Playing with Collecting, Organizing & Interpreting in Kindergarten

As you browse you are invited to be inspired and come learn alongside me, one of my goals for teaching mathematics in kindergarten this year was create opportunities for children to represent their mathematical understandings in ways that are meaningful to them – for example, by writing or drawing on paper, by using pictures and/or numbers and some words, by using materials such as blocks or stickers, pom poms.

This post is about my learning journey creating opportunities for children (It certainly does not capture the myriad of experiences, conversations, voices of the educators or children it is simply a reflection).  — OE19 collect, organize, display, and interpret data to solve problems and to communicate information

A Summary of Overall Instructional Strategies I used include:

  • having students generate questions that can be answered using simple methods
    for collecting data (e.g., by placing stickers on a graph);
  • providing opportunities to sort the same collection of objects in a variety
    of ways;
  • discussing ways to sort objects using obvious attributes (e.g., colour, size
  • providing opportunities to create and discuss concrete graphs,
    and pictographs;
  • providing graphing mats to help students organize data in people graphs and
    concrete graphs;
  • having students conduct surveys involving questions that have a limited
    number of responses (e.g., “What is your favourite colour?”);
  • discussing and demonstrating different data-collection methods (e.g., placing
    a picture in the appropriate section of a pictograph, making a tally);

Ice Cream Vote as students entered the classroom in the morning for sign-in. Children were encouraged to pick their favourite flavour of ice cream, each child coloured their very own ice cream scoop, we discussed the results as a class. (Instructional Strategy: Providing opportunities for students to vote in order to make class decisions). Favourite Colour this was our introduction to pictographs.

Clipboard Graphing Ideas students had the opportunity to use the various graphing templates to ask their classmates questions, or create their very own questions. (Not pictured: We placed various cutouts of superheroes, Disney movie princesses, pets, and movies-students could create their own questions using the cutouts see example photograph #5)

Posting Success criteria to describe, in specific terms and in language meaningful to children, our learning goals. This really helped in naming the learning we observed in the classroom, especially during play-based learning.

Math Words the math words that we used during our discussions were posted, this was used as a reference in conversations we had with the children. Some of our older Year 2 students were able to read them and refer to them during play.

Tally Marks Visual Tally marks are a quick way of keeping track of numbers in groups of five. Posted on the wall we had a visual of 1-10 One vertical line is made for each of the first four numbers; the fifth number is represented by a diagonal line across the previous four.


We worked on encouraging children to use tally marks as a quick way of keeping track of numbers in groups of five. The objective is that the child will understand that one mark is equal to one object.

Data collection often involves conducting a survey. When students plan and carry out surveys, they take ownership for identifying a survey question, learning efficient ways to collect and record the data, and organizing the data in different ways to make sense of them.


Tally charts are particularly useful for gathering and organizing data (A tally chart is a table with tally marks to show a valuable data set). Math Invitation: We placed various cutouts of superheroes, Disney movie princesses, pets, and movies-students could create their own questions using the cutouts. Below are some of the rhymes we used to help children remember when to cross on 5.

Classroom Graphing Mat

In the classroom students enjoyed using a graphing mat to help organize the objects. The graphing mat pictured was made by Sandy Gomes my partner in the Kindergarten classroom. If you don’t have one a graphing mat can be made using a plastic shower curtain. Grid lines can be created using electrical tape. Students categorize objects or pictures by placing them in the columns of the graph mat.

Playful Beginnings Organizing Data in Graphs:

The skills and concepts that students develop through experiences in sorting objects help children understand how data can be organized in graphs. Students learn that data, like objects, can be sorted into groups and categories.

As children develop skill and independence in gathering data, children were provided blank templates that allowed them to organize the data. Giving each child their own individual baggie of objects for them to sort and then organize independently provided them with a sense of ownership over their own work.

Concrete graph: In a concrete graph, objects are used to represent the data.
Each object is placed on a graph template (e.g., a graphing mat) so that students
can easily count and compare the number of items in different categories

Pictograph: Pictures or symbols are used to represent the data in pictographs. By organizing data into categories, it is possible to compare the quantities in
different categories on a graph.

