Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Place Value Deck Activites Part 2

I finally got my 0-120 place value deck in finished form.   If you missed my last post about some of the ways I use this deck in the classroom, click here to check it out or here to see what each deck looks like!  Want a set of these cards for your classroom?  Head to TPT for the full product and a free preview!

 1 More or Less AND 10 More or Less

By the end of grade 1 kids should be able to mentally find 1 more or less and 10 more or less than any number under 100. I often find this is a skill that needs to be revisited at the beginning of second grade as well because it REALLY supports adding and subtracting 2 and 3 digit numbers.

I often have kids make their own record sheet for this because it is simple and straightforward. I start with 1 less and 1 more in Kindergarten. I might start with just the cards up to 10 and as individual kids become fluent, I give them more challenging cards. The visual images on the cards really support kids thinking about 1 more/less or 10 more/less because they can cover up a piece or think of adding another piece. Using these cards leads to a mental image that kids can access whenever they need to. You will know your students have met the standard when they can use deck C and flip through and fluently identify 10 more or less than any number under 100.

Second graders need to be able to do the same thing but by the end of the year need to be able to identify 1 more/less and 10 more/less up to 1000. If your students come in to second grade not able to fluently do this up to 100, than you will want to start here!  If you do work with second or up you also might want to check out my numbers to 1000 place value deck.

Close to 100

This is a game I introduce toward the end of grade 1 and play a lot the last month. I also bring this game out again at the beginning of second grade because it relates so many ideas of place value and addition and subtraction of 2 and 3 digit numbers.

This is another game where I have kids make their own record sheets. They simply flip over 2 cards and find the sum. Their partner does the same and the winner is the person who is closest to 100 (under or over). The winner of each round circles their sum to indicate they won (see picture on left). Another variation is to have students figure out and record exactly how far away from 100 they were (see picture on right). Students often use a 100’s chart or a base 10 hundred grid when starting out with this game for support in finding distance from 100. The visual images on deck A or B really support students who struggle with 2 digit addition.

Pairs to Make 100

Make 100 Concentration Game.  Get it for your students!

Many programs deal with pairs to make 10 in a big way in Kindergarten and first grade which is great. However, as important as pairs that make 10 can be for addition and subtraction facts, pairs that make 100 can be just as powerful when kids are exploring multi digit addition and subtraction in 1st and 2nd grade. Here are 2 ways I use these cards to work on this BIG idea. Click here to see other ways I help kids with pairs that make 100

Make 100 concentration

I play this like a classic memory or concentration game. A “match” is found when 2 cards add to 100. You do have to go through your deck and find pairs that make 100 before giving kids this game to play. I do this on occasion and other times have kids find pairs that make 100 and make mini-decks from there. Any of the decks work great for this game

Make 100 Pair Match

As kids are coming into the room or transitioning between activities, I often use this game. I preselect pairs that make 100 and mix them up. I hand each student a card and it is their task to find a person whose card goes with theirs to make 100.
Make 100 Pair Match

Multi-Digit Addition and Subtraction

In first and second grade multi-digit addition and subtraction becomes very important. I will often hand each kid 2 cards and have them find the sum or difference between the cards. This can be done during transition times or as an exit ticket or kids can make a simple record sheet and play a game. It also works quite well as a compare/war game where they flip 2 cards, find the sum or difference and the winner is the person with the largest answer.

Click here to see some of the strategies my students have invented for multi-digit computation

How would you use this deck in your classroom?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Place Value Deck Activites Part 1

I have created 3 different decks of cards that include all numbers from 0-120.  Click here to check out pictures of the three different decks.  Here are some of the activities I do with these decks.


This is an easy game that kids will be familiar with the format of. It is played much like the game war. Two or more players flip over a card and tell what number they have. The person with the largest number gets all of the cards. You can play this game with any of these card decks depending on what skills you want your students to work on. You may have one pair who is only using the cards up to 20 while another pair uses the cards from 50-100 while another pair uses an entire deck. It is a very easy game to differentiate by changing the range of numbers offered or by changing the deck. It looks like everyone is playing the same game in the room but there are many changes that can be made to make this game easier or more challenging.

Compare  Using <, >, =

Don't these look like fun?  Head to TPT to pick up a copy for yourself!

This is an easy game that kids will be familiar with the format of. It is played much like the game war. Two or more players flip over a card and tell what number they have. The person with the largest number gets all of the cards. You can play this game with any of these card decks depending on what skills you want your students to work on. You may have one pair who is only using the cards up to 20 while another pair uses the cards from 50-100 while another pair uses an entire deck. It is a very easy game to differentiate by changing the range of numbers offered or by changing the deck. It looks like everyone is playing the same game in the room but there are many changes that can be made to make this game easier or more challenging.

