Great Math Products!


Base Ten Number Line


Multiplication Tricks



ThreeFingers with Numbers

Telling Time Misconceptions


Equivalent Fractions


Simplifying Fractions


Clock Fractions


Math Fact Motivation


Math Night 2012


Bulletin Board Ideas


Classroom Management


Lines and Angles



I get the cutest handwriting fonts at Fonts for Peas!


Need a Beginning of the Year Lesson for Symmetry?

This lesson was almost an accident, but it turned out so well!  Not knowing I was going to have to teach a particular class, I desperately went in search of the librarian’s expertise for a beginning of the year book. I couldn’t find the book I was looking for so she gladly showed me this book.

I read the students the story, calling particular attention to the stamp she receives from her grandmother, and then I had students make stamps.  In order to do this I used some bottle caps we had been collecting. Sadly, I spent too long at home hot gluing foam squares to bottle cap lids.


I was kind of worried that if the squares weren’t perfectly rectangular or square it would not look good when students stamped their letters, but actually kids wasn’t able to tell after the stamp was pressed down.  It really just mattered where the pressure was when the stamp was pressed down.

When I brought these to school, I had kids find the Korean letter that corresponded to one of their initials.  I used this page I found after a Google search.  Then I had students write their Korean initial once, draw a line of symmetry and flip the Korean letter over before they carved it into their stamp.  Because not every letter of the Korean alphabet corresponds to an English letter, I had students find the Korean letter that most closely corresponded.  I also gave them the option of picking a letter from their middle or last name if their first initial didn’t correspond to a Korean letter.  Students carved with their pencil into the foam.

Here are some of the results.  I let the kids take their stamps home.  NOTE:  If you don’t want stamp ink everywhere invest in some baggies for them to put their stamps into.

I did this with both first and second graders.  I was a little nervous about doing this with first graders, but they handled it like champs (one of my stamp pads was worse for the wear due to a first grader I might add).  I would do this lesson again, and it was such a rich lesson.  There were connections in the book to another country, the Korean alphabet offered a connection to another language, and the symmetry added a math connection.  The whole lesson took three class periods of 30 minutes each. Happy stamping! 🙂

How to Set Up an IKnowIt Account (free)!

Guess what?!  Have you heard about this great new math website?!  There are math lessons set up for kindergarten through 5th grade.  Students are given a score for problems they get right so that you could potentially use this for a quick grade. Winning!  Right now you can set up an account for your class absolutely free–until August 2018 that is!  In the following video, I show you how to set up your free account and how to assign lessons to your students.

Don’t Cause This Misconception When Teaching Angles!

We all have started out teaching right angles like this…

“Okay, class this is a right angle.”


But, have we left it at that and gone on to teach other terms such as acute and obtuse?

Then students are left to draw their own conclusions when faced with this.


Obviously to a child, this is a left angle because it is facing the opposite direction and the opposite of right is left!


Or if left to their own conclusions, this is a left, down angle.



And, yes, all of the angles pictured above are in fact…right angles.

It is up to you to make sure students see angles in lots of different directions so that they do not form misconceptions about angles.

So how can students test to make sure that right angles are, in fact, right.  Well, they can just use a paper corner such as a sticky note or the corner of their paper.






Each time they come across an angle they can put the paper corner in the angle to know if it fits exactly.  If it fits exactly, it is right!  If it covers one of the sides (rays) of the angle, it is acute and if one of the rays of the angle sticks out, it is obtuse…but that is another post for another day 🙂

Painter’s Tape Strikes Again…

In all honesty my goal was to really use painter’s tape on the floor to make polygons in the first place, but I took a detour with painters tape on this geometry.  I just love the fact that floor tiles are actually a square foot– so with that in mind,  I had to stick a little area and perimeter lesson down on the floor.


Where did I stick the shapes?

You guessed it!  Near the bathroom of course!  After all, what other location in the entire school gets more visibility than the bathroom!



For the triangle and octagon I wrote inch measurements on the diagonal lines to help the students calculate the perimeter without a measurement tool.  You can’t see that in the pictures.