With some of our students we introduced  titles, symbols–components that help to communicate information in a graph: (this was done in small groups or one-one with children during play-based learning. Some of our learning was focused on the following:

  • The title introduces the data contained in the graph.
  • Numeric values into which data are categorized.
  • In pictographs, symbols (e.g., pictures, icons) represent the data. Each symbol
    can represent one piece of data (one-to-one correspondence)

It all began with… Sorting

(Ongoing throughout the year sorting activities were always available to children however, focused sorting instruction took place in late September early October).

Sorting involves examining objects, identifying similar attributes (e.g., colour, size, shape), and organizing objects that “go together” into groups. Along with learning to sort, children learn to classify, that is, to identify a common characteristic of all items within a group.


Read Aloud: Bear Sees Colors, by Karma Wilson

Sorting Colours and Pom Pom Manipulatives 

I paired poms poms with a muffin tin and Bear color printable (from Students were encouraged to sort the poms, poms by color into the appropriate cups of the tin. Reinforce the colors from the story by talking about what Bear saw in each color as children sort their poms, poms. Do they remember what Bear saw that was red? Purple? And so on.

First, we tried the sorting activity in the Sensory bin and then placed it on the table, during play-based learning, this time the pom poms, could be sorted in whatever way the students wanted using the wooden trays.


I learned that students progress in their sorting skills when they are encouraged to find different ways to sort a variety of materials, when they observe how others sort materials, and when they reflect on different ways to sort materials.  Some questions I had handy to help me extend their sorting:

• “How did you sort these objects?”
• “How are these objects alike? How are these objects different?”
• “Why does this object belong here? Why does it not belong here?”
• “Which other objects belong in this group?”
• “What name could you give to this group?”
• “How could you sort these objects in a different way?”
• “How did Anhil sort the objects?”

(adapted from A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics Kindergarten to Grade 3)

What I have learned: 

Throughout the day, we can create an effective environment to support young children’s learning of mathematics by providing mathematics experiences that focus on particular mathematical concepts and by identifying and embedding significant mathematics learning experiences in play, daily routines, and classroom experiences.


STEM Frozen Challenge ❄️

Interest Observed: With the release of Disney’s Frozen 2 we observed children both indoors and outdoors role-playing their favourite characters Elsa and Anna building and designing ice castles with blocks indoors and snow outdoors.

We extended this interest by challenging students to build Elsa’s castle. We love creating experiences like these because the children become such critical thinkers and innovators when they are engaged in the process of building. Students become involved in testing out their ideas, planning new ideas, and figuring out why their ideas work or don’t.  That is the process of STEM learning!


  • clear/blue/white cups
  • glass gems
  • cotton balls
  • popsicle sticks
  • Frozen characters placed on small wooden people


Some of the best “aha” moments come when students stacked cups crashes to the table. At first, students feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do, but they are able to quickly figure things out.

Writing our Blueprints

Students used the writing prompt and designed a blueprint of their work and documented the materials they used in building their castle. These writing prompts are always used during show and share in the classroom along with projecting their photograph for the whole class to view during show and share.

Frozen STEM Writing Prompt after building their castle students drew a picture of their structure and included the materials used.

Materials The materials were provided for children during their sustained interest during play-based learning. There was a picture template with the materials and the corresponding words labelled, this was done purposefully with the intention of encouraging children to independently add the materials they used to their blueprint.

Blueprint Writing Students share their work with the educators, many students were observed phonetically sounding out and writing words in addition to looking at the materials reference sheet to assist them in writing.


The Light of Christ in Our Home

Our Guiding Question: How can you share the Light with others during the Christmas season?

“In December our focus was on learning that the birth of Christ fulfills God’s promise to send Light into the world.”

Our families were invited to reflect with their child/ren at home on the meaning of Christmas to them. Our intention was to have parents continue the conversation and focus of the Advent Season and its true meaning. The focus on the “holy day” when love came down from heaven as a tiny baby to dwell among us.

Sample letter that was sent home to parents (below)

Light of Xmas Parent Note

We welcomed the Season of Advent with patience and sense of wonder. As we prepared in the classroom for the birth of Jesus, many of our families shared how they prepared their homes and their hearts.  We learned that many families prepare their homes and themselves in many unique and similar ways 

Bulletin board message (below)


Here are some of the ways our families prepared for Advent: hung up an evergreen wreath on their door, decorated their Christmas tree, set up the nativity scene, baked cookies and other yummy treats, sung Christmas carols, went to Sunday mass, donated toys and gently used clothing.

