Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Math Literature Volume 7

It's another Monday!  That means it is time to look at another one of my favorite math literature books!  If you are new to my Monday math literature posts, click here to start from week 1.  Last week I reviewed
One Grain Of RiceClick here to check out that post!

 This week I want to tell you about an oldie but a goodie!  This book is another by Marilyn Burns and was first published many years ago.  In fact, I remember reading and loving this book when I was in elementary school.

Math for Smarty Pants 


This is the perfect book to hand to that student in your class who you never seem to get to spend the extra time with.  The kid who finishes all their work quickly and easily and is looking for something more.  This book introduces some very deep mathematical topics in a light, entertaining and VERY kid friendly way.  It does a great job of showing kids how math is used in the real world and getting kids excited about the math around them.  I think it is a much better option than having kids do busy work in the form of extra arithmetic worksheets.  

This book introduces some big mathematical ideas so I think it is best for grades 3 and up.  I most often use it in grades 4 and up but there has been the occasional third grader who has been ready for this extra challenge.

Are there any math literature books you use to challenge students?

Click here to head to Volume 8!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Math Literature Volume 6

Are you new to my Monday Math Literature posts?  Click here to start at the beginning!

This week, I want to talk about the math literature book

One Grain Of Rice


This story has been around for 15 or so years and I still can't get enough of it.  It addresses the mathematical idea of doubling or the power of 2 function.  I have used it in grades 3 through 6 and sometimes read it multiple times to one class over a span of a few years.  It is a folktale and it has social messages as well as being very strong on the mathematics.  It is a great way to get intermediate kids EXCITED about math.  

I often use this book the first week of school or on the day before a vacation or another wiggly time.  I pose a problem such as this:

       In fourth grade (or whatever grade the kid is in), I think kids should have 40 minutes of homework per night.  A student came up with a different idea.  He thinks there should be one second of homework the first day of school, 2 seconds the second day, 4 seconds the third day and 8 seconds the fourth day.  The amount of homework doubles each day.  This class can choose between my idea and this students' idea.  Work with a partner to figure out which way would be better for you. 

Kids often use a table to track the results of this problem and within 15-20 minutes partners come to the realization that doubling quickly catches up with and surpasses doing 40 minutes of homework each night. 

I have 2 pairs gets together and talk about what they notice and then read this story as a culmination of the activity.  The story serves to show a visual image of what doubling does as well as show some numbers that help kids "check" their own work.  There is even a table at the back that shows the results of 30 doublings.

With third graders (and occasionally second) I use this book in a slightly different way.  I often combine it with reading and writing large numbers.  They still enjoy the story very much but I focus on how to say and write the numbers represented in the story.

Stay tuned next week for another Math Literature Monday!

If you are new to my Math Literature Monday posts, click here to start at the beginning!  OR Click here to head to Volume 7!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Math Literature Volume 5

Are you new to my Monday Math Literature series?  Click here to start at Volume 1!

My favorite book for helping kids bridge from counting to addition and even multiplication is


        This book is written riddle style by Greg Tang who has written quite the collection of riddle based math books.  The pictures are colorful and kid friendly and the riddles help kids move from counting one by one to more efficient methods such as repeated addition or even multiplication.  This is one of the books that kids will get really engaged in and after a whole group lesson using one or two of the riddles, students often pick up the book during choice or free times and work on some of the other riddles.  When I have a student struggling to move to more efficient methods of counting, this is a book that goes a long way towards helping out.

The best part is that the Greg Tang math website has been completely revamped over the past year and all of his books are now offered electronically and interactive.  There are also some GREAT games on this site that really help with number sense. 

His books are appropriate from kids ranging from pre-K up through fifth grade so there really is something for everyone!

Which Greg Tang book is your favorite?

Click here to head over to Volume 6!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Made It!

I finally got to spend a full day at school getting things ready for the new year.  My big task for today was to figure out a way to organize all of my task cards and centers so they are ready to use on moment's notice.  I am linking up with Tara over at Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!
 I organized my task cards and centers into folders.  Here is a peak at the inside of one of them.

