Math Tree Maps and Cooperative Groups in First Grade? You Bet!

    Today was the thirteenth day of first grade, and unbelievably, it was also the day of my first official observation of the year! Talk about jumping into things full blast! Our new teacher evaluation rubric talks a lot about cooperative group activities, so I decided to give it a go even though I was a bit hesitant to try doing this so early in the year. 
     To make things more manageable, and for my own sanity, I made my students some Cooperative Group Role Necklaces to wear--this was the perfect use for my freebie nametag necklaces earned from Highlights Magazine orders.  I printed sets of role cards for 5 groups (each set on a different color cardstock), and the roles include jobs such as Group Leader, Writer, Cutting Expert, Glue Helper, Materials Manager, and more.  For this particular activity, I put my students in four groups of five, and tailored the jobs to the task the students were performing.  Overall, it went pretty well, so I thought I'd share! If you would like to download my free Group Role cards to make your own necklaces (or, you could put them in id badge clips) click here!


     To practice working in cooperative groups and to teach some beginning number concepts, my students created a Numbers Tree Map that turned out really well, so I thought I'd share it as well! (Just a warning--I have not taught the Tree Map as a part of our Thinking Map curriculum yet, so this Tree Map is not an "official" thinking map with all of the verbs and frame of reference--I simply wanted to use it to help my students learn to sort and to practice groupwork). 
     I came up with idea after Fran at Kindergarten Crayons shared her wonderful Number Circle Maps during the Math Workstations book study.  To extend the Circle Mapping activity, I decided to challenge my students' thinking by asking them to sort the number cards into a Tree Map. 
     To make the Tree Map, I first put the students into cooperative groups and assigned them roles using the necklaces described above.  Then, I gave each group a baggie with two sets of Fran's spectacular number cards (I gave one group the cards for 3 and 7, another the cards for 2 and 9, and so on).  I also gave each group two pieces of construction paper with their numbers labeled at the top. 
     The students sorted each number picture onto the correct piece of construction paper to make a mini tree map.  After the groups sorted their numbers onto their mini-tree map, we gathered as a class.  Each group shared their thinking regarding their sort, and then they separated their mini tree map to put the numbers in the correct sequence on our large class tree map.  Here is how it turned out! (Sorry about the lamination glare).

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