Introducing Attributes in Guided Math


We’re in the final countdown, folks. 39 instructional days until Summer Break and only 9 more instructional days until SPRING BREAK! It’s that time of year when first graders really start to take off!

Because we worked them so hard on double digit addition and subtraction these last few weeks, we were ready to take a break and move into a different type of thinking: geometry. In first grade, we are expected to be able to identify and describe shapes based on their attributes. What better way to introduce this than with some math disguised as some sneaky fun?!

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Double Digit Addition Strategies

This year, my school has decided to put a huge emphasis on what it means to have “number sense” in the primary grades. In order for this to happen, we had to put an emphasis on a few key questions:

  • What does it mean to be fluent?
  • How do we assess number sense?
  • What are the “wish list” strategies that we want kids to come in with at each grade level?

No, we don’t have the answers to all of these yet, but we do have a strong(er) grasp on what we DON’T want to do with our kids.

In first grade – we did NOT want to teach them algorithms that were only going to hinder their understanding as they progressed through the grades. So, as one of my teammates said, “We don’t stack, we go flat!”

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Andy Shane – The Perfect Transitional Chapter Book Series

Have you heard of Andy Shane? I had not either until just a couple of weeks ago.


Up until now, introducing chapter books to my guided reading groups had been a major source of stress and anxiety. I completed my student teaching in Kindergarten, did a long term sub in Kindergarten, and did my first year of teaching in Kindergarten…I was comfortable with helping the little man become a reader. But when it came to those kids who already knew how to read, I felt like I had nothing to offer! That is, until I met my newest friend Andy Shane. Continue reading