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NumberFix: Exploring Money Calculations & Story Writing with "Benny's Pennies."

A Writing Across the Curriculum Lesson from NumberFix
Math Topic: tallying data Students Write: a decorated sentence about favorite ice cream

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Tallying Those
Favorite Flavors
hosting an ice cream party that teaches tallying

This writing across the curriculum lesson was written by NNWP Teacher Consultant, Karen McGee, who believes it would work well with students in grades 3-6. Karen used it with her third grade class.

This lesson was proposed to NumberFix using this template. If you have a math/mentor text lesson you'd like to have published, fill out the template and send it to Holly Young, our NumberFix Coordinator: We'll send you an NNWP Print Publication if we post your lesson here!

Lesson Overview & Objective:

Using Tim’s Ice Cream Store, a leveled book published by National Geographic, Windows on Literacy, (ISBN 0-7922-4616-0), students will think about and discuss the question, “Which ice cream flavor do you like best?” As kindergarten students listen to the story, they will predict which flavor of ice cream will be the favorite in the story as well as which will be the favorite within their own classroom. Using a tally sheet, the students will then be able to keep track of the favorites.

If you don't have a copy of Tim’s Ice Cream Store (which contains great examples of tallying favorite ice cream flavors, but which may be hard to obtain), you can use Curious George Goes to the Ice Cream Shop, but you'll need to prepare an additional mini-lesson on tallying data around the Curious George book's content.

Writing Skill (Trait) to Stress
while Teaching this Lesson:

The focus trait in this writing assignment is conventions; the goal is for each student to write a sentence about his favorite ice cream correctly, using the tally chart, interactive writing chart, and sentence strips as a guide.

Materials List:

  • Tim's Ice Cream Store by Rachel Griffiths and Margaret Clyne (if you can find a copy)
  • Curious George Goes to an Ice Cream Store by H. A. Rey (if you can't find the mentor text about Tim's Ice Cream Store)
  • The Ice Cream Song on a chart (see picture below for words)
  • Tally sheet on a chart (see picture below for flavors)
  • Blank chart paper for interactive writing
  • Construction paper and markers.

Teacher Instructions:

Step One (sharing a published model): Before reading Tim's Ice Cream Store to the students, set up some background information with questions like: How many of you have ever gone to an ice cream store? Do you have a favorite kind of ice cream? Do you know what a tally sheet is? Why would anyone use a tally sheet? As you read the story, stop frequently to confirm what students already know and predict how many ice creams will be sold next. Begin using language such as the same as, more than, less than. When you get to page 11 in the text, show the students how the tally mark for five is made. If your students already know how to count by fives, practice that skill aloud again, and then discuss how the tally mark for five makes counting easier. At the end of the book, ask students to total the tallies.

If you end up using Curious George Goes to an Ice Cream Store instead of the harder-to-find Tim's Ice Cream Store, you'll simply need to create a "learn how to tally" activity and mini lesson that goes along with the story.

Step Two (introducing models of writing): Share the Ice Cream Song chart with the students. Using Shared Reading techniques, first sing the song aloud two times, pointing to each word while singing. Next sing the song in chunks as in Echo Reading (I sing a chunk, students repeat that chunk.) Last, sing the song whole group. Finally, have the students sing the song in various combinations of groups (ie. all the boys, all the girls, everyone wearing blue, all students who have a “d” in their names).

At a later time, ask students to be the pointer when singing, ask students to point out specific words or letters, high light specific words or letters, match sentence strip words to the chart. Explain to the students that they, too, will be allowed to pick a favorite ice cream to eat and write about.

Step Three (thinking, eating ice cream, and pre-writing): Day 1: Using interactive writing on a chart, write the sentence: We love ice cream. Then introduce the students to the chart showing the Tally Sheet they will complete after they’ve had an ice cream party. THE BIG DECISION: At this point you will have to decide whether you will let the children have a small sample of all four kinds of ice cream before voting on a favorite, or having them vote before tasting and then eating that single ice cream cone. After eating, the students come to the chart, one-by-one, to place a tally mark on the chart. Just as they did in the story, the children will predict which flavor will be the winner and will use the mathematical language of more than, less than, same as or equal.

After the Tally Sheet is completed, return to the Interactive Chart and write: We ate chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and mint ice cream. ______ was the favorite. Yum! Yum!

Day 2: Students will write a page for a class book: I like _______ ice cream. They must write this sentence correctly, using the group charts and sentence strip words as guides for spelling and punctuation. If they choose to add more than a single sentence, they may do so using inventive spelling. To illustrate the page, each child will be given a rectangle from light brown construction paper and a square from paper the color of ice cream they liked the best. Teach the children how to cut a triangle from the rectangle to make the cone and round the corners from the square to make a circle for the ice cream. Glue the ice cream cone onto the page.

Publishing: Each student reads his page aloud to the class, and then the pages are assembled together for a class book.

EXTENSION MATH ACTIVITY: As a homework assignment, students may be given the Tally Sheet to take home and use with family members and/or neighborhood friends. It might be necessary to attach a parent note so that an adult can support the activity. Celebrate the Tally Sheets which get returned to class by allowing the students who do return them to share their experiences and learning.

Do you have student samples to share?

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for all grade levels for this writing across the curriculum lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Samples for the lesson on this page can be posted for review at this posting site.



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