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Family Math Night Fun!

Well, I have been scurrying around like a squirrel hiding nuts (and maybe going nuts) these last few days getting ready for our Family Math Night.  I usually plan this as close as I can to our 100th day of school, which happens to be this Thursday!  While getting ready for this event, I have thought about a game I recently made, which first grade really enjoyed!  This game is called Bubble Gum Pop and is centered around adding and subtracting 10′s and 1′s on the hundreds chart.  The game is already differentiated and would be wonderful as a take home game for parents to enjoy with their children!  There is very little prep to this game other than gathering some game pawns and deciding which way you want to use to make a spinner.  There is even an extra engagement factor if you decide to use real bubble gum (flat pieces) for game pawns!

Here is the fun spinner!  Kids place five pawns on the board to start with (scroll farther to see the board).  Then they move those pawns down one square if they land on +10, up one square if they land on -10, to the right one square if they land on +1, and to the left one square if they land on -1.  If students land on the wild space they can move their pawn anywhere on the board.

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If students bump into one another, then they  automatically knock the other pawn out.  Also, if students land outside the perimeter of the chart, their opponent is out.  The object of the game is to knock your opponent’s game pawns off of the board.  Below you can see a sample game in action.

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Here is a look at the game board.

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I will be posting pictures of our Family Math Night soon if you are still needing ideas to help plan yours.

This Helped a SPED Kid Learn Addition Regrouping!

After you sit a while with a child who is obviously trying to figure something out and having little success, you try other strategies.  I was sitting with a sweet little 3rd grader who has had a difficult life.  She has eyes full of hope, and I know her eyes well because last year that is all I knew…she had to wear a face mask all year.  A liver transplant had required her to wear a mask to prevent infections.  She is such a hard worker and that makes me really want to do so much for her.


Ok, so back to the math strategies!  When I would work with this child, she would have a hard time keeping track of which number to put in her head and which number to count on her fingers.  She would forget when to stop counting on her fingers.  This was a lot for her to manage.  Finally,  I thought about having her draw to represent her head and fingers so she could keep track of it.  I know this doesn’t look like rocket science and there is probably already something similar out there, but this worked for her (and me).  I told her that she was to look at the two numbers in the column and choose the larger one.  Then I asked her to circle that number.  I told her the circle represents the number that you keep in your head.  After that, I instructed her to draw dots beside the smaller number to be pictures of her fingertips that she would count up on.  She did this successfully and remembered this the next day.  This will even work with more digits.  Next week I plan on trying a similar strategy for subtraction.  I hope maybe this can help some of your SPED kids out there who you just aren’t sure what to do with :) .

Happy New Year 2015!!!!!!!

I know, I know, I am a little late in my New Year’s greeting!  I hope you had a restful time from the normal day to day bustle.  I managed to catch up on some family visiting and some cleaning for sure.  The cold weather kept me from feeling like super cleaning woman so I refrained in several cleaning areas :) !

I know that many of you are concerned about the upcoming PARCC assessment or similar assessment.  For those of you taking the PARCC assessment in paper and pencil, these items are already posted on the website now here.

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Further there are now more helpful sites emerging that are helpful for PARCC practice.  One of these such sites is Illustrative Mathematics.  This site has practice items that are very much like the performance based questions on the PARCC assessment like below.Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 6.06.40 PM

The best site of all is a practice test site called Ten Marks which gives students digital PARCC like questions with multiple choice and multiple response answer choices.  Students can be assigned questions with the click of a common core standard.  These assignments can then be taken on the computer or iPad.  The results are immediately made available to the teacher.  If students miss a question they are given the opportunity to watch a video about what they missed while they are doing the assignment.  The program is free and so easy to use however, you must pay a fee for the best version.  This is definitely worth taking a look at and the teachers L-O-V-E it.

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I hope these few ideas help you get a head start on the upcoming testing season!

Merry Christmas!!!


Thank you to Educlips for the beautiful illustration of this adorable penguin!

Your Kids Aren’t Learning Their Addition Facts?…Try This (Part 7)

After using doubles and tens facts to learn one more and two more than all of those sums, that only leaves students with two facts to learn!!!Slide1

I allow students to tell me ways that these two facts can be easy to learn for them.  Most students say that 3+6 is 9 so it is close to a ten fact.  Some may be more comfortable with 3 +5, but after spending time talking about patterns with students, they will easily be able to discuss a way to get to this fact using a known fact.   The thing that is uncomfortable about using 6+4 is that students have to go backwards and it is uncomfortable for them to go backwards in counting.   Students favor going forward…cause more is better (like the commercial! :) )  Also, 8+5 to me is an oddball.  I can think of no easy way to get to this fact, but most students will say that 8 + 5 is close to 8+4 which is 12 so they know that 8+5 makes 13.  Other students will say they know 8+2 is 10 so they can count up 3 more.  I really don’t like that they have to count up 3 more, but at least it is better than counting up 5 from eight.

I will have to say that after working with intervention groups with all of these fact strategies, their answers aren’t as immediate as I would like, and at times they still use their fingers.  I believe they still use their fingers because it is comfortable to them—more comfortable than thinking.  After a strategy is learned it is imperative that they still practice with flash cards so that the facts remain fresh in their minds.  I don’t work with a student population that readily has parents practicing with them at home on flashcards so the only extra practice they get is with me.

I plan on posting some of the materials I used to practice facts with the kids soon.

