Dogs and their bones

Before I begin. let me say that I am blessed to be a member of Saddleback church whose pastor is Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life.  Our service yesterday was dedicated to 9/11 - remembering the events but also about moving forward.  I am so thankful for the first responders and the men and women who fight to keep our country safe.  I can't stop thinking about my partner's son who will be deployed to Afghanistan in October.  My heart is heavy for my friend and her family.  :(  But man, is he ready!  This is why he joined the Marines.  He is READY.

Okay, onto other things.  I have made it to Topic 4 in math.  We use the enVision math program and it's been a learning experience and I still can't decide if I like it or not.  This is 3 years later and the jury is still out.  My biggest gripe is that it tends to introduce a brand new concept (for example, adding in any order) and then that's it.  New lesson and concept the next day and we never see it again until the test.  And as you know from all of my previous posts, it's practically a MIRACLE from HEAVEN that I have enough time in the day to teach math between Language Arts and Recess.  Seriously.

So Topic 4, Lesson 1 introduces subtraction but without really teaching subtraction.  It's the part, part, whole model which is really quite interesting seeing as how that's not how I learned subtraction!!!  :)  At any rate, I just don't like how we jump right into the missing part without really "explaining" how to find it.  I have read the Teacher's Manual over and over to see if I'm missing something but apparently all I'm missing is the missing number.  And it's supposed to just magically arrive in my kids' brains.  Really.  Even the fun little animation video that we watch doesn't explain how to find it.  It just magically appears.  Here's what it looks like:

Well, either the dog ate them or they are in the bowl, right?   I mean, where ARE they?  What kind of question IS that?  I know two bones are missing but that's because I am SMART.  :)  My kids, on the other hand, are just learning how to figure this out and apparently, I get to decide HOW.  I prefer the counting up model . . . as in, one, two, three, four, FIVE, SIX but I present many different ways to help them since the Teacher's Manual does not give ONE IDEA at all.  And let's face it:  this is a life skill so I've got to help them with this!  I use this all of the time!  I can't count how many times I've been to Target with a $20 bill and walked out with $3.  I always know where my missing part is - the Dollar Spot!!!!!  To help the kiddos, I made this . . . 

I printed them on cardstock, laminated them, and stuck magnets on the back.  And then we practiced and practiced and practiced with these.  Maybe you could use them for a center?  Or a smartboard activity?  I don't know.  My kids love them but that's mainly because I have forced my love of dogs onto them and they can't love cats.  Must Love Dogs is rule number three right between Follow Directions and Be Kind to Others.  Click the pic to grab it.

I am off to watch the Finale of Bachelor Pad.  Then what?????  Does anyone know what's coming on next Monday??   


  1. ok it seems as if ALL of the girls got nose jobs...botox...or something doesnt it??? something good better be replacing it!!!!
    didnt know you lived local! i live in lake forest and teach in walnut ( near brea ) :)

  2. You are blessed!! I love Rick Warren. I have his book and our church did an entire series on it!! Wow, so cool!!!

    4th Grade Frolics

  3. Not only are you totally awesome, you are making me popular at school! Homework extension activity? I've got it! Awesome addition practice activity? I've got it! Thanks!
    And thanks for being my first follower! I feel like you should get some kind of prize or something, but since I'm living on student loans you just get my never-ending thanks.

  4. <3 this idea...
    Um hello...Survivor starts this Wednesday...get on board girl! :)

  5. Ok...I am right there with you on EnVision. I am *so* confused with it. To explain, our county just got the series this year- with limited funds, they only purchase the student "handouts" and then the weird teacher file folder manuals. That's it. Nothing else with it. I don't really understand how or why they are teaching basic skills at the beginning of the year in such an abstract way- I prefer simple to start. PLEASE help me out if you figure out what they are doing or better ways to teach/supplement it. My kids have been so confused, I just have been doing the handout in class- a supplemental "old fashioned" page- and then giving a test from a different (old) series. (shh... don't tell) The test handout is the worst- it expects them to create problems- or write fact families without having even been taught how to add! OK..I wills top whining. =) Thanks for any input! Jennifer
    First Grade Blue SKies

  6. I am right there with ya on that math topic. Our series does the same thing. I end up going to my archives to reteach the concept "MY" way....just like good old Frank Senatra.

