Gummy Candy Math Mentor Text & Number Sense Routines Chapter 1

It's Mentor Text time again! I am linking up a bit late, as I was on a little vacation. I went to St. Louis to visit my sister and her family. My little nephew is going to be a firstie, and he sure is growing up fast! I love how he keeps me up with the times; I learned all about Skylanders. I'm sure I'll be hearing more about them in the new school year.
Back to Collaboration Cutie's Math Mentor Text linky. The book I have chosen is out of print. The other one is one I have not read or do not own, but it might be similar to the one I'm describing.
I start off reading the book first. My students are engaged as the book uses great pictures of gummy candies for counting. After counting and talking about the different numbers, I tell my students that I have some great big gummies to sort. To prep this activity, I made a variety of colored fish and bears with a die cut machine. I had them laminated and put a magnet behind each one. I put them on the board in a mixed up way. Then my students talk in small groups or pairs to discuss how to sort them. Then we sort and graph them in different ways suggested. Afterwards, I gave each child their own bag of real gummy candies to sort and count. Each child documents this in his own math journal. I also used this book when I taught 2nd grade- as they wrote the fractions to show how many of a set were of a particular color or type.
Click above to see other mentor math texts.

I love using this book for introducing sorting and graphing to my students. Click above to get more information about it.

This is a book that seems similar to the one I use. Click above to get more information about it.
Little Minds at Work
I decided to join Tara West from Little Minds at Work on reading this math book, Number Sense Routines. I teach the littles and number sense is what I deal with on a daily basis. I have only read the first chapter so far. It reminds me of Marilyn Burns. When I first started teaching, I couldn't get enough of Marilyn Burns and her Math by All Means series. The series is out of print... but still a great resource! Literature and hands-on activities were included in the math lessons. Marilyn Burns wrote how students responded to the open ended lessons and gave insight into the students' concept of number sense or mathematical thinking. At the beginning of Number Sense Routines, there is an open ended discussion among a small group of students as they try to figure out 600-378. I immediately made a text and personal connection to this.

Questions to ponder from Tara's book study:
1. What is your current comfort level with teaching number sense? At this point of my teaching career, I feel comfortable with teaching number sense in the primary grades. I feel I can reach most of my students. However, when I notice a child struggling, I reteach in different ways. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes not so much. I wonder how I can help and make use of the time I have with my students. What are the best ways to help my students gain a strong sense of number sense? I want to be able to reach all of my students.
2. What have you already started in your classroom to build number sense? When I think about routines that help build numbers sense, I think of the daily calendar activities and weekly estimation activities. This past year, I took down my calendar board and made it digital. (I cannot share my IWB calendar due to copyright laws. However, I did start transitioning with the help from A Teacher's Touch. She posts IWB calendars monthly.) My students have a calendar notebook ( I use Kim Adsit's pack.). We practice counting in different ways. We review concepts. One quick part is using a number line or hundreds chart to think of incredible equations. We have a number for the day- usually the date. For example, today is June 12, so the number 12 would be used. Students tell an incredible equation of how to make 12. Usually at the beginning of the year, it is pretty basic. But by the end of the year, there are different combinations. When students give me an equation, I ask them to explain their thinking and tell how they got their answers.
The other activity happens once a week. Students make a prediction of how many items are in the bag/jar on a sticky note. We sit on the floor in a circle and place these numbers on an  imaginary number line. Then if anyone has the same guess as another- they place it above- making a graph. We then use a file folder that already has the hundreds, tens, and ones labeled. We count our objects, while discussing what numbers can no longer be true due to what we know. I wish I had pictures!
3. What have you considered adding to your classroom that will give your students that much needed "multiple exposures" component? In the past two years, my focus has been to work on teaching math in small groups and making more math games. Before, I had math games out that taught the math concepts we were currently working on. This year, I plan to have math games out for each common core math standard (not every detailed one- but big idea). That way, my students will have opportunities to practice the math skills each week, even though we are not necessarily on that particular skill.
On Thursdays, I am hosting a cooperative learning linky. Join in by linking up or commenting! I am also wondering if anyone wants to host one Thursday over the summer. If interested, please email me at Looking forward to seeing how you use cooperative learning in your classroom. :0)


  1. I love candy and I know the kiddos do too! I will have to check out these books. I found your blog on the Mentor Text Linky and am a new follower! :)

  2. Love the candy books! I am going to have to get those!

  3. How cute! I haven't seen these books, but the activity looks fun! I hate when good books go out of print (like the one I blogged about). It's disappointing.
    Thanks for linking up!
    Collaboration Cuties

  4. My daughter would love the gummy candy book. Although she might revolt if she didn't have a handful of gummy bears while she was listening.
    I like the sorting idea as well.
    Thanks for sharing.

    School Is a Happy Place

  5. I definitely like the sorting involved. Candy is fun for the kids. I wonder if there's another sorting thing that is still cheap but not so hard on the teeth : )
    Feel free to link up your blog to my Math activity Thursday today.
    Kids Math Teacher

  6. I like your weekly estimation activity. So many skills are covered at once!

    Here's the Hoot


Back to Top