Sunday, June 10, 2018

Thumbs Up for a First Grade Math Freebie

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Are your first grade students confident of their answers in math? Can they justify their responses if challenged? Do they know if an expression is thumbs up/true or thumbs down/false?

Supposedly, federal agents are trained to recognize counterfeit currency by carefully studying the details of the real thing. The thinking behind this is that they'll know the details of the real money so well that the counterfeit will pop right out when they see them. There are so many ways to counterfeit, but only one way to make the actual bill.

Now, not being a federal agent {I'm thinking that doesn't surprise any of you ;) }, I don't even know if this story is true. But being someone who's been a teacher for many years, I can tell you for sure that the same principle applies in math. There are often a lot of "counterfeit" answers that seem like the correct answer if you don't think hard about it, but there's only one correct answer. {Okay, that last bit is arguable, I suppose, but less frequently in math than in other areas, right? :) 5+5 will never be 11! }

That's the idea behind "Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?" math games. With lots of practice, it gets to be easy to tell the math counterfeits from the true math facts.  Here's a set for second grade.

There are versions available for kindergarten through fourth grade. See them all here!

Each grade level version has ten games, with each game focusing on a Common Core math standard for that grade. There's some great thinking involved, as students evaluate expressions that quite often look like the real thing, but after closer checking are just counterfeits!

The games are also fun to play. Your kiddos will love being silly when they say "Sorry, Charlie!", "No, Sir-ee!", or "You'd better believe it!" as they put their cards on their mats.

So, give me a "thumbs up" if you'd like a sample of the first grade set! This set of cards and sorting mat includes sample expressions from the other games in the set. It would be great to use as an end of year math center review game in first, or a "let's get those brains in gear again" game time at the beginning of second grade.

Just click here to download your copy. Enjoy!

This post was originally published at Teaching Blog Roundup.

Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Keep Math Minds Active All Day Every Day!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

I'm a big believer in making the most of "down" moments during the school day, like when your students are lining up to leave the classroom or when everyone is trying / struggling to find a page in a textbook, except for those three students who were there almost before you finished saying the number. Keeping all kids' minds active all the time sets the expectation that school is where you're always learning something new!

Where do these moments happen in your building? 

* Outside your classroom door, as students line up to come in.
* Inside your classroom, as students line up to leave throughout the day
* In the cafeteria line
* Wherever your students line up for buses at dismissal
* Outside Specials classrooms, like Art and Music, as you and your students wait for the previous class to come out
* If you take your students as a class to use the boys room and girls room, soooo much time can fly by! I know that other teachers have given me funny looks when they pass by and hear me challenging my students with things like, "Give me five names for 10" as I hold up five fingers for them to "knock down", but the kids actually love it!

Long ago, I started a list of times and places like that, which then led to another list of what I refer to as "quick think" activities to fill those moments.

Here are a few math ideas that are on the "quick think" list.

* Play mental math games while you're in waiting mode, like "I'm Thinking of a Number". This game is so easy to differentiate for any level by varying the difficulty of the clues, from "It's two more than 5" to "It's $.45 less than $3", right on up through fractions and decimals. Plus, it's 100% no-prep!

* Use math logic riddles!  Enlarge a riddle task card and post it inside and outside your classroom door, or post a bunch of them around your building, especially in those spots that often keep students waiting!  As your students solve these, they're not only practicing math skills, but inference and deductive reasoning, too!

* Post Hink Pink math riddles around your building, especially in those "waiting" places. Do you know about Hink Pinks? I first heard about them from my college roommate. A Hink Pink is a riddle with a two word answer, with each word having one syllable.  So the answer to "What do you call a much-loved 3D shape that has no edges or corners?" is "Dear Sphere".  There are also Hinky Pinkys (two-syllable words) and Hinkety Pinketys (three-syllables).  

How about "a chewable answer to an addition problem"?  It's a gum sum!

"A straw to use with a six-sided solid"?  Cube tube!

Yes, Hink Pinks are silly, but they're such a fun way to keep your kiddos thinking, and to make learning math vocabulary fun!

