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Monday, January 26, 2015

"Snow" Much Fun Blog Hop

Happy Monday!  Today I am joining up with some new blogging friends to bring you the Snow Much Fun blog hop.  This blog hop is a way to share with you some new ideas to keep you kids engaged and learning during those long winter months.  We have kept this a short hop so it is a great way to get some new ideas and check out some new blogs without being overwhelmed.  If you are new to my blog, welcome.  I am The Math Maniac and I love teaching math.  I am a K-6 math specialist and believe in the power of conceptual understanding.  I have a lot to say about math teaching and post frequently on this blog about all kinds of math subjects.  You can also find me on Facebook, Pinterest and TPT.  
Today I want to share with you how I try to bring winter fun into the classroom with math story problems.  No matter what grade I am working with and what type of computation my students can do, it is always more fun to use a context.  Using a winter context is a great way to have fun with the season and get kids solving problems they are really interested in.  Here are some of the ways I get kids engaged!

Picture Problems

There is nothing like a fun winter scene to pull my youngest learners into a problem a really get them thinking about math.  A visual images goes a long way toward helping these little learners contextualize a situation and solve a problem.  I like to start picture problems by making a few of my own for students to solve.  Then I let them make their own picture problems.  It is easy to create a background out of construction paper and then kids can draw, use stickers or use stamps to create the rest of the scene.  My favorite winter theme for picture problems is penguins! 
One example of a picture problem.  Click here to grab this one and another penguin freebie!  After solving a few of these as a class, let your students make up their own. 

Winter Literature

Have some winter literature you use every year in your classroom?  It is amazing what kinds of math word problems can be made based on kids' books.  It might be the words in the story or it might be the pictures in the book, but something in almost every book can inspire a word problem.  I have been really focusing on this over the past 2 months and with practice it has gotten easier and easier to come up with good math problems based on popular non-math picture books.   I like to make these problems into little task cards and stick them in the book where I will be sure to remember to ask them.  Here are a few sets I have made for popular winter picture books.  Please feel free to use these with your students and I hope they inspire you to keep going!  
Here are some problems that go along with The Mitten
These problems I used with Snowman at Night

Problems for Tacky the Penguin

Winter Task Cards

For my older students, I like to write winter themed problems on task cards.  Then I take the task cards and we go to our gymnasium and spread the cards out.  Then kids move around the gym solving problems and recording answers.  When we have had a long week cooped up in the classroom it is great to give kids this chance to have a bit of extra movement.  On days when we can't get into the gym we use them in the classroom and play a version of scoot or some game where we can move from desk to desk at the very least.  If we get a sunny and warmish day, we might even venture outside and solve a few problems outside.  Our winter task cards are a mix of ones I have written for the students along with ones we have written as a class and kids have written independently.  Here are a few to get you started!

If you are working on double digit addition and subtraction you can grab this freebie from my TPT store

If your students need to work on multiplication and division facts, this freebie will get you started!

How do you keep kids engaged during the winter?

Head over to Keep 'Em Thinking to learn about how to make Snowflake Crystals with your students!


  1. Thanks for pointing me toward this hop via FB, Tara! What a fun way to get to know some new bloggers!
    Primary Inspiration

  2. I love the idea of having math word problems based on the stories that the students are currently reading!!! I am going to try this tomorrow based on the novel study we are doing for our math warm-up...LOVE IT!!!! :)

    1. It has worked out fantastically well. I was very inspired to do this by a question in Children's Mathematics.

  3. Thanks for the freebie! I do "solve the room" activities. I hang task cards all over the classroom, and the kids walk around and solve them. I like the idea of going to the gym!
    Laughter and Consistency

  4. Thanks to share your ideas with us..Here I would like to introduce a personalized and adaptive learning platform for online maths learning @