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!

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