Friday, July 1, 2011

Smoothy Bumper Planet

I introduced Smoothy Bumper Planet to the soon-to-be 1st grader that I am tutoring this summer.  I started out by explaining that it is like a hundreds chart, BUT it has extra special things to help us (like the animals, the smoothies, and the bumpers).  The "bumpers" are the parts of the chart that appear to stick out.  These are numbers that don't follow the pattern you would expect when counting.  For example it is fifty, not fivety; thirteen, not threeteen.  I can see that this would be a great help to my ESL students who struggle with the language of numbers.

My student did not have any difficulty with these numbers but she enjoyed jumping her finger way up high every time she got to a bumpy number.  In fact, a week later I asked her to count something for me and she remembered (I completely forgot) to jump her finger as high as she could every time she saw a bumpy number.  It is fun and it is a great way to incorporate gross motor movements into an activity that could involve no movement whatsoever.  Last year I gave my class party favor witches' fingers to point with whenever we used the chart.  

My tutoring student played the clapper game to practice adding +1.  I called out a number to find and when I clapped she was to add 1 to that number.  She called out the addition sentence.  This is a super easy game that works with one student or the whole class.  I have used this as a quick number sense practice in the mornings with my second graders to practice adding and subtracting 1's, 2's, 10's, 9's, and 11's.  
I love how using Smoothy Bumper Planet incorporates many visual cues, kinesthetic actions, and an oral/auditory element.  You can download the complete Smoothy Bumper Planet book for free when you register on the WBT website.


  1. LOVE the Smoothy Bumper Planet!! Must remember to use it more next year!!!!

  2. Yes, I'm excited to use it more too! Plus you can use it to play any games that you would use a hundreds chart with.

    I'm thinking about printing it out on extra large paper next year and laminating it for each student. If I do, I'll post pics!

  3. Hi there! I'm an American teaching in primary schools in the UK. I've known WBT since it was 'Power Teaching' and I had started using it in my own 1st grade classroom before coming here. At the moment I work as a supply teacher (substitute) so I can acclimate to the curriculum/behaviour here, but I'm SO anxious to be able to use this method again soon! So much has changed and been added since I first started following it.

    I do wonder to you do your planning for lessons to incorporate WBT? Do you write out examples of things you might say, or do you think everything up at the moment?

    I'm sure by now you're so used to it that it comes naturally, but that is one thing that I was curious about.

    In the meantime, I'm having loads of fun reading back through your blog and ideas. It's very helpful so thank you for posting your journey! x

  4. Hi Meg!

    WBT has recently come out with a lesson plan template. If you go to the Free Downloads, the first document is called "WBT Model Classroom." This gives details on lesson plans. There has also been discussion about this on the Forum

    I did not write out everything. As I was teaching I often noticed how I could chunk the lessons up better and when I needed to stop for teach/ok. Before reading about their model, this is an example of what I have written up for a science or social studies lesson for my 2nd graders:
    Introduce vocabulary w/ gestures.
    Students will teach each other as I check for understanding.
    Read p. ____ w/ class stopping to have students teach each other.
    Students will discuss comprehension questions and share with the class using air punctuation.
    Students will then answer the comprehension questions independently in their notebooks in complete sentences.

    Do you get to use some WBT while you sub? Are the UK schools much different?

    Glad to hear from you!

  5. Thanks for that. Schools ARE quite different...for one, the children don't have textbooks so any material is printed from resources the teacher has. They start each lesson with a Learning Objective (LO), which would be the same as standards/strands in the US. They then basically do any work in subject notebooks provided by the school. So in a way, it's helpful to look back over their work to determine if they met the learning objective.

    Oh...and schools here are still in session! They still have about 3 weeks remaining until they're "out for the summer" for 6 weeks. They attend in 1/2 term segments of 6 weeks. So, 6 weeks on, a week off, 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off...and repeat.

    Also, I have used some WBT, recently with a longer term placement I had for about 3 weeks back before Easter. The children love it, but I was told by the TA at the time that my methods were "a bit military" because of how they practised and chanted things. It was an inner city school as well so lots of times the behaviour gets in the way of any teaching.

    Hope you're enjoying your summer!

  6. While searching online I've read some negative responses to WBT much like your TA said. Yes, they practice and chant a lot, but I would say that it is far from military. It is done in a very positive and fun way. If we can create a highly structured environment that allows our students to be successful and enjoy learning, then I think we have done something right! I've been lucky enough to have support from my administrators and parents, but I know other teachers look at me a little funny sometimes. :)