* Are you responsible for a shared bulletin board in your hallway?  Keep it easy by loading it up with math challenges!  Post math riddle cards, Hink Pinks, or do a quick search for math riddles for kids.

Q: If two's company and three's a crowd, what are four and five?
A: Nine!

Keep math fun handy for early finishers by putting a math brain teaser up on your interactive board, or by creating a challenge board or box in your math center.

The idea is to not waste those waiting times (the minutes lost add up quickly!). Instead, fill those moments with short "quick think" activities that will keep math fun for your students!

If you like the math task cards that were shown in this post, you can get the set of 24 two-digit pirate riddle cards here in English and here in Spanish, plus lots more kinds of math riddle task cards in many topics at levels K-4 here.

Looking for more Hink Pinks?  Barb Evans at It's About Time, Teachers blog is the Queen of Hink Pinks!
Looking for an all-school math activity that's super-fun? Read about Yohaku, a math game that has The Elementary Math Maniac's whole student body and even the teachers involved!

Happy Teaching!


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Making Math Visual with Ten Frames

Hi, Teaching Friends!

What's your favorite tool for making math visual for your little learners?

In my book, one of the simplest, most versatile, and most effective is ten frames!

Ten frames are the ultimate example of a visual math tool that helps your students transfer  smoothly from a hands-on experience, to a paper-and-pencil visual representation of a concept, to an in-the-head tool.  And the simple in-your-head visual tool is something your students will carry with them and use far beyond the primary grades.

After all, in a very quick, subconscious sort of way, isn't a mental ten frame what you use when you want to know how many more minutes you have for your lesson when lunch is at 12 and it's 11:52 now?  Or when you have 19 watercolor sets out for your 30 students, and need to know how many more to dig out of the back of your supply closet?

A few quick thoughts and tips for using ten frames:

*  Laminate a set and have your students use them with play dough. It's so much fun to pinch and roll those little balls of dough, place them in the ten frames, and pound them to count to ten! Nice for  fine motor development, too!

*  Keep a stash of blank printed ten frames on hand to use with those fun seasonal erasers or rubber stamps. Fun, motivating, and effective!

*  More blank printed ten frames? Check out what this young man is doing. Do you see how a ten frame takes him from the concrete to representational to abstract stages? Lots of learning for him, low-prep for you!

Have your students create the materials for a ten frame center activity.  This is so motivating, and it really encourages neat coloring when you tell them that only the very best ones can be used! ;)  Just have your students color and cut ten frames as shown above.  Then grab several batches of multiple ten frames and put each batch in a separate storage container. Plastic soap boxes or small photo boxes work great for this.

To use, students assemble as many ten frame "puzzles" as possible with the pieces in the box. Differentiate by choosing whether assembling is enough for your students, or perhaps having them write the equations for each ten frame. This is fun for partner work, too. One partner assembles the ten frame, the other says the number model shown, and then they reverse roles.

*  My very favorite tip for using ten frames is to teach your students to draw their own.  I LOVE the way Leslie at Kindergarten Works has explained this so clearly, in a way that even the youngest students will get.  Teaching this process explicitly will save you so much time, and promote your students' independence! Click here to see it.

This is an easy way to teach how to draw a ten frame - perfect for kindergarten

If you're looking for a new math center activity for using ten frames, here's one you'll like! Click here to see it at my TpT store!

Please leave a comment to share how you use ten frames!                                             

Happy Teaching!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Beat Spring Fever with a Spring Math Game Freebie!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Has Spring Fever struck in your classroom yet? We all know that it takes just one day of nice weather to get it going ... a sunny day of warm winds blowing on the playground ...

And after Spring Break? Well, that's another thing that we all know:  you're going to need every trick you've got to keep your students' attention!

What's the A#1 way to keep your students engaged in learning, even when Spring Fever has taken hold? Keep sprinkling the learning with fun!

And what's the easiest way to keep things fun AND keep the learning moving forward, too?  My vote goes to GAMES!!  Games are a wonderful learning tool all year, but in spring, they can be a sanity-saver!

*  When your students are playing games, chances are great that they're going to stay focused longer, and that means they'll be getting more practice, no matter what skill the games are designed to reinforce.