I numbered the shapes so that they could be matched to an answer key.  I was trying to leave in a hurry so I didn’t quite get finished with the answer key.  That will be coming soon.


Now, I did think to ask one of the evening custodians if this would be a problem, but she didn’t think so.  Well, the next morning, I got a “hmmmph!”  The day custodian immediately let me know that the tape had already come off of the floor a bit and asked me how long it would be there.

I said, “not long,” with a smirk.

He informed me that we had gotten second place for the cleanest school last year and showed me his plaque.

I said, “Well, we’ll be the most mathematical school.”

I’m leaving the tape down for a good 4 weeks ;D.


Angles in the Bathroom?

In response to the poor scores on a recent geometry quiz, I took advantage of the prime real estate near the bathrooms.  Students in this particular class pass this area often, so why not put some geometry review in their path?  I made good use of a roll of painter’s tape by making types of lines and angles all around the bathroom entrances and water fountains.



The yellow sign below says to identify the figures and tells students to check the answer key to see if they are correct.




Then in an easily accessible place outside of the bathroom, I placed an answer key for students to check themselvesAnswerKeyCover

Underneath the cover are the answers…


I had more types of lines posted than are pictured above, but I thought a few of the pictures would give you the idea.  I’ve already seen kids looking to check their work on their way down the hallway.  🙂

If you remember from one of my previous posts, then you will remember I have a weighing station outside the bathroom.  I also have a location for students to measure their own height with a measuring tape.  I still see students stop by occasionally to measure themselves.  I had one with a sideways grin tell me today, “I’m 47 inches.”

I hope this inspires you to do something similar with your students!

Teaching Coordinate Grids? Try These Great Resources!

A fabulous fifth grade teacher I work with started using these coordinate grid mystery pictures with her class from Super Teacher Worksheets.  She said that her kids who struggled with everything else in math, loved these and were so engaged in finding the coordinates.  There are many different mystery pictures that you have to pay for on their site, but I want to call your attention to a Santa Clause mystery picture that is absolutely free 🙂 especially since this is the week before Christmas!  We all know how kids are the week before Christmas break–ahem–let’s just say they need something super engaging!

Santa Coordinate Graphing Activity from Super Teacher Worksheets


I also just finished revising a coordinate grid activity that I made a while back.  Students must locate buried treasure on a coordinate grid using geometry and graphing terms.  Our fifth graders are enjoying this activity right now, too!  This activity packet is available on TeachersPayTeachers.

Buried Treasure1

Social studies can be discussed with this activity since the grid has a map behind it.  I like to discuss coordinate graphing on the same days I am teaching map skills in social studies because the two are so similar.  This activity doesn’t explicitly teach social studies, but there is definitely room for some discussion about the maps and what part (or state) the treasure is probably in.

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How Can You Incorporate Literacy with Coordinate Grids?

I was ecstatic when my new books arrived!  I had been wanting to order these books for a while, and finally discovered that I had some money in the budget!  What is so great about these books is that they tell the story of how Rene’ Descartes invented the coordinate plane.  The general story tells of how he was sick in bed staring at a fly on the ceiling and wanted to map its location.  As the old adage goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”,  so  Descartes visualized the coordinate grid system on his ceiling to locate the fly.  This is such a great story to help  students conceptualize coordinate grids while tying  social studies (maps), literacy, and math together in one lesson!

Teaching 3 Dimensional Solids?

Check the trash first!  Whenever teaching  dimensional solids, I look around the school building for large boxes that may be thrown out.  Especially in the teacher workroom, there are always bulletin board paper boxes, toner boxes etc. that are being thrown away.  This is where I have found some of the best trash for treasure pieces for my 3D solids collection.  When I have found one, I wrapped it in colored bulletin board paper with the name on each one to help students have a constant visual of prism pieces.  At the time I teach solids, I also have the students bring in items they find at home that may be prisms, cubes, spheres, or other solids.  They relish sharing their found items with the class.  When they share them with the class, they must ask the students how many faces, edges, and vertices there are.  Students get extra credit for bringing in solids.  The best solid that I ever had a student bring in was an almost perfect triangular pyramid made out of rock! Below are pictured my recycled trash 3D solids.





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