On the left is a copy of the answer key and a stack of blank record sheets.  On the right is a baggie with the task cards in it and behind that are multiple copies of the follow up sheets that go with this set of task cards. 

The front of the folder has a copy of the cover sheet for this set of task cards. 
Now my fall task cards are ready to go!  Click here to read more about how I use these task cards in the classroom or here to get a set for yourself!

Here is another peak at a different folder!  It is a QR code scavenger hunt on addition and subtraction facts.  Go here if you want this one!  I tried it out today (my first time using QR codes) and it was a LOT of fun!  I am going to be doing a lot more work with QR codes this school year!
A look at the cover

The inside of the folder includes the answer key, record sheets and the QR code cards ready to go!

Monday Math Literature Volume 4

Are you new to my Monday Math Literature posts?  Click here to start at the beginning!

Are you looking for a book to make learning geometry fun for your students?

Here is one of my favorites


In this story, a triangle is unhappy with himself and thinks that if he looked different he would be happier.  He visits the shapeshifter and asks for one more side and one more angle.  He is still not satisfied and continues to ask for one more side and one more angle.  Finally, after many visits and many sides and angles he realizes it is not about the way he looks.  

I have used this book with kids from Kindergarten up through third grade with success.  It is a very sweet and engaging story that teaches social lessons as well as mathematical ones.  It is a great way to expose kids to different names of polygons while integrating math and literature.

It is a must have for K-3 teachers!

Are there any children's literature books that you use to teach geometry concepts?

If you missed my other math literature Monday posts, click here to start at the beginning. 

Click Here to head to Volume 5!

You also might want to check out my post about teaching shapes with  You Tube videos.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Maniac Monday

One of my FAVORITE freebies is a fraction game that goes along with my Grades 1 and 2 Common Core Fraction Unit.  One of my FAVORITE blogs is classroom freebies, so today I have decided to link up with them for Maniac Monday!  It is a great way to pick up some freebies for back to school and check out some amazing teacher blogs. 

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
I love teaching fractions and spent a lot of time this year revamping my units for first and second grade around fraction understandings.  Today I would like to offer you as a freebie one of my favorite games from this unit.  Fourths or Not Fourths is a fun game to practice one of the big ideas of fractions at this level.  If you want to read more about how I use this game in the classroom, head over to this blog post!

Click here to download this freebie!
Hope your students love this game as much as mine do!  If you want to read more about how I teach fractions to older students check out this post or this one

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Estimating and Counting Routines Part 1

One of the BIGGEST ideas in the common core for K and 1 is counting and cardinality.  I use whole group, small group, and partner estimating and counting routines to give kids lots of practice with these big mathematical ideas.

Here is a peak at the common core standards from Kindergarten addressed by these routines.  (There are quite a few!)
  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.1 Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.2 Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.4 Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.4a When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.4b Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.4c Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.5 Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count out that many objects.
 We start with a container of items like glass gems, counters, bears or pretty much anything!

I show the students the container and ask a question such as "do you think there are more or less than 100 gems in here?"  I have kids turn and talk to a neighbor to share their answer and then dump the container out on the floor or table

I have a student take 10 out of the collection and put it off to the side a bit.  This gives them a frame of reference and gets them thinking in tens.

Then we talk about if this small pile is 10, about how many are here altogether.  I give kids about 10 seconds to look and then cover the collection with a cookie sheet or a large book.  If kids have an unlimited time to look at the collection, I will see them moving their eyes and counting to themselves.  My goal in this part is to get them to estimate, not count.  I have kids turn and share their answer with a partner and have a few partners share out their thinking.  Then I uncover the collection and ask students to help me figure out how many are here.  With a collection this size, a student will often suggest grouping by 10. 

 Once it is grouped into 10's, I have the student count by tens.  We then write the number (in this case 85).  We talk about what the 8 means and what the 5 means.