*  Playing games will also continue to promote the social skills that you've been teaching all year, like taking turns, using kind and respectful language, being a good loser ... and a gracious winner, too!

*  When your students are playing games and you've established rules that will help them be independent, you'll be able to carve out some time for one-on-one end of year tasks, like reviewing portfolios and testing.

Second grade teachers, here's my latest set of math games for your classroom, 15 spring games for addition, subtraction, and place value. 

All of the games are just one page, truly easy-prep! All of the games come in both color and black & white - nice for sending home for extra practice, and a great homework alternative! Plus, no cards to print means no cards to lose! These games are a super easy way to fill your math centers and math rotations for spring.

The games in this set were designed to build your students' number sense. Many of them also promote strategic thinking, like making the choice whether to add or subtract on a turn, or where to place a line to complete a square, or whether it's a better strategy to play your move or block your opponent.

Would you like to try a free game from this set?

Here's "Every Birdie's Adding",  loaded with opportunities for strategic thinking! Click to download your copy!

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December Updates and Freebies!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Thanks for hanging in with me on this poor neglected little blog! Grab a mug of hot chocolate (candy cane stirrer and nice big squirt of whipped cream preferred!) and settle in to read for just a bit. I'd like to share a few updates and freebies with you today!

I've been busy updating and adding to winter resources like this one, Winter Word Work.

This set has seven literacy games and activities that are perfect for your winter centers as well as small groups. All of the activities are built around core winter vocabulary like shovel, icicles, snow, slide, mittens, shiver, skate, and 23 more. You'll find activities in this set that will get your students to look closely at these words, like noun/verb sorts, alphabetical order, small group vocabulary bingo, and word cubes with task cards. There's even a set of 30 riddle cards (you can see some in the picture above) and a board game to use with them.

This set of winter subtract-and-color games was also recently updated. How fun is it to play a subtraction game (alone or with a partner) that can then become a cute decoration for classroom windows or a bulletin board!

There are five games in this first grade set now, perfect for a math lesson or center activity when your firsties are particularly wiggly... like, any day in December!

There are a few other new winter resources in my TpT store ( click here to see them all), but here's one last resource, a Christmas math set that I don't want you to miss!

These ten one-page games are a great way to review first grade math topics all month. The bonus for YOU is that they are truly no prep. All you need to do is print the single page (no cards!! yippee!!), laminate, and give your students dice and erasable markers. You can make it even easier and save on color ink, too, by printing the blackline version that's included for all ten games - make them for one time use and you won't even need to laminate! Check them out here.

And now for those freebies!

This one is an oldie but goodie, and great for December math!

These six  December graphs are definitely in line with the standards, in case any administrator happens to pop in! There's even a cover included, so you can turn your graphs into a class book!

This freebie was previously featured on a collaborative blog, but I don't think I've ever shared it here. Roll a die, double the number, and then add two. The first player to mark four spaces in a row is the winner. Just click on the picture to download your copy.

This one-page addition strategy game is a bonus add-on to a free set of three addition strategy games that you can find here in my TpT store.

Have fun with your kiddos in the busy days ahead!

Happy Teaching!

Monday, October 23, 2017

October Math Treats to Use Right Now!

Hello, Friends!

Here we go, approaching the end of October, and what's likely the busiest time of the school year... and one of the busiest seasons in your outside of school life, too. I'd like to (re)share some oldies but goodies that might be useful to you right now. AND - all of these math resources are free!

These resources were previously shared on Teaching Blog Roundup.

If you are a first grade teacher, you know that there's no such thing as too much practice on the 120 chart. With so many of you working on place value early in the year (!!!), I hope that Pumpkin Party Flip-and-Find will help move your littles along in the process.

If you're looking for more activities for the 120 chart, click here to see more than 20 of them
 at my TpT store, including several more free items!

Pumpkins are everybody's favorite for October, so here are two ways to include them in your October teaching.  First is this little set of pumpkin themed subtraction word problems.

... and here is a set of two solve-and-color pages that use ten frames.

Enjoy, and have lots of October fun!

Happy Teaching!

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