Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Problem with Teaching Math After Lunch (Freebie)

Teach math after lunch? That means you have students who are suddenly sluggish and groggy. They're ready for a nap while you have visions of engaged, bright-eyed students tackling the toughest problems. 

One thing I've found helpful is to start math before they even finish walking in the door. I have a stack of "answer cards" that I lay out on the desks ahead of time. As they walk in the door I hand them a problem card. They need to solve it and find the answer. (Their desk for the day) Every day they will sit in a different spot. 

This strategy has kept students from getting too comfortable, gets them using math right away, is a great review, and sets the tone of the class. Here is a sample freebie to get you started! 


                                                                          Desk Cards

                                                                      Math - It Works

Monday, August 4, 2014

Number Hops (Freebie Included)

Have you tried a Number Hop lately? Just something I've been working on. I've had a lot of requests for quick (10 minute) warm-ups for math. Since 2nd graders work so much with place value and they really need to become fluent with numbers, I created Number Hops for 2nd grade. 



Students begin with a target number and add or subtract their way to the final number. I encourage them to do this mentally by working with tens first, then with ones. It can be done as a whole group but students really like to work on them individually. Try it out with the freebie below. I have a months supply for 2nd graders in my TPT store. 3rd, 4th and 5th grade Number Hops coming soon!



Penny




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

First day of School Activity

First ten minutes of the first day of school can seem awkward! I want students to have something to do while we wait for everyone to put their gear away and get settled. This simple activity has worked well for me.
 Use a large piece of heavy paper. Draw apple shape (This is the best I can do:)
Create interesting puzzle pieces. Make a few more pieces than students for those that join your class later in the year. 
 Write students' names and snap a quick picture so when you need to reassemble it is easier!
 First day of school, I put everyone's puzzle piece on their desk and they color them in. They can put things they like, special designs, you name it.
Throughout the day I have students work on putting the puzzle together. I don't tell them what it is and it usually takes awhile. This time gives students a chance to work together and I assess who my leaders are, who might need help with social skills, etc... 

At the end I create a bulletin board right outside our classroom door by stapling the completed apple with the heading: Room 147 "Working Together - A Perfect Fit"

Penny

Other activities for your students during the year


Monday, July 28, 2014

6 Great Ways To Learn Multiplication Facts

Third grade has become.... THE YEAR OF MULTIPLICATION. It is all things multiplied. Yet, it has always been a struggle for students to become fluent with their facts. Flashcards are boring and not very effective. We don't have a lot of extra time during the day to work on fact fluency (in fact no extra time at all). Some parents will put in the time at home, some won't. 

So what do we do? 

Here are a few suggestions:

1. It always helps when students are familiar with their multiples first. That way, if they do need to resort to their fingers for skip counting, they can do it quickly and easily until they memorize. Sooner or later, after having to figure out what 3 x 4 is, they will memorize it. 

2. There are many on-line programs (even free programs) that focus on multiplication facts. Sometimes kids are motivated to practice when it is on-line in a game-like format. If you have classroom funds, "First in Math" is a fantastic investment. It runs about $8 a student and runs for a year. 

3. Make fact problems part of every warm-up, every day.

4. Use arrays to help students memorize the square numbers (3x3, 4x4,) In our classroom, we had Crazy Eight, a square with 64 hunting dogs!

5. A school-wide program of recognition, or even a grade-level focus with incentives may put a buzz in the air around learning facts.

6. If you do use flashcards, use Triangle Fact Cards. That way, students have 3 visual numbers to connect with, they are subliminally getting the message of how multiplication and division work together and you can change which missing number you are looking for, which prepares them for those more difficult 6 x __ = 24 type questions. Triangle Fact Cards
Triangle Number Cards


 

Penny  

Check for missing product



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Making the Hardest Subtraction Problem Easy! Freebie Included

Just when you think your students have a handle on subtraction......along comes a problem with multiple zeros. Then it becomes a "can you remember which zeros turn into 10's and which zeros turn into 9's? Don't forget the last digit that has to become one less. Here is an easy trick to show students about subtracting when a bunch of zeros rear their ugly heads. 

Hopefully all the leg work of showing students what we are doing to a number when we re-group, using base 10 blocks,  has already been done. If students have difficulty with determining one less than 3,000, then we know we have some place value work to do!

Here is a freebie to practice.

Subtraction Practice

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Freebie to Help Organize Math for a New School Year


With new Common Core standards, new pacing guides, new assessments and new resources, it may be a good idea to keep everything together. That way, when you have to run to a grade level team meeting, you can grab and go. 

My math planner has an overview of the standards, the actual standards for my grade level, planning calendars for the 2014-2015 school year, and all kinds of graphic organizers like team planning page, vertical teaming page, intervention/enrichment plan pages as well as a data organizer for sharing student info. 







Here is a freebie sample for you to try. 



Team Meeting Notes


Happy Organizing!

Penny




Friday, July 18, 2014

Elapsed Time is Hard for 3rd Graders!

Even after teaching elapsed time for years, it remains one of the hardest topics for 3rd graders to master. Working with multiples of 5, distinguishing between hours and minutes, a.m and p.m., and suddenly 60 is the new whole. 

Luckily, my old teaching partner and I came up with a new strategy for keeping track of elapsed time. As long as kids can count by 1's and 5's, they can do this!




Each mountain represents 1 hour and each molehill represents 5 minutes. Each single tick mark represents 1 minute. So, students count off hours, then 5-minute intervals, then single minutes. After they've reached the finish time, they can easily go back and count up the hours and minutes. 

Some teachers may be using this but I don't know if everyone knows about this so I made a unit just for this skill called Elapsed Time -Mountains and Molehills on TPT.  Check it out - if you have time:)  Elapsed Time Using a Time Line




Penny


 
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