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Your Kids Aren’t Learning Their Addition Facts? Try This…Part 6

If you have been following the previous posts, then you will see the progression of teaching number facts strategies.  Nearly the last part of teaching addition facts focuses around doubles and doubles plus 2.  I think this is one of the hardest strategies because kids may not readily see the double when it is two numbers away. With a little thinking and prodding, however, they will see the fact without using their fingers.  Line the numbers up side by side so that students can see examples of both sets of numbers–the helping fact and the double plus 2.


Again, when having students recognize patterns and see relationships, I like to write them out of order so that students don’t say that the numbers are counting by 2′s etc.  If students struggle to see the patterns, underline numbers to help them focus on what you want them to see such as underlining the second addends on both sets of equations.  Then underline the sums on both sets of equations.  Step back for a few moments and let the prolonged silence aid students in thinking about the relationships in the two sets of numbers.  Give students time enough to generalize about how doubles can be a helping fact.  * Note that students have already learned sums of 10 and 10s plus 2 more so they have strategies for 5+7, 4+6, and 6+8.

After this, students only have a few more facts to learn!!

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Thank you Erin Cobb!  Frames Courtesy of Lovin Lit.

Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale!!

Did someone say sale?  Why yes they did.  There will be a Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale this week.  Stock up and get all the items you have been wanting on your wish list and MORE!!  All the items in my store will be on sale.  Code and link below.  sale_300_250

You’re Kids Aren’t Learning Their Addition Facts? Try This…Part 5


(Thank you Erin Cobb from Lovin’ Lit for the pretty border!)

Now after I have taught everything that I previously blogged about in Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, which includes tens and tens plus one.  Learning the sums/bonds of 10 is the foundation for this discussion.  One of the tens plus 2 will already have been learned because it is a double, but there is no harm in learning multiple strategies to reach one fact.  Also, doubles plus two facts will be learned later and doubles plus two will also give students a strategy to reach 7+5=12 and 5+7=12.  Allow students to recognize this on their own when you reach that lesson.  The more ownership students can have of the strategies without you telling it to them, the more they will remember the strategies and feel smarter for being able to discuss the strategies.

Again when you introduce these facts write them out of order on the board.  Step back, wait, have children quietly look at the number facts and find relationships or patterns in their head.  I use the Number Talks strategy and have them put their thumb on their chest when they find a pattern.  This keeps everyone attentively looking for more patterns without the dramatic hand raisers flailing their arms in the air.  If students say that they see lots of tens and twelves acknowledge this and then ask students to look for more.  Eventually you will get what you are looking for if you have the foundation built from the previous lessons.  If no students say that one of the addends goes up by 2 and the sum goes up by two, offer a hint by underlining these numbers so that they are focusing their attention there.  Follow this up by fact (flashcards if you prefer) practice over the sums they have just discovered a strategy for and over previously learned facts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Your Kids Aren’t Learning Their Addition Facts? Try This…Part 4

So far if you have followed my previous posts, students will have learned their bonds of 10, their +1, +2, +9, +10, and adding one more to their bonds of 10 facts.  Next, I like to focus my students’ attention on learning their doubles.  Most of the time students are already comfortable with their doubles up to 5+5 since they easily see these doubles on their fingers, on dice, and in other real world examples.  At least when working with my intervention groups, this is the case.  The doubles kids most often struggle with are 7+7, 8+8, and 9+9.   When writing the doubles on the board, kids can easily see that the sums of double numbers turn out to be even numbers or the numbers that count by 2′s.

Slide1 I also like to use videos and games to help kids remember their doubles.  Here is one of the videos that I like to use.

This is only a preview of the video.  The other part used to be free but is no longer free.  The video costs $2.49 to download the 6-10 doubles, but is worth the purchase in my opinion.

After kids have learned their doubles, show them these doubles plus one more.  Don’t tell them that they are doubles plus one more, but let them see the pattern and tell you about them.


 Allow the kids to notice the pattern in the doubles and doubles plus one and express to you how the numbers change when one is added.  Kids will excitedly see the relationship between the double and how it goes up by one more.  After discussing the patterns from the previous posts, students will more readily see this pattern and relationship.  Then when using flashcards to follow up, students will sometimes think out loud about their strategy, and you will hear them thinking about the relationships they see to get to a new sum.  When you hear this you know you have taught them well!

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Your Kids Aren’t Learning Their Addition Facts ? Try This…(Part 3)

Up to this point if you have been following my previous posts and tried them with your students, you’re students will have learned their bonds of 10, +1 facts, +2 facts, +9 facts, and +10  facts.  Now it is time to build on some of that foundational material that you have been working on with your students.  With consistent review of what they have already learned students will be ready to move on to using their bonds of ten to find other sums.  While allowing them to sit and think, show students these facts side by side and allow them to comment after a few minutes on what they notice.  I like to use the Number Talks idea and have students sit and think for a while and when they notice something in the patterns to then respond with a thumbs up on their chest.  This allows the other students to think without the over zealous arms dancing in the air with the correct answer.  Here even if students say something that isn’t quite what you are looking for, don’t discourage their contributions.  For example, if someone says that they all have 11′s respond by agreeing but asking for something more.  You might ask, how are the facts on the left like the ones on the right?  What are the only numbers changing?  How much are they changing by?  Only ask these questions if you don’t get much response initially.  Allow students time to think and study what you have written. Slide1

You may also like these earlier  posts about learning addition facts:



*Thank you Erin Cobb: Frames courtesy of Lovin’Lit.