Here are some of the ways our families prepared for Advent: visited family, prayed together, mailed Christmas cards with special Christmas blessings written inside, read bible stories, prepared their home for family and guests, prepared an Advent wreath at home, invited family to dinner and watched Christmas movies together). 

Our wish was to support families in the classroom. When we come together and take part in a honouring family traditions and special moments at home everyone has a sense of belonging. This is so important for children because it helps them feel accepted and part of the family unit. Each child had the opportunity to share what they do at home with their families during this special time. 

Our faith traditions keep us centered on the deeper meaning of Christmas.


Our 3D Figures Inquiry in Kindergarten

We spent lots of time identifying, describing, and sorting three-dimensional objects. Many of our families contributed to our 3D figures museum in the classroom. During the math inquiry our goal was for students to manipulate three-dimensional figures, and as they manipulated the figures to begin to make connections between what they were touching and the characteristics of the figures (e.g., flat faces curved surfaces, corners).  

We also set out many learning opportunities for students to explore 3D figures. Students participated in matching 3D figures to pictures, illustrating their very own 3D pictures in mini books, sorting real life objects, presenting their home 3D figure to the class.

Our goal was to have student engagement in various 3D tasks

As we continued with our 3D Figures inquiry we would add to our Math Wall, encouraging students to revisit their learning journey.

3D Figure Math Talks

Describing the figures, prompting students by asking questions, such as:
• “Do you feel a corner?”
• “How many corners do you feel?”
• “Do you feel any flat faces?”
• “Are there any round faces?”
• “Are there any curved edges?”
• “Are there any straight edges?”


Our Assessment of Students with 3D Figures:

• identify three-dimensional figures;
• describe three-dimensional figures;
• match three-dimensional figures to pictures.

As we observed students, we may of prompted them to explain their thinking.
• “What object looks like a sphere (cone, cylinder, cube)?”
• “How could you describe this figure?”
• “How do you know that this figure matches this picture?”

Building 3D Structures with Wooden Geometric Figures

Students were provided time to explore a variety of three-dimensional figures during play-based learning explorative time (either commercially produced or found items). After students had time to play with the manipulatives, many were encouraged to draw or write about their structures using labels and new vocabulary. 

Transitioning from manipulating the 3D figures to reflecting and naming learning.


Playing 3D figures Bingo

The bingo cards feature both real-world examples and simple 3D figures for children.

Sorting 3D Figures

We worked on sorting figures in the classroom, this was first introduced during a whole group lesson and gradually reinforced in small groups and independently during free-play. Students explained in various ways which figures were alike and different.

Some of our discussions during and after sorting activities supported students think about geometric properties and encouraged reflection about geometric properties,  for example we asked questions:
• “What is your sorting rule?”
• “How are all the figures in this group the same?”
• “Why did you not include this figure in this group?”
• “Is there another way to sort the figures into groups?”


Many of our students participated in sorting activities independently during play-based centres as well as 3D write the room activities (pictured below). It was beautiful to observe the year 2 two students assist the year 1 students, many working together and eager to finish finding all the 3D figures around the classroom.

Our Morning Messages, included children signing-in considering various questions about the characteristics of 3D figures. We had many questions throughout the whole inquiry this was just one picture that was taken. 


Fun 3D Figures Game: How Are They The Same?
– containers of 6 to 10 three-dimensional figures (commercially produced or found
objects) (1 container per pair of students)

Provide each pair of students with a container of three-dimensional figures. Have
students take turns selecting two figures from the container and placing them side by
side. Ask students to explain how the two figures are the same (e.g., both figures roll,
both figures have squares on them, both figures have circles on them).

3D Museum in the Classroom

Encouraging children to manipulate three-dimensional figures, they make connections between what they are touching and the characteristics of the figures (e.g., flat faces, curved surfaces, corners). By matching three-dimensional figures to pictures, students begin to understand the relationships between three-dimensional figures and their two-dimensional faces.