    Rick Warren...really? You are so blessed to have him. Loved that book.

  7. bahaha I literally laugh out loud every time I read your posts!

    This math program does seem a little lacking! I can't believe they don't provide options for you to explain this method they have chosen. I mean seriously, why would they expect the children to know WHERE the dog bones went?

    But I guess on a positive note, it gives you the opportunity to use a lot of your own supplemental activities (if you have the time for it!)

    You should definitely make a dog with open mouth cut out, laminate, and put magnets on him. Then when you take bones away, the dog can "eat" them, and you just place them behind the dog on the board. hahaha, you know, cause you have all that extra time to do this too! :)

  8. Hey Kristin, It is so good to hear someone else having issues with enVision. We just adopted the series and are trying to figure it out. Its taking soooo long. I am just finishing Topic 2. I can't believe you are already on 4. It just seems like I can barely get a grip on how things are being taught and so therefore its taking us longer.

    Do you have any other tips for this math series. All advice will be graciously taken. Thanks


  9. We just adopted enVision as well. Luckily our system bought the whole kit, but we have been scratching our heads over how vague this series is. How do they the publishers, expect the kids to go from counting a bunch of dots to figuring out missing addends and word problems? We will be starting Topic 4 on Monday, so I will need this for sure! Thank you.

    BTW, lucky you to go to church where you do!

    Also, I think the lady who blogs Oceans of Fun must be an enVision user as well, because she has posted several math games that go right along with all of the Topics that I have taught so far. You might want to jump over and check out her math games.

  10. I also just started with enVision. We have the whole kit, but I seriously struggle with making it all fit the schedule. Not to mention that 5 year-old's filling in bubbles on a test is just not developmentally appropriate! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one frustrated by it all.
    I'll be watching your blog closer now to see how you make the series work for you!

  11. Kristin,

    I have been using EnVision math since I began teaching 3 years ago, & it's terrible for the most part...I do love the cute animated videos & lessons, & I love that I can pull up the exact worksheet they're doing on my Promethean Board to do along with them. However, I'm like you--they don't give you enough time to go in-depth with the topics before they're jumping to something new. All the teachers at my school say the same thing...:( We just started the Common Core Standards in our state (MS) this year, so we're not using all of the math lessons from EnVision because they don't line up exactly with those. But we are supplementing with whatever else we need to do & it seems to be working ok so far. We get to skip most of the "yucky" stuff. :) What we came to the conclusion last year, especially with the addition/subtraction topics, was that you need to look at your benchmarks/objectives. If it doesn't line up with those, then just speed through the lesson and "help" them with the answers...*hint, hint* ;) And then on the test, if there's anything from those, either mark it out or give the answers, or you could use them as a bonus. Just a small suggestion...

  12. I seriously read your first part out loud to my husband- I about died laughing! lol


  13. I TOO use Envision and just did that lesson on Wednesday as well. I taught 3rd grade for the last 4 years and LOVE Envision for them. This is my 1st time teaching 1st grade with Envision, I used to use Everyday Math. I wanted to shoot myself with 4-1...WAY too confusing for them. I used cubes and hid them in a bucket in the classroom for the same concept and had the students do it as well with partners. Anytime you have any tips/advice on Envision, I would love to read. Thanks for sharing!!! I love your blog :)

  14. I'm in 2nd, but using EnVision. I like some aspects of it, but it does seem to just require big leaps of understanding out of nowhere. I thought maybe they were supposed to have learned it in 1st or something, but still. This is my first year with the program and next year I think I'll change around the order. Even this year, I started with basic number sense and using ten frames before we even went into Topic 1, because I felt like we needed it.

  15. Just saw this post. We will be going into our 4th year of using Envision. Most of us are not pleased with it. Next year I will be in K. Not sure how the K material of Envision is but if it's anything like 1st I will not be a fan.