## A Branching Unit–with a Makeover!

I’m so thankful for a summer vacation and the beautiful weather we have been having. Usually it is so hot and humid this time of year, but the weather has been so mild and beautiful compared to recent years. Yesterday was really my first day out that actually felt like a vacation. I have been going to trainings and working on our district’s pacing guide. With all of that said, I spent yesterday doing the finishing touches on a branching unit I had posted previously on TPT. One of my summer goals is to improve some of the items, which I feel need a makeover that are posted in my store. I am so much more proud of this unit now. I included some of the fun branching templates that a co-teacher and I devised to make branching ** and** our hallway more fun which weren’t there before! I hope that those of you who have already downloaded this item enjoy using these materials even more now. Last summer was the first summer I got REALLY serious about selling on TPT, and in this year I have learned so much–from fellow bloggers, from TPT, and from my customers.

I am also considering doing a whole new makeover for my blog…hopefully to be coming soon :)!

Below I have posted pictures of my new and improved branching unit which I used when teaching my third grade class several years ago. The new part is the templates that we used to decorate our hallway with ‘branching trees’, more detailed teacher notes, student word problems, and I included some scaffolded practice for struggling students to group their tens and ones. I have posted a sample of some of the student sheets that you can try out for free. When you click below, the link will take you to my store where you can download the free preview.

## Free Test Taking Rubric or Checklist

I showed the fifth graders that I have been teaching for the past few weeks this page before they tested. I let them know that I was going to be looking for these actions or test taking strategies while they tested. Our principal gave the students extra recess time at the end of the day if they worked hard on the test all morning long. I wanted a way to measure “working hard on the test”, so I used this checklist/rubric. If students did 4 of the 6 actions or testing strategies listed on the sheet, then they were able to have extra recess. Across the top of the page the categories read:

**Underlined Key Words****Brain Dumped**— Writing important information down on the math reference sheet that they may forget**Eliminated Wrong Answers**(on multiple choice)**Used P.E.C.E**(an acronym that stands for using a picture, equation, complete sentence, and elaboration to solve an open response)**Persevered When Problem Solving****Checked Work or Used the Entire Time to Work**

If you would like to use this form, you can download it for free here. I am posting it in Word format so that you can open it and change the wording to suit your needs.

## Free Family Math Night Punch Cards

Since I am planning a Family Math Night in January, I thought I would share my PunchCardsforParentNight with you. We will be having several stations set up for students and parents. They must attend at least five stations to enter to win for a door prize and for the evening meal. Hope you can use it for whatever family night you will be having. I am posting it in Word format so that you can adapt it to suit your needs. I hope that the formatting turns out okay.

## Free App for Your iphone to Learn Mental Math Strategies

Our school’s guidance counselor came to me the other day and told me about an app she had discovered on the iphone–Mental Math Ninja. This app teaches mental math strategies using videos all for free. I learned some mental math strategies from watching these videos. Just when I thought I had learned most of the mental math strategies there were from being a math coach and attending many workshops, I learned more! Some of the videos included are:

- Rapidly multiply by 11’s,
- Calculate a 15% tip
- The Secret to Mental Addition
- Rapid Single Column Addition
- Rapid Two Column Addition
- Adding Money
- Rapidly Multiply 2-digit Numbers
- Square Numbers Ending in 5
- Square Numbers in the 50’s
- Square Numbers Close to 100
- Mutiply 2-digit by 1-digit Numbers
- Square any 2-digit Number
- Multiply 3-digit by 1-digit Numbers
- Multiply 3-digit by 2-digit Numbers
- Multiply 3-digit by 3-digit Numbers
- Divide by 0.5 or 5 or 50

## Free Printable Number Discs

With second grade right now, students are doing a lot of place value activities and are using base ten blocks as well as math discs. I made these printable math discs for the kids to represent and compare numbers. If you would like to use them they are available for a download. I am copying the ones on white, the tens on red, and the hundreds on orange paper to represent the math discs. Students are going to cut these out and glue them down to represent a number.

## Need an Engaging Way to Introduce Equations?

The first grade teachers at school absolutely love introducing subtraction and addition number sentences to their kids using the book *Ten Flashing Fireflies* by Philemon Sturges. I discovered this book in a lesson recorded in a Math Solutions book entitled *Minilessons for Math Practice K-2.* There is also a similar lesson (I think…not positive) in another Math Solutions book entitled Teaching Arithmetic. In the lesson students model the action of gathering fireflies into a jar using snap cubes. In the book there is a jar printable to use or the lesson suggests using a sheet of blue construction paper to represent the night sky. Not only is this lesson good for introducing the action of subtraction and addition, but it is also good for discussing one more and one less. Because this is such a beloved book that builds a great foundation for addition and subtraction, I worked on building this *free* SMART Board lesson to accompany the book this weekend, and so here is an example of this lesson. Just click to download the SMART Board lesson for free.

## My Favorite Way to Introduce Division…

My favorite way to introduce division is with Divide and Ride which is a book by Stuart Murphy. I have posted about it before, but since many of you are teaching division now or soon will be, I wanted to share some of the sheets that I have developed to go along with the book. These sheets are in varying levels of difficulty. The first one is easiest and they get slightly harder. I have used them with different grade levels. The first one I used with second graders, but most of them have been used with third grade. The first question on most of the sheets is the same because it can be easily figured out with direct modeling…but if you have all of the sheets you could easily differentiate for your students since they are similar. The last sheet incorporates a question with remainders. Feel free to download them and use them for free. Let me know if they work well for your class.

## 8 Free Math Websites for Your Classroom

1. www.math playground.com –free worksheets, math games, and interactive manipulatives

2. www.classzone.com–math games, interactive lessons, games, and math vocabulary cards

3. www.mathtv.org–interactive problem solving videos

4. www.hotmath.com–math games and learning activities

5. www.softschools.com–free worksheets and interactive games

6. www.coolmath.com–math lessons, interactive games, interactive math and art

7. www.math-play.com–free interactive games

8. www.nlvm.usu.edu–national library of virtual manipulatives

## Have You Played This Game to Strengthen Number Decomposition?

I learned this simple but powerful game–Make Ten from Melissa Conklin of Math Solutions at NCTM two years ago. The first and second graders at school have successfully played this game for several days to help strengthen their number sense. They have already become much more fluent in recognizing the sums (bonds) of ten. Make a deck of ten frame cards. Downloadable for free right here (Free Ten Frame Cards). Copy the printables four times so you have enough to make a deck. Students lay out four cards from the deck face up on the table between two to four partners. (I think the game works best with pairs). Then students take turns to pull two cards that have a sum of ten. If there are not two cards that have a sum of ten then students may pull one more and place it face up in the middle of the table until there are a set of two cards that will make ten. When students pull the pair of cards from the center of the table, they say the equation that matches, for example, three and seven make 10 or three plus seven equals 10. After students have played the game once or twice, have them record their equations in their journal. I highly recommend playing this game to build number foundations to ten.

I am also posting a clip here of a ten frame SMART Board slide I made for my K-2 teachers to adapt to their specific needs. This slide has all of the ten frame cards on it from 0-10 and would be great to adapt for many Math Solutions lessons such as this one.