Parent Letter Sent Home: 


Our Remind App Message for Parents: 


Prior to children presenting we modelled describing various 3D figures in the classroom. During “Show and Present Your Figure” in the class students had the opportunity to share their figure, afterwards we worked with children to write the name of their figure or write about the figure.



Our Trip to Ecosource Garden of the Valley

Our Trip to Ecosource Green’s 

Garden of the Valley was simply beautiful.

First, we meet as a class in our mindfulness circle. The children were led through a series of breathing, listening and relaxation exercises. This helped the children to understand and engage their senses, and tune into their personal well-being every day.

Students’ explored the garden using magnifying glasses, picked mint and made mint tea, used loose parts, tended to the garden. 


Students picked a handfuls or so of large mint leaves, washed them well and gently dried the mint with some paper towel.


Children love the natural world. An outdoor space that is rich in natural features can powerfully stimulate their sense of wonder and discovery. Where do ants live? Where do they get their purple colour? Looking for bees: Bee hunting, finding and following honeybees, is a mix of excitement and mindful meditation that provides valuable insight into the lives of bees.



Students found a quiet space in the garden to rest and explore the shells.

By providing props and making spaces that allow children to act out their imaginary worlds. Environments that facilitate storytelling and dramatic play. Set the stage for children to imagine themselves in many different roles.


Students explored a variety of shells on a tray so they could explore them in whatever fashion they wanted to. Students were observed using their olfactory sense to find out what the shells smelled like. (The answer? “Not much.” :-)) Students also used their sense of touch to decide if the shells were rough or smooth.

In childhood one is more open to sensory impressions than ever again in one’s life. Smells, sensations of heat, softness, weight, beauty and much more, form the basis of all of life’s later sensations.

– Eva Insulander, Swedish School Ground Designer and Planner

After meeting again and reflecting on our learning for the day, the children were given time for free play. During this time the students exercised their social skills while engaging in cooperative, imaginative play in the garden, and with loose parts. By encouraging the children to explore and understand the space independently, children are learning to be self-reliant.

Student voices from the garden…



“The water collected in the garden comes from the rain!” H.J.


“Our water smells like mint, we picked fresh mint.” A.F.


“There are so many bees looking for nectar.” T.S.


“This is our mini world, the animals love the garden.” M.D.

Children role play real-life situations through imagining scenarios and building small worlds. Plants, sand, and soil are materials that small children can relate to and manipulate for building and creating their own small worlds.




Our Butterfly Inquiry

“The children experiencing the transformation of the caterpillars to butterflies was magical. I can’t help but relate this experience to the uniqueness of teaching kindergarten and being able to learn and grow with the children. Metaphorically, they really do start out like little caterpillars that grow and grow over time and then one day, when they’re ready they spread their wings and fly.” -Wonders in Kindergarten


At its core, inquiry-based learning in kindergarten is about asking essential questions. When we invite young learners to wonder, we encourage investigation and creativity, to explore new possibilities, ways of thinking and solving the problems of the world.

Our Butterfly Inquiry was so special. 

To begin our inquiry we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. As soon as the story was finished, we looked back through the book and asked the children to think about how the caterpillar changes in the story naturally this provided the context for questions and wonderings. Many of the children noted the growing process during which the appearance of the caterpillar changes drastically. The process of wondering took time to develop, after reading various books, watching videos/clips and finally having the caterpillars in the classroom, students began to share many of their wonderings because the children could connect with the caterpillar daily, make connections and verbalize their observations.

Our central theme in the classroom around inquiry was to develop a sense of noticing, naming and wondering.

“Inquirybased learning emphasises a student’s role in the learning process and asks them to engage with an idea or topic in an active way, rather than by sitting and listening to a teacher.”


Answering our questions… our wonderings…

Through book readings, videos, other research, and provocations, we may answer a few of the questions over time, but some questions we may never answer and that is okay. Sometimes the children have amazing theories and we discuss them. Inquiry, in the way I see it, creates and fosters a community of learners that become amazing observers, theory makers, and most importantly, wonder seekers. I believe regardless of the collection method, students are always encouraged to question, wonder, and share their wonderings with educators and classmates.


Once our butterflies arrived we placed various non-fiction books to support student inquiry.


