Unit 1 Math Minutes

Counting Mat: As students progress through our Math Expressions curriculum, you may hear them refer to their “Counting Mat” This is a white tray area in which we use our manipulatives.

Daily Routines: You may hear your child talking about doing “Daily Routines”. This is a 25-minute block of time in which we practice Math skills and concepts to develop fluency. This is also a time of day for re-teaching or extending the curriculum. All students will learn to lead and use the following materials: The 120-Poster, the Money Chart and the Giant Number Cards.

Fingers: Children use their fingers as their first tools when they develop number sense. Kindergarten students will be encouraged to use their fingers frequently throughout our math curriculum. Encouraging children to use their fingers in different ways will help them learn different ways of counting and understanding numbers.

Helping Community: In our classroom it is my goal to set up an environment where children are not competing but striving to help one another. I want each student to understand the math we are learning. This goal requires that we all work together to build our skills of collaboration and cooperation. Ask your child how they have been a helper in our Math classroom.

Language and Vocabulary Development: The Math Expressions curriculum is rich in vocabulary and encourages students to talk about their math thinking. Many new math words are introduced and explored but mastery is not expected. While using the graph mat the words horizontal and vertical are introduced. At home help students visualize things they do horizontally (sleeping) and things they might do vertically (walking).

Quick Practices: This is the first part of our math lesson daily! It gives students time to practice newly acquired math knowledge. Many times the practices are student led. Quick Practice activities are repeated for several lessons to help students become fast and accurate with a concept.


Unit 2 Math Minutes

Finger Freeze: Students use the ten “finger freeze” and then individual fingers to see, hear, and feel the ten on ones patterns in numbers 11-20. Ask them to demonstrate it for you!

Math Talk – Making Errors: We are working on sharing our math ideas in a safe learning environment. Some students are hesitant to share their math work for fear of being incorrect. Our Math Expressions curriculum suggests you can help your child change their perspective of errors by doing the following. Respond to errors as opportunities to learn. Model this when you make an error yourself by saying, “Oh, that’s all right, I see what I did, I think I can figure out a way to fix it”.

Math Stories: Students will be participating in and may talking about “Senarios” in which they will be learning about adding, subtracting, matching and finding partners of numbers. It demonstrates mathematical concepts in a visual way, which helps students remember. Telling math stories with your child will help set the stage for solving addition and subtraction story problems in the future.

Number Writing: Throughout the Math Expressions curriculum students will have many opportunities to practice number writing. Research shows that children have more control over smaller motor coordination and will learn to write numerals such as those modeled on the practice pages quickly. The student activity pages, which ask students to trace/discriminate, help children generalize numbers of various sizes.

Patterns at Home: To reinforce your child’s learning of pattern try this at home. Collect 10 small items of one kind and 10 small items of another kind (buttons, macaroni, pebbles, beads, etc.) Ask your child to arrange them in a repeating pattern on a piece of paper and then glue in place.

Reading Number Books: Reading Number books or books with mathematical concepts can be a great way to strengthen your students understanding of math in real life scenarios. Check out the following titles to get started.

  • Each Orange Had Eight Slices: A Counting Book by Paul Giganti Jr.
  • Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Ehlert
  • Frog Counts to Ten by John Liebler
  • Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni
  • Is it Red? Is it Yellow? Is it Blue? by Tana Hoban
  • Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
  • Ten Bears in My Bed: A Goodnight Countdown by Stanley Mack
  • Ten Little Fish by Audrey Wood
  • 26 Letters and 99 Cents by Tana Hoban


Unit 3 Math Minutes

Body In Space Activities: Students love doing our “Body-In-Space” math activities. These activities are designed to help students with spatial awareness, eye-hand coordination, visual perception, vocabulary development and geometric spatial learning. The author of our Math Expressions curriculum developed them with the assistance of a behavioral optometrist! Ask your child to demonstrate some of the “moves” we do!

Break Apart Stick and Partners: The Math Expressions curriculum continues to build understanding of number by introducing the “break-a-part stick” (a popsicle stick) as a tool to divide a set of objects (a number) to see the partners. Ask your child to demonstrate this at home for you by using small objects and a straw, stick or other object as the “break-a-part stick”.

Giant Number Cards – Showing Teen Numbers: Students are learning how to use our Giant Number cards to represent teen numbers (beginning the concept of place value). They will slide the 1-card over the 10-card to show 11. Then the number 2-card over the 10-card to show 12 and so forth.

Math Tools: The Math Expressions curriculum has some manipulatives that we use that are unique to this program. Perhaps your child has mentioned number and counting tiles, 5-strips, nickel strips or +/- tiles to you. Ask your child what they used in math today to help them learn!

Number Writing: Beginning in Unit 3 students will write numerals in order from 1-20. Students will practice this skill in class as well as on their homework pages. They will practice numbers in both horizontal and vertical columns. If you notice your child is struggling with this skill please take some time for additional practice at home.

Shapes: Throughout our Math learning this year, students will have experiences with a variety of shapes They will learn the attributes of each shape and discover that shapes can be all different sizes and rotate in different ways yet remain the same shape. As you and your child explore the world look for and name shapes you see!

Using a Balance Scale: Students have experienced using the balance scale in math this week. We learned that it is used to compare the weight of objects. We practiced using words like heavy, heavier, light, lighter, up, down and balance.


Unit 4 Math Minutes

Teen Numbers on the 1-20 Board: Working with the 10-sticks and the centimeter cubes on the 1-20 Board helps to develop fine motor skills and organization as well as an understanding of the numbers. Ask your child to describe this math tool to you and how they build numbers on it.

Equation Cards: During Unit 4 as we build teen numbers on our 1-20 boards students are asked to place equation cards on their board to represent the number they built. 12=10+2 and 10+2=12. Understanding that the answer is not always on the right side in an equation is central to algebraic understanding. This helps students be flexible in their mathematical thinking at an early age.

Math Drawings: Students will continue to explore math concepts through story problems. We will begin to use “math drawings” to show our understanding of what is happening mathematically in the story problem.

Math Mountains: Math Mountains are a drawing introduced to students as a fun way to help show the partners of a number. Ask your child to tell you about the tiny tumblers that live on each Math Mountain.



Unit 5 Math Minutes

Body In Space Activities: Kinesthetic spatial concepts continue to be woven into the final units of the year. Body-In-Space activities promote better body awareness, balance and eye-hand coordination. They also continue to reinforce counting and listening skills.

Finger Wiggles: Kindergarten students will learn partners for numbers up to 10 this year. By doing the kinesthetic activities in our lessons, students get to experience “feeling” these partners. They feel the numbers inside of numbers. Ask them to show you their “Finger Wiggles”!

Helping Community – Partner Games: Some of our math activities require students to work together in pairs. This is a great way to foster learning in the child who understands the concept and for the child who is less sure of the concept being taught. It is important for students to understand that good helping does not mean telling the answer. By helping each other, all students can understand the math concept at a deeper level.

Problem Solving: The Math Expressions curriculum uses a meaning-making approach to problem solve, building on students prior knowledge from previous units. We focus on understanding the situation and applying the strategies we have learned to solve the problem. Do not be too quick to jump in and do the work for your child, let them struggle and think on a problem for a while before you intervene. I think you will be surprised by what they can do if given time and encouragement.