## Monday, September 15, 2014

### Classroom Inventory

I spent the first three days of our number sense and place value unit getting the kids counting up a storm.  It's called Classroom Inventory.  "Hey kiddos.  I need your help.  We have so many tools in our classroom, and I've no idea how many we have.  If another teacher asked to borrow our unifix cubes, wouldn't it be nice to know that all of them were returned?  So you get to help me inventory or count some of the tools in our room."  It goes something like that.

Classroom inventory allows them to practice counting strategies.  It also gives me information about many facets of their counting skills and number sense.  After I pair them up and get them started with objects, blank paper, and clipboards, I meander.  I observe, question, prompt, and cross my fingers that someone will invent a useful strategy that must be shared.  A simple strategy might simply be moving the objects as they're counted.  As soon as I observe something worthwhile like this, I call everyone over to see the strategy in action and be challenged to try it too.

The strategy I'm really looking for is grouping by tens though.  Here's a picture of what I found on day two.

Yea!  Alex and Hyrum grouped their cubes by tens.  I called everyone over to see what they'd done and hear about it too. We dubbed it "The Alex and Hyrum Strategy." It spread like wildfire and by day three, I was seeing this:

I've shared just a taste of what classroom inventory has to offer.  If this intrigues you in the least, you should check out this short article about it.  It will fill in lots of holes that I just don't have time to talk about.  Click on the graphic to get your own copy.

Lastly, I just have to share what Alex wrote on his clipboard when he and Hyrum grouped and counted 194 cubes.  He's one smart cookie!

1. Saved it in my iBooks ! Great idea

Renee

1. Renee, thanks for thinking this is worth saving. It's a keeper for me.

2. You post immediately made me think about that article! A must read for all primary and intermediate teachers! I have done this with kids all the way up to grade six and have been amazed at what kids do and don't know about counting, organizing and keeping track.

Tara
The Math Maniac

1. Tara, I thought about mentioning that it could be beneficial through the upper elementary grades. I'm glad you mentioned it!

3. I love how you name the strategies you observe them using after the students! Great motivation for others to use it too!
Lori
Conversations in Literacy

1. Lori, it does motivate them. It heightens their awareness when we can put a meaningful name to it.

4. I think this idea is great! Sometimes I have had individual kids who just need a moving activity count things for me. I really like the picture with the grocery store word wall in the background.
Laurie