One of the questions students ask was: “How long do butterflies stay in the chrysalis, or pupal stage?”

We learned:

  • Butterflies have four distinct stages in their life cycle. They start as an egg, hatch into a caterpillar, turn into pupae during metamorphosis, and finally emerge as a butterfly.
  • Different species of butterflies stay in the chrysalis, or pupal stage, for different periods of time. This can range from about seven days to more than a year, but for a large number of species it is less than 30 days.
  • The painted lady butterfly spends only seven to 10 days in the chrysalis.


Inquiry Prompts:

I like having available in the classroom injury prompts, I have this posted at the inquiry/science table. It helps me encourage students to wonder about the topic we are presently exploring. As their ideas will lead them to ask questions and become curious. This approach puts students in the center of the learning and offers opportunities for every child to feel included.


Representing the Butterfly Life Cycle

We learned: The butterfly life cycle includes four stages: stage one: egg; stage two: larva; stage three: pupa; and stage four: adult butterfly. Butterflies transform through these stages. This transformation is called metamorphosis.



Loose Parts + Butterfly

Since students have been working towards developing their own oral stories this term. We began by reading several stories where the main character was a butterfly.

A class favourite book throughout the inquiry was Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel


These stories helped students explore various characters, events, settings and problems in the different stories. Students were invited to use play dough, non-fiction texts (for research), and loose parts (glass beads) to create butterfly stories. Students orally shared their stories with the educators. 


“The butterfly in finding a hiding spot in the bushes, so it doesn’t get eaten by birds, snakes, toads, rats, lizards, dragonflies.” -C.B.


“The butterflies were very thirsty because it was so hot outside, they are puddling together to get the moisture from the soil.” A.B.


“The butterflies have spotted a toad in the pond. The are moving slowly so the toad doesn’t see them. The two butterflies have found a small drop of water.” T.F.

Butterfly Wings and More…

The students watched a various clips from the documentary about Monarch butterflies on called “Flight of the Butterflies” which coincides with their southern migration.  They were fascinated with this process and the intricate wing patterns of this species and butterflies in general after looking closely at deceased butterfly.  Extending their interest, we decided to invite the students to create their own wing designs using loose parts.


After exploring butterfly wing designs students began to notice that the patterns, colours, and shapes were the same on either side of the wing. We discussed that in math, symmetry means that one shape becomes exactly like another when you move it in some way: turn it, flip it or slide it. We demonstrated that shapes on one side of a line are the same as on the other side of a line.

Some of the students symmetrical experiences included…


Writing: “If I were a Butterfly?”

Students had the opportunity to draw and write: What they would do if they were a butterfly. Where would they fly to?, What would they do?, How would they feel?, Who would they visit?, What may they eat?”…





Dandelion Wishes in Kindergarten

Students were observed running through the dandelions fields during outdoor play, picking the dandelions, drawing the dandelions, writing about their dandelion wonders, and dancing in the dandelion covered fields. Students also shared that they could make a wish when you blew the dandelion.

“Hold the fluffy head of your dandelion near your mouth and turn carefully in the direction of the breeze. This insures a good flight for your wish and keeps all the seeds from landing on your clothing or in your hair. For the magic to be at it’s best you must blow all the seeds off with one breath. “



After a few days exploring the dandelions, we realized that the students’ intrigue was enough to fuel another inquiry.

Our Inquiry: Making a Dandelion Wish


What we learned about Dandelions?



Dandelion Lifecycle: Dandelions go through several life stages. They start out as a tiny seed and then grow into a plant. The plant grows flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. The yellow flowers then close and transform into poofy seed heads. The seeds eventually blow away like tiny parachutes and the cycle starts again.



We watch a couple videos, read some books, and encouraged students to look at pictures of the various life stages of a dandelion and then challenged to go outside and find an example of each lifecycle stage.

Time Lapse Dandelion From Flower To Seed Head is a really cool time lapse video of the dandelion transformation from flower to seed head.



Students were invited to write down their wishes…


Ideas from: myclassroomtransformation.blogspot.

Extensions for home or your program: Compare the yellow dandelions with the white dandelions.  What are some of the similarities? What are some of the differences?  Consider discussing how the yellow dandelions transform into white dandelions.  On your walk, take notice of the size of the dandelions.  Collect a few dandelions and order them from shortest to tallest.



