Monday, September 10, 2012

Zero the Hero

We all know that 10 is an anchor number in our number system and we all understand how important it is.  Yesterday I shared our Calendar Math routine.  We have a sneaky way to get students to work with and "make 10" every day!

Every tenth day Zero the Hero visits our classroom! Since Zero the Hero brings treats when he visits the students eagerly anticipate his next visit.  Every day we are excited to figure out how many more days until he visits again!  For example, today was day 15,  I hold up the Ten Frame that we added the 5th dot to and the students quickly say, "Oh, Zero the Hero will be here in 5 more days." I reply, "That's right, 5 and 5 make 10!"  I might do this with the bundles of popsicle sticks or the hundreds board.  When I ask how many more days until Zero the Hero visits, the whole class quickly figures out the answer!  I always answer with, "That's right because 4 and 6 make ten." Or whatever it may be.

Here are a few pictures from our first Zero the Hero visit.  (Day 10)
The office delivered this special package to our classroom!  It said, "To Ms Gilbert's Monkeys" and was covered in Z's and 0's.
Inside was a letter, a balloon, a cape, Zero the Hero's special helper and Zero treats (donuts shaped like 0's!)  
Our Calendar Math area on Day 10.  (Since it was day 10, we used the number 10 instead of the date for all of our activities.)  When you make the bundle of straws or sticks, say you are not just going to use a rubber band, you are going to use a Zero Band!  Then hold up your rubber band and show them it looks like a 0!  The kids really think it is a zero band, not just a rubber band!
 Zero the Hero visits every 10th day.  He leaves a letter and a treat and his helper is always hidden somewhere in the room.  My awesome team member Kathy writes the cutest little poems/letters from him!  The treats are always shaped like a 0.  We use gummy lifesavers, fudge round cookies, donuts, peach rings, or honestly whatever is buy one get one free at the grocery store!  This only happens until the 100th day.  On that day Zero the Hero's letter tells us it is his last visit.  (Honestly, the teachers are broke and tired of finding 0 shaped treats by then!)

I also choose a special little friend to wear the cape and be calendar helper that day.  They get to wear the cape until it becomes a distraction or until recess.  It is a big honor!

My team got the original idea of Zero the Hero at the Singapore Math conference in Las Vegas a few years ago.  I know Catherine Kuhns talks about it in her Number Sense books.  My team has just added to those ideas and adapted them a bit each year.


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