Ordering Sequential and Non-Sequential Numbers

A natural extension of comparing numbers under 120 is the ability to put them in order. These decks are great for practicing ordering sequential and non-sequential numbers. I use deck A to do this until kids show some fluency with the activity and then move to deck C. Some kids in one classroom might still be working on deck A while others work on deck C. Another thing to consider is the number of cards you give each student. Starts with 3-4 and gradually increase until you are giving them around 10.

When kids have the cards in order (especially the sequential ones!) I often have them read them to me from smallest to largest and then from largest to smallest. If they are sequential, this is great counting practice (both forward and back) and is particularly useful when you are having them pull through a decade number. If they are non-sequential it is still a great way for them to practice reading numbers.

Do your students need more practice with this skill? 

If you want to have these decks be a part of your math instruction, you can head to TPT to pick up your own copy (THEY ARE ON SALE!).  There is a large sample file you can download for free to get a better idea of how you will use these in your classroom.

Want to see more ways I use this deck?  HEAD OVER TO PART 2!

Looking for a similar deck of cards to use with older students?  Check out this post!

Place Value Decks! Numbers 0-120

A huge goal for this summer was to get my 0-120 place value deck in good enough shape to post to TPT, and I finally have it done!  It is very much like my best selling numbers to 1000 place value deck but for younger kids.  It is a great deck of cards to have on hand in K, 1st  and the first half of 2nd grade.  I also use them for intervention for older students.  They are a great way to differentiate instruction for your students.  The activities are quick and easy and require little to no teacher prep.  Some of the activities make great fillers during transition times. 

Take a peak!


I use this deck the most because it features both visual images of base 10 pieces and numerals.  The visual images are there to support kids who need it but the numeral is also there for kids who are ready to do it without the image or kids who already have a mental image of what the number looks like.


Many of the games I play with DECK A can also be played with this one.  It features all of the numbers 0-120 without numerals, just a visual representation of base 10 pieces


DECK C is features just the numerals from 0-120.  It can be used to play many of the same games as the other two decks and best used when students have a metal model or other strategies that help them when they need support.
ALL THREE DECKS come together along with descriptions of over 10 activities that can be used to support students' understanding of number.  Click here to check out some pictures and descriptions of the activities I do with these decks! 

Interested in using these with your students?  Click here to grab them from my TPT store!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Math Literature Volume 3

Happy Monday!

If you missed Volume 1, click here to see my review of Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi
if you missed Voume 2, click here to see my review of Spaghetti and Meatballs for All!

This week I want to share with you

This is a story of a group of 25 ants including solider Joe.  The ants have to march past the queen each day and try different arrangements such as walking in groups of 2, 3 and 4.  Each time, poor solider Joe makes the lines uneven and is left out as a remainder of one.  Finally the ants decide to march in groups of 5 and Joe is included.

This is a great story to introduce the concept of remainders in division.  I use this book in grades 3 and 4 and it is a wonderful story that really helps get a big math idea across to kids.   I often read it to the whole class at the start of our discussion on remainders.  It really helps kids connect to the idea of something being "left over" after dividing and helps them think about what should be done with the remainder.

The author, Elinor Pinczes; also has several other books I use including
One Hundred Hungry Ants and Inchworm and A Half.

How do you introduce the concept of remainders to your students?

Want to read more about great math literature?  Click here to head over to part 4!

Check out this post about how I use partial quotients when teaching long division or this post to read more about story problems for division in the Common Core.

Here is a fun and free app for practicing multiplication and division facts!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Using Formative Assessment in Math Class Part 3

Want to see my other posts about formative assessment in math class?

Traffic Lighting

These darling little table tents have gotten a lot of use in my classrooms and are a wonderful way to manage a whole group instruction.  They are double sided so you can see them from anywhere in the room and they are a great way to see who needs help and to prioritize assisting kids.  It takes some initial training of students to help them use their table tent instead of raising their hands, etc but it is well worth it if you can commit to using these!  Each table tent has 3 traffic light colored parts that can be flipped between.  They are relatively cheap to buy and last about 2 school years before they look really shabby.  The last set I bought made it through 3 school years but they were pretty much falling apart by the end of year 3.  I have had the most success using these in grades 3 and up.  

