Last week, I completely bombed in the blogging world. That last Sunday, we threw my mom a surprise Retirement Party! She was completely shocked. After that, my niece and nephew stayed with my parents and we had fun filled days every day! It was a great week.

Now, back on track....

This week, the focus of our discussion is Estimation. Why is estimation important for number sense?

Estimation is a higher level skill that makes students conceptualize and mentally manipulate numbers.

This is HARD for these little ones to understand.

Kids (not just in kindergarten) are so accustomed to finding the CORRECT answer, that they have a hard time letting go of the factual and rearranging their thoughts to the conceptual.

I will even admit that I cringe a little when working on estimation.

At one point, I used to incorporate it daily into my calendar time like this:

This kids would have to estimate how many and give their answer. In the beginning this was good, but soon they caught on and started counting instead of guessing. So I switched methods.

We still do it as a part of calendar time, but instead, I have a jar like this (click pic for link to Post-It idea):

Our week goes like this:

Monday - pass the jar around to have a look. What do you see? Is the jar a little full or a lot? Think about how many might be in there.

Tuesday - show the jar again and count out a small amount (if you have 20 only count 3 or 4, if you have 50 count out about 10....just so they get an idea of what a small amount looks like)

Wednesday - students write their guess on our estimation chart. I've done this two ways and I like the 2nd the best. My chart is laminated so I had them write on their jar with a dry erase marker. This was good, but you would have some who liked to copy what they saw from others. So I got the small Post It notes and had them write their answer at their seat, then go put it on their jar.

* I label their jar by number but you can also write their name on their jar.

Thursday - we count out a few more and I ask if anyone wants to change their answer. Some might and some will keep their answer.

Friday - we reveal the answer and see who is the closest. This is a great time to talk about more and less, we use the 100's chart to see how far off their guess was.

We do this WEEKLY and it really helps build their skills.

You will still have yours who always guess 100, but sooner or later they get the idea.

Estimation is not a tested skill for our district. However, this is such an important skill to help with number sense that I feel it needs to be taught in kindergarten. Tying it in to calendar time makes it simple and easy and less cringe worthy.

What are your ideas for estimation? Come see others at