Then I often tell kids we are going to give out all the gems before we count them by ones and assure them that I want each kid to have the same amount.  In whole group instruction,  this results in each kid having less than 10 but this day I was doing small group and each kid ended up with quite a pile. They shared the tens first and knew each kid would get 2 tens and then they shared the ones.  This is great conceptual development and life experience that is important for them to have when they start learning about division. 

 Once each kid has a pile, I ask them to count how many they have.  Then we count by ones while we place each item back in the container.  Sometimes I will stop the counting to make a comment, and then say something like "how many were in here?"  A student will answer 27.  Then we will count on from that number.  This stop and start counting helps kids be able to count on from any number which is a very important skill.  There are many vaiations on this routine that I will be sharing as the new school year gets underway.  Make sure you are following my blog so you are kept up to date!

One of my favorite purchases for back to school is a few of these lidded paint cups that I am thinking about using for some estimating and counting math centers.  They are cute and come in different colors and have a lid that doesn't pop open when kids throw them in a tub.

Click here to head to part 2!

How do you work on counting or estimating with your students?

Here are some other ways I work on numbers to 120.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Currently

Can you believe it?!?!?!  August first is already here which means it is time to link up with Farley for her August currently.  This is a great linky and one I spend a lot of time clicking around which has led me to some fantastic blogs.

My currently this month is pretty self-explanatory.  I do have to say this new iPad I have is leading to a lot of new revelations.  Currently, I am very excited to use QR codes with my students.  The ladies at Learning to the Core have written a post that has really inspired me and have several QR code things in their TPT shops that I must try out.  Starting with this one!

The other thing that is a must have for back to school is several things from the Math Coach's Corner.  She wrote a post about number bracelets that is quite amazing.  They are a great way for primary students to look at different combinations of numbers that add to a given number.  She also wrote a great unit plan that uses the number bracelets and makes it so I can hit the ground running.  I think these will be great for the general classroom and very VERY great for my intervention kids!!!!

I have 20 days until I have to be back at work for pre-service days.  I have a lot to do!

What are your back to school must-haves?

The Single Best Book Ever Written for Teachers on Multiplication

The book that changed how I look at kids' thinking and learning around multiplication is


This book is by Catherine Fosnot, one of my favorite teacher book authors.  She is one of the people I would love to talk math with someday.

This book is built on solid research around the way students learn about multiplicative reasoning.  Her "landscape of learning" is a graphic that shows the paths students take to learning multiplication and division.  It shows where students start and the intermediate steps they need to get to being fluent in multiplication and division.  There are also mini-lessons in the book that really demonstrate good mathematical practices.

If you are a busy second or third grade teacher and don't have time to read an entire book, you must read chapter 3.  Chapter 3 is all about developing multiplication fact strategies.  I really think all teachers (and parents!) who work with kids on multiplication fact strategies should read this first!  It really helps make connections for kids and includes some great mini-lessons using pictures and looking at arrays.

The other must read chapter (who am I kidding, the whole book is a must read!) is chapter 6.  It is about algorithms versus number sense.  It presents some great examples of each and how they are very different.  Reading this chapter has helped me be prepared to talk to parents about why we are teaching math the way we are more than any other book.

This is a great book for anyone who teaches grades 2-5.  It will transform the way you think about and teach multiplication and division. 

If you teach older or younger students, Fosnot also has written two other books I love that I will be discussing in a future post

Young Mathematicians at Work: Constructing Number Sense, Addition, and Subtraction: This book is great for K-2 teachers and is one of the first books I ever read on additive reasoning.

Young Mathematicians at Work: Constructing Algebra: This book is a great book for all elementary math teachers particularly those in grades 3-6.  It gets at the big idea of how arithmetic connects to algebra.

As you can see, I love this series of Young Mathematicans at Work.  The only one I haven't read is the   Fraction, Decimal and Percents book.  I have a feeling it is as good as the rest.

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?

Looking for more multiplication ideas?  Check out these posts!
A free app for working on multiplication facts
Another free app for multiplication
A FREE QR code scavenger hunt for multiplication facts
Teaching math with You Tube videos: Multiplication