Snowball Toss

Want a quick way to see what kids know at the end of a unit or before you start a new one?  A snowball toss is a super fun way to activate prior knowledge or to review at the end of a unit.  All you need is some scrap paper.  Here is how I do a snowball toss
1) Have kids think about some things they know about a topic.  For example before a unit on fractions, I might have students brainstorm things they already know about fractions
2) Give kids a few minutes to think independently then have them turn and talk with a partner or the kids at their table about what they know.  (giving kids a chance to share with neighbors lets you see who knows what and assures that everyone will have something to write down in the next step)
3) Give each kid a half sheet of scrap paper and have them write down one thing they know is true about the topic.
4) Have students crumple up the paper and on the count of 3 have them all throw their snowball at a designated target.  I often have them use the screen at the front of the room or draw a quick target on the white board.  
5) Everyone goes up and gets a snowball after the toss.  Stand in a circle and have students read the snowball they picked up.  This gives kids a chance to read another person's idea.  
6) Record true statements if desired on a piece of chart paper.  (If you often use KWL charts this is a fun way to do these as well) If someone wrote something that is not true, this becomes a great time to clear up misconceptions.  

I also sometimes do a snowball toss in math class with equations that all equal the same thing.  For example on the 100th day of school, we will often do a snowball toss with equations that equal 100.  When we are learning fraction operations in grades 5 and 6 we often do a snowball toss with equations that equal 1/2 or 2/3.

Parking Lot

A great way to answer lingering questions or to get back to kids' ideas during the next class period is to have a designated parking lot space.  You can use a part of your white board or a piece of poster paper and some sticky notes.  It is a place where kids can leave lingering questions or requests for help or extra practice.  It also can be a place where kids share observations or things they notice or connections they made.  It gives the teacher another measure of how kids are doing and what they are thinking without taking up too much time.  It is a great way to make sure ideas get revisited and questions get answered before the next day's math lesson begins.

If you are looking for more ideas around formative assessment check out these books



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Using Formative Assessment in Math Class Part 2

If you missed part 1, click here to check it out!

Call Sticks

     A must have for every classroom!  Call sticks let you ask a question, provide some wait time and pick a random student.  It really makes students pay attention because they never know when it might be their turn.  It is a great way to increase engagement in your classroom. If you have ever taken a course or sat through a workshop where they were using call sticks you will understand how much it keeps you on your toes.  The ones in the picture are fancy kid shaped sticks that I made when I was feeling particularly creative but regular craft sticks work just fine as well. 

Individual White or Chalk Boards

Getting a class set of individual white boards is a great investment.  I have used mine almost daily for 5 years and they still work great.  Individual white boards are like having your whole class raise their hand and answer a question all at once.  They are great to use when you are trying to figure out what skills kids have.  Ask a question, give them time to answer in on their white boards and then when you give a signal, everyone shows their answers at the same time.  It is a very quick way to see who is getting it and who needs a little more of your time and attention. 

ABCD Cards

These are simple to make, very cheap and work great.  All you need is 4 index cards per kid, a whole puncher and some binder rings.  You can have kids as young as second grade make them with no help from an adult in under 10 minutes.  You simply write an A, B, C and D, one letter on each of four cards, hole punch and put together on a binder ring.  Done!  Then you use them whenever you are doing anything with multiple choice questions.  You simply ask or show the question and answer choices and on your signal the kids all show you their letter at the same time.  I use these most often in the fall when we are reviewing for our state assessment.  Throughout the year, I pull them out occasionally when we are doing other work with multiple choice questions.  I store them in a recipe box so they are always ready to go.

Which of these strategies would work best for your students?  Are there any of these ideas that you could try out this fall?  


Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Math Literature Volume 2

I hope you enjoyed last week's installment of Monday Math Literature where I discussed Sir Cumference And The Dragon Of Pi Click here if you missed it and want to check it out!

This week I want to talk about my favorite Marilyn Burns book, Spaghetti and Meatballs for All!

I love Marilyn Burns!  I own several of her math literature books and a small pile of her professional development books.

This story is about Mr. and Mrs. Comfort's family reunion.  It is a great way for kids to explore area and perimeter while seeing how different table arrangements (constant area) result in a different number of seats available for family members (changing perimeter).  The story is fun and lighthearted and easy for students to connect with.  It is also a great story for kids to "act out" using tiles to model the tables.  I have used this book in grades 2-5 to help kids work on area and perimeter and it is especially good at getting kids to understand that rectangles can have equivalent areas but very different perimeters.

I bought this book in the library/school binding edition.  It is a little more up-front costs but after 5 years of use it still looks new!

What is your favorite Marilyn Burns book?

Want to read more about great math literature?  Click here to head over to part 3:)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Using Formative Assessment in Math Class Part 1

What is formative assessment?  I was first introduced to the idea of formative assessment when I read this book:

Here is what amazon has to say about this book
"The starting point of this book was the realization that research studies worldwide provide hard evidence that development of formative assessment raises students' test scores. The significant improvement in the achievements of the students in this project confirms this research, while providing teachers, teacher trainers, school heads and others leaders with ideas and advice for improving formative assessment in the classroom.