Autumn Leaf Man Exploration


With the coming of a new school year, I’ve decided to revisit one of my favourite autumn learning experiences with children: Exploring Leaves!

–This post is in reference to a experience I had with my Kindergarten class in Fall of 2018. However, reflecting on my teaching practice I’ve decided that I will extend this experience further when I encounter children’s similar interests in the future. 

Naturally children observe changes in the weather and in nature. Children are keen on sharing their wonderings, noticing and observations especially during autumn. In the Kindergarten classroom children were so busy observing this annual change in the season, and wondering why the many leaves of deciduous trees change colour during autumn and why so many leaves fall off the trees. Children also noticed that some leaves remained green while others changed in colours and hues (deciduous and evergreen trees).

“Why are those green?” K.L. (as he pointed to the trees)

“Don’t the needles change colour?” M.H. (while she picked up the evergreen needles from the trees)

“Look some are almost purple, these are brown and look here they are red!” B.G. (as child sorted the leaves outdoors)


Questions we asked to encourage wondering/inquiry:

  • What signs of fall can you see in the trees and on the ground?
  • How many different leaf colours can you find?
  • What will happen to the leaves when they fall on the ground? Where will they go?
  • Do the leaves travel anywhere?
  • Where do you think a leaf would go and why?
  • How many leaves do you think are on a tree?

A story I decide to share with the students was Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. Lois Ehlert’s book Leaf Man follows a group of autumn leaves as they are blown by the wind over fields, past orchards, through prairie meadows, and across lakes and rivers. The leaves start out in the shape of a man and take on different configurations as they travel east, west, north, and south, going where the wind blows.


Our classroom journey with Leaf Man (flow of lesson)

I introduced the story by playing a sound recording of wind. This was done purposely to encourage children to begin thinking and exploring their sense of hearing … to begin naming their observations (signs) of autumn. (A conversation we were already exploring “Ms. Saenz it is so windy, I think that is why the leaves fall on the ground.”)

Other observations we discussed in the classroom included: How the air begins to feel crisper, especially in the morning when we walk to school, or wait outdoors. Students shared that sometimes the air begins to smell a bit different, it smells like soil. One child noticed that he saw morning dew on the windows of his mothers car… after these rich conversations I introduced the book…

We looked at the cover and together explored…

  • What they think the picture on the cover is. Identify what Leaf Man is made of.
  • Where has Leaf Man been, what could he be doing? Is he planning something? Does he go to school? Where does he live?
  • Name the different colours, shapes, and sizes of each leaf that makes up Leaf Man.

Invitations to explore, recreate, story tell

I didn’t take any pictures of the leaf man provocation in our classroom. However, I have included some photographs of other Kindergarten Leaf Man provocations for inspiration.

I love looking at the beautiful work of other passionate educators, there’s always so much to learn.

After reading the book with my students, I created a provocation of leaves, stones, and sticks and asked the children if they could create their own leaf person. I recored/scribed and supported children in their efforts at writing about what their leaf person was doing. I was also looking for children to express a connection with/understanding of the story we read.

Below is what our classroom display turned out to look like. I’ve also included samples of the students’ work and their thinking:

Moving forward

I’m excited to extend this activity in the future to include family partnerships and mathematics. I will do this by sending home a paper lunch bag inviting families to collect leaves they find outdoors.  

I love this idea from Early Years ideas from Tishylishy:

Mathematics Connection:

Once in class students gather together with their bags of leaves. I’ll place the hula hoops on the floor, overlapping them to create a Venn diagram. Choose a couple of leaves to sort by attributes and have students take turns adding their leaves. For example, if sorting by color, place a red leaf on the left, a yellow leaf on the right, and a red and yellow leaf in the center.

Examples of Letters that can be sent home:

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” “Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” “Notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” –unknown

Image result for autumn quotes


Our Month of October

Wow! What an October… we had soo much fun. Below are some of the daily experiences we engaged in!!

I’ll begin with math…

Ten frames are a simple tool that can help children immensely when it comes to counting, adding, and subitizing. It’s really amazing how much learning children get from these simple activities.

