Saturday, August 15, 2015

Find a (Math!) Friend ... An Active Math Freebie!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

I saw a Facebook post the other day about some "new research" that proves that kids learn better when they're moving. The person who posted commented, "Here's a news flash!".  I think we'd all agree with her, wouldn't we? Movement helps the learning stick!

Thinking about movement and learning made me think about a resource that I've been working on for quite a while, and that I finally finished and posted in my Teachers Pay Teachers store this weekend.

When it comes to teaching math, it's always been harder for me to incorporate "big movement" learning than small.  Math centers with cards to match, learning wrap-ups, cut-up hundred chart puzzles to assemble, shaking and rolling dice, lots of manipulatives, clay activities ... all things that keep the small muscles moving, and always a big part of my math teaching.

Gross motor activities for math? Hmmm...

*  Hopping up and back on a floor number line for adding and subtracting

*  Having students hold large number cards, line up in random order, and having another child move them around to put them in correct sequence

*  Building "trains" of number cards that wind around the classroom floor

*  "Crossing the midline" with windmills, but with some math thrown in. Do you know about windmills? I'm not sure, but I think they may have originated with Brain Gym. For our math version, the students sit in chairs, with legs spread apart and feet flat on the floor and arms extended up and out in a Y.  Then tap right hand to left knee ("5!"),  arms back up, then left hand to right knee ("10!"), arms up again, right hand to left knee again ("15!"), and so on. This would be so much easier if I had a video to show you, but it's actually harder to describe than to do, and it's so valuable to your students' learning!

* Whole body graphing, with yes/no questions. All the "yes" responders in one line, all the no responders in another line next to them.  Stand shoulder-to-shoulder.  How many in each line? How many in all?  How many more in one line than the other?

* This super silly activity for skip counting by fives (but kids love super silly!)

* Math songs, quite often accompanied by lots of clapping, stomping, marching, etc.

* Clipboard Field Trips, walking around the building and looking for classroom numbers ... estimating and counting the number of steps from one spot to another ... tallying and counting how many open doors, closed doors, children, and adults we'd see along the way.

Hmmm, I guess there actually are more large motor math activities in my Math-Bag-of-Tricks than I realized!

Which brings me back to telling you about my latest resource. It's something to try if you're looking for ways to add more movement to your math lessons.

Have you used "Find a Friend Who__?" ?  I've just posted a set of 25 Find a Friend activities, but in this set, your students will be finding math friends!  

As they move around the classroom with clipboards, pencils, and a page like the ones in the picture below, your students find "math friends" to complete questions about addition, subtraction, adding and subtracting tens & multiples of ten, telling time, counting back from 100, skip counting ... more than two dozen first grade math skills in all!

Would you like to "try before you buy"?  This sample is for a skill that many kids find to be tricky. Here's an example: 4+3 > 8-2 ... yes or no? Even those that seem to "get" inequality signs are often thrown by it when there is an extra layer of thinking required. Very sorry about the fuzzy image here - the download will, of course, be clear.

Click here or on the cover to download your freebie!

Updated on 9/10/21: Find a Friend math sets are now also available for kindergarten, first grade,  and third grade!

Do you have some favorite large motor activities in your Math-Bag-of-Tricks? Please share your ideas with a comment below!

Happy Teaching!

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