usually talking to one student while the rest are just listening.  Why do we do this?  I think because it's the way we've done it in the past, and it's the way that we were taught.  This week I tried having them draw on whiteboards ways to make ten, instead of just having one child show it.  It worked beautifully, and my assistant and I could really see which of the 28 students got it and which had no clue.

Another little movement activity I did was based on the game "Rock, Paper, Scissors."  Instead of saying "Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!" you say "One, two, three, math!"  When you play with a partner, you both put up a certain amount of fingers on one hand, and you can add up the fingers.  My kids loved it, and they told me I was the best teacher ever!  Even my lowest ESOL kids got it.

Another thing I tried was having the kids use sticky notes as exit tickets, and they stuck them on the door so that everyone could see different ways to make ten.  It worked beautifully in the workshop with Mr. Kros, and I think it would work a lot better in my classroom if I use the right sticky notes.  I used old, cheap sticky notes that weren't quite sticky enough on the back.  So the kids were complaining a little bit that their notes weren't staying on the door.  Live and learn!  I told the kids that teachers aren't perfect, and because the activity didn't go as well as I thought, it would just make me a better teacher.  Nathan, a really cute, curly-haired boy in my class, said "Mrs. Dudley, don't worry.  I think you're still the best teacher I ever had."  They always say that, and I think it's so funny because in most cases I'm the ONLY teacher they've ever had.  :)

JiJi, a co-teacher at my school introduced me to this YouTube video, and since brain research says that music can really engage and stimulate learners, I added this to my repertoire.  Take a look.  It's really adorable!

The song is about numbers going to a party, so I thought to bring it home I could use party hats so that the kids would have to find a partner who, together with their own hat, would add up to ten.  I made an anchor chart in case they got stuck.  Here it is:

And here is a paper that I used with my students to give them opportunities to show and write different ways to make ten.  I used 2-color flip chips so they would have a manipulative to work with.

We took a walk down the hallway to show and tell another kindergarten class how we could make ten, and it was really enjoyable.  Yesterday I gave the hats to that teacher, and her kids came and did the same thing for my class.  Each pair also got to say the numbers, so even more practice and repetition but in a really active manner.  Think about all the opportunities for movement!

I'm wondering for what other subjects I could do the matching party hats.  What do you think?  Write me a comment below and share your ideas.  It's always so nice to hear from you.


  1. I love this post, Sharon. What a lot of great ideas! There is something about moving and learning that go hand in hand. Plus, the kids just love it. Thanks for the great ideas! I hope all is going great for you!

    1. My friend Dan wrote The Friends of 10 Song! He has so many great songs. You'd love his others, too! :)

  2. Thanks Carolyn. I really learned a lot from Mr. Kros. I'm doing fine. Getting ready for my daughter's shower and wedding.

    1. OOOOH when is it exactly? So exciting (and busy!)