To practice math facts, spelling words, or any other quick answer type learning, you can play Squat. To play Squat, two students from two different teams approach the board. The teacher calls out a fact or a spelling word. The two students at the board race to answer the question correctly and then they squat when they think they have the correct answer. If they are correct they earn a point for their team.
When I have played this, I usually split my class into two teams. Different students on the teams take turns to be at the board to earn their team points. Team points can be taken away from students who aren’t waiting quietly or who blurt out an answer when it isn’t their turn. Students love this game and will beg to play it after you have played once. If you have some extra time (heh, heh, who has that?!) during a spot in your day, this is a fun way to reinforce skills or fill time.
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.
I have been sorting through some of the activities I have made from this past year, so I can post some of them on Teachers Pay Teachers–one of my many summer goals , and I just happened across this game which I made from the descriptions on math wire. I made them into card form, and I also am including a set which I added coins onto for students who need the visual–or you could use both sets for to differentiate! Until I went to the NCTM conference in San Diego, I wasn’t a big fan of the game I Have Who Has because it seemed ineffective to me to play as a whole class. However, at the conference I went to a workshop in which the presenter modeled playing in small groups. In his version groups of four to six students are give a deck of cards. Each child holds several cards, so they have more than one turn and naturally are more attentive to the game since they participate more than one time.
We recently acquired a new fourth grade teacher at school who took another teacher’s place. This new teacher is brimming with innovative ideas. She has redecorated her classroom and one of the items she had posted was a Monopoly like game board. However, instead of the word Monopoly, the 35 inch game board read “Homeworkopoly”. Out of curiosity I had to ask about this. Each time students turn in homework, they get a chance to roll dice and land on one of the Homeworkopoly spaces. Just like Monopoly each space is labeled with different opportunities. Some spaces allow students to turn over a chance card, others allow students to gain a reward such as a free homework pass, eat lunch with the teacher, and so forth. Students are motivated to turn in homework so that they can play the game. Homeworkopoly makes an attractive addition to a bulletin board, and the best part—it’s completely free. (I asked this fourth grade teacher if this actually improved students’ desire to complete homework. She said that they were more motivated, and that it increased their desire to turn in homework. You may download this pdf file at the following site with instructions and chance cards. Just click on the following picture.