I noticed that even if a child can recognize the numeral symbol for a number they may not truly understand what that numeral represents unless they count each item one-to-one. Working with ten frames helps develop number sense because they actually understand number quantity rather than just identifying the number symbol.

Subitizing is the ability to instantly recognize the number of objects in a small set or arrangement without counting.

Using ten frames helps children see the quantity of each number and understand “how many” without counting. For example, eventually children will see the top row full and automatically know that’s five. This is the base skill needed for the ability to combine numbers from sets (like 5+2) and develop mathematical fluency.

What I observed children doing when they used the Ten Frames…



Here pictured above I observed a children sorting objects and counting each one. This was a very popular activity for children to naturally extend after using the ten frames. We focused on developing success, one of the most important goals was to help the students engage in using one-to-one correspondence.

While some students can recite the number sequence accurately (i.e. say 1, 2, 3, etc.) they are developing their understanding of maintaining one-to-one correspondence when counting a set of objects. Children not using one-to-one correspondence will not co-ordinate saying the number names with taking the counters one by one. Some will say more than one number per object; others will take more than one object per number.

I used google eyes as a counting manipulative and spiders on webs, I noticed these dice games helped strengthen number recognition, base 10 understanding, and addition and subtraction skills. Students roll a dice and then place that number of spiders on the web or google eyes. You may use a standard dice, numeral dice or any type of number representation type of dice to differentiate, support or extend

Students also picked a recipe card and counted out the objects to create the witches’ brew in the witches house, —dramatic centre!!


Alphabet Brew provides opportunities for students to recognise letters and practise the sounds that they make. Spooky Eyes are labelled with each letter of the alphabet and placed in a cauldron (Clear container). Students then select a spooky eyeball and say the sound of the letter written on the eyeball and use a bingo dabber to mark off the letter.


I am learning more about how to use our classroom word wall, I am discovering that an INTERACTIVE Word wall that allows children to access daily is most beneficial. Words used on the word wall are most helpful when they’re meaningful to the children. I believe this means the children’s names and certain words they like to write often should always be included. I also decided to include words and pictures used during specific lessons and surrounding holidays or special events relevant to the children’s daily experiences. Pictured below, is a photograph of a child’s inspirational drawing after i added some words.


Simple enough that the children could memorize it and recite it! The Halloween Sound Poem for Halloween was a hot –such a great way to encourage children to get creative with making sound effects and practicing our popcorn words!IMG_1346


Classroom Field Trip

We learned all about pumpkins, picked various classroom pumpkins (cinderella, knucklehead pumpkins, Jack-o-lantern pumpkins)… this sparked our interested into learning more about pumpkins.

We learned that Pumpkins have thick shells which contain pulp and seeds. Scientifically speaking, pumpkins are a fruit (they contain seeds) but when it comes to cooking, they are often referred to as vegetables. Pumpkins are usually shaped like a sphere (ball).

We extended our learning by reflecting on what we learned on our field trip… 

On the trip students noticed some pumpkins were open on the pumpkin patch… I used the photograph pictured above to help use reflect on what we wanted to learn more about the pumpkin… and begin exploring deeper the inside of the pumpkin. (I pictured the photograph on the smart board as we shared what we learned thus far).


Exploring a pumpkin activity

Fall is the perfect time of year to explore pumpkins! We got to see what was inside the pumpkin… I started by holding up the pumpkin for the children to see and asked them to predict what the inside of a pumpkin looks like. What color will the inside be? Will it be wet or dry? Once opened… I asked questions such as, “How does it feel?” or “What does it smell like?” to develop oral language, communication, and vocabulary.

Example of questions: (Connect these to the 5 senses)

  • How does it feel?
  • Is it hard, soft, mushy, slimy?
  • What does it smell like?
  • Can you hear anything?
  • Do you think we can eat this pumpkin?
  • Does it remind you of anything else you have smelled or touched before?
  • What color is the pumpkin?
  • What color are the seeds?


Inspired by real pumpkins –We used the pumpkins to create some Pumpkin Still Life Art using black markers and watercolours. Students observed the “ribs” (lines), the “skin” (green, orange, brown, purple), and the textures, size and weight or pumpkins.


“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of Autumn” –Joe. L. Wheeler