Assessment for Learning is based on a two-year project involving thirty-six teachers in schools in Medway and Oxfordshire. After a brief review of the research background and of the project itself, successive chapters describe the specific practices which teachers found fruitful and the underlying ideas about learning that these developments illustrate. Later chapters discuss the problems that teachers encountered when implementing the new practices in their classroom and give guidance for school management and LEAs about promoting and supporting the changes.

This book offers valuable insights into assessment for learning as teachers describe in their own words how they turned the ideas into practical action in their schools. "

Since reading this book, I have taken a course on formative assessment, used it in my master's degree thesis and taught workshops to other school districts on the concept.  It has completely changed the way I teach and look at student work.  Much of what I use are quick and easy things that you can create yourself.  I also highly recommend a series of books by Paige Keeley who I first heard of from a science teacher friend but have recently picked up her book Mathematics Formative Assessment.  It takes some of her ideas from her science books and applies them to math.  A great resource if you are just getting started or are looking for more ideas around formative assessment.

How I Use Formative Assessment in the Classroom

Exit/Entrance Tickets

 When I plan a math lesson for any grade, I often think about what the essential skill is I want kids to get out of the lesson.  I then write a question that students can answer in under 2 minutes that would show me who does or does not have the essential understanding.  I give this question at the end of a lesson (or at the beginning of the next one if I run out of time!).  I have kids hand it to me on their way out the door or as they transition to the next activity.  If time is up, I just collect what they can get done in a limited amount of time.  Then I simply sort the set of work into two piles.  One pile is for the students who got the essential understanding and the other is for students who didn't.  I admit I occasionally have 3 piles when a question or a response warrants an almost got it or a got it with error pile.  The size and make-up of my piles tells me if I can move onto a new topic the next day, if I need more whole group instruction on the matter or if I need to do some small group work around different ideas.  Here are a few examples from various grade levels on exit tickets.

Here is a formative assessment prompt I wrote to follow up a game from my first and second grade fraction unit Fourths or Not Fourths?.  It is given after the students are finished playing a game and helps me see who has the big idea and who needs a little more instruction or practice.
A 2 question prompt that follows my set of second and third grade fall themed task cards.  These help me see what strategies students have for solving 2 digit addition and subtraction word problems.
 As much as I would have loved to create these fancy looking exit tickets for every single lesson I teach, there just isn't enough time in the day.  I often will just think of a problem and write it and place it under the document camera.  I keep a basket of scrap paper around and often have students just grab a piece of scrap paper and write their answer and name down on that.

Check out Part 2 where I discuss call sticks, white boards and ABCD cards

How do you use formative assessment in your classroom?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Monday Math Literature Volume 1

Hi All!

I will be starting a regular feature on my blog every Monday for the next few months.  I will be featuring math literature books!  It will be a great way to share with all of you some of my favorite books that I use when teaching math concepts.  I love including a picture book in a math lesson and kids love it too!

I am linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their math mentor text linky

This week I am featuring my favorite book that I share with my sixth grade students...

Sir Cumference And The Dragon Of Pi

This book is part of one of my favorite series written by Cindy Neuschwander.  It is a great way to introduce your students or reinforce the idea of the number Pi (which is really emphasized heavily in grade 7 in the Common Core).

In the story, Sir Cumference gets turned into a dragon.  His son Radius finds a poem about the Circle's Measure and uses it to try to turn his father back into a knight before he gets slayed by others in the kingdom.  It is a great exposure to the idea that the circumference of a circle is a little more than 3 times as big as the diameter.  It is also quite humorous and there are several funny character names and math jokes included.

Several years ago, I had a class that particularly loved this book and they begged me to let them perform it as a play.  One of the students re-wrote the book in play format and each kid took on a role and performed it during our Pi Day celebration.  It was great fun and a great connection to literacy!  Each year since, we have re-written the book as a play and performed it for parents and other staff members as part of our Pi Day celebration.  It is a great way for kids to really immerse themselves in the story while practicing their reading fluency at the same time!  It is a very memorable experience for kids and I highly recommend it.

If you want a copy of this book for your classroom, I recommend the library/school binding because it will be much loved by your students and this version is practically indestructible.

Here are some other books in this series that I will be covering in future Monday Math Literature posts!  ALL of these books are worth owning!
Sir Cumference and the First Round Table 
Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens
Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter
Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland

Here are the newest releases in the series that I ordered for this upcoming school year
Sir Cumference and the Viking's Map
Sir Cumference and the Off-the-Charts Dessert

Which book in this series is your favorite?

Want to read about more great math literature books?  Click here to head over to part 2!