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Friday, July 24, 2020

Ten Games to Play with 10 Frame Playing Cards FREE Printable Booklet for Families

If you have ever read my blog before, you probably already know how much I love 10 frames!  One of my favorite tools are 10 frame playing cards.  I have created 10 frame playing card sets with penguins, pumpkins, santas, hearts, school buses and plants. When kids are ready, I level them up and use double 10 frames as well.  

Why do I have so many different 10 frame playing cards?  The reason is that there are so many different ways to use them and they are a great tool to help kids develop numeracy and additive reasoning.  The other reason is that changing the pictures on the cards can make a game feel brand new and seasonally fun yet doesn't require a bunch of re-teaching on how to play the game.  The third reason is that most of these games can easily be leveled up and down making it so kids can play multiple times over multiple years and still get good practice from the games.

My own kids and my students love 10 frame cards because they love card games.  I have long been a fan of using these at school and at home with my own kids but this spring when folks had to do more school work at home, I wanted families to be able to play these games together.  My students had already played most of these games at school and I knew I could easily make more 10 frame playing card decks to send home with each family and I had teacher directions written for these games, I did not have an easy and parent friendly set of directions.  To solve this problem, I created this little printable book that includes 10 different games kids and families can play with 10 frame cards.  When you print double sided, it only takes 3 pieces of paper to make each booklet.  All games include a picture and parent friendly directions.  

This booklet features the cards from my penguin 10 frame set but would work with any set of 10 frame playing cards.  

If you would like to grab this to use with your own children or to send home with families this year, I am offering the booklet as a freebie in my TPT store.  If you need 10 frame playing cards to go with it you can choose from the penguin ones featured in the book, pumpkinssantasheartsschool buses or plants.

Looking for more to help you out with teaching during these crazy times?  For a super limited time, I have partnered with a bunch of amazing math teachers to offer a spring themed bundle of resources.  A great way to save time and money and grab what you need to finish out the school year strong! Get all the info here! 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Math TV Shows for Kids

In my area, we have about 4 weeks before teachers are back at school and about 5 weeks before kids go back.  Things are very much still up in the air about what we will be doing for in person/online instruction.  It looks likely that we will be doing a hybrid model of in person and online learning.  I am certain kids will have more time at home than usual and teachers will have more on their plate than ever. 

I know that this often means more screen time for kids especially kids whose parents are at work or working from home.  I know parents are doing their best, but sometimes they need an hour to do a work call uninterrupted or have 5 minutes peace! Today I want to share with you our favorite math TV shows for when you just need the kids engaged in learning independently.  These are also great shows to recommend to parents of your students for when they have just had enough! 

Number Blocks

This show recently popped up on my kids' recommended list on Netflix.  Since then, I have seen parents and teachers posting about it on Facebook several times!  In the name of blog research, my kids and I spent an hour on a rainy afternoon checking out a few episodes.  It is definitely a show that is to young for my kids but they were still engaged enough to watch several episodes.  It is a great option for kids 2-5.  It does a particularly good job introducing the idea of decomposing numbers.  They have quite a few episodes available on Netflix and they also have a very active Youtube channel.  

Here is one of the videos from their Youtube channel that shows kids how to build the number blocks with playdoh.  

Peg + Cat

This was a favorite of my kids' when they were in preschool and kindergarten.  It used to be on Netflix but doesn't seem to be currently.  Luckily there are full episodes available on Youtube and on PBS kids.  This one is great for pre-k up through grade 1!  


This one is the best choice for bigger kids!  There are lots of episodes, it was a show on years ago that then was canceled and then started up again!  It tackles all kinds of math topics and is super engaging for kids.  Great for grades 1-4! This is another one from PBS kids that is also available on Youtube

This one definitely saved my sanity during quarantine this spring!  My 3 kids could all watch it together and all get something out of it. 

Monster Math Squad

This one is another one that is new to my family.  It is available on Netflix and Youtube and is another show aimed at preschool and early elementary.  Despite being to old for the target audience, my kids agreed to watch an episode for the purposes of this article.  My older 2 pronounced it as terrible and only stuck around for one 12 minute episode.  My youngest who just finished Kindergarten said it was okay but wanted to watch more so I think she enjoyed it but likes to be just like her big brothers.  If  you have kids at several ages I would start with Number Blocks instead of Monster Math Squad. 

Leap Frog Number Land

This one was around when my kids were smaller but they were such big fans of Peg + Cat they never really got into this one.  It works on early number concepts like counting and writing numbers to 10.  Another option for the preschool to Kindergarten crowd.  Available on Netflix with some clips available on Youtube.  

Team Umizoomi

This one rounds out the crowd of math shows aimed at the preschool crowd!  It is from Nick Jr and is available on Amazon prime video.  It is a good option for those who already have Prime Video and preschool aged kids!

Odd Squad

Another great show for the bigger kids!  This one has a detective spin and explores elementary math concepts.  Also available on PBS kids and Youtube! We discovered it recently and it has been my kids' got to show in recent weeks! An excellent option for elementary age kids!

What would you add to the list?  Feel free to leave your favorite in the comments below or head over to our Facebook page and leave your thoughts there!

Want to work on differentiating instruction this year?  Join our FREE Facebook group here for discussions about all things differentiated! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Here is Your Free Multiplication Game

We have a winner!  I asked last week here on the blog and over on my Facebook page which game from my new book, Complete Multiplication Workbook you wanted to see and the winner was this one!  

This is called Gone Fishing and is a great way to practice the 4 and 5 multiplication facts! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

10 Ways we Can STILL do Math Centers or Math Menu With COVID Restrictions: In Person Learning

One of the best things we have ever done to move our instruction forward over the past few years is implement math menu.  A math menu helps us meet all our students where they are.  It gives a chance to provide practice for kids in their zone of proximal development.  It is an excellent tool for differentiating instruction and practice and gives kids voice and choice in their learning.

Some folks do math stations or guided math as well.  These ideas should also work in those situations

In recent weeks, I have been thinking about how we can still provide this level of differentiation with restrictions due to COVID.  Here are my ideas so far!  I am sure I will be refining and revising these as I start working with kids and trying them out.  If you have any to add please feel free to leave them in the comments below or head over to our Differentiating Math Facebook Group where we will be having these conversations a lot! 

- Offer kids partner games where each partner has their own supplies.  For example if kids were playing a game with cards to compare fractions, they would each have their own deck of cards and would play 6 feet apart from each other or on opposite sides of a partition and they would just pile their own cards into a win or lose pile.  

- Kids could have everything they need for menu/centers right at their desk.  Teachers could offer a menu packet that was a mix of games, review, activities with choices built in.j

- Offer more individual games, especially those that are self checking like this write and wipe factor game or these number puzzles that only fit together when they are correct. 

- Kids could have more online games offered during menu time.  We curate ours using a school wide math blog but building this into your Google classroom, seesaw, etc would also work and would make a transition to at home learning easier.  

- Choose games that require less pieces

- Have kids play the game with an imaginary friend.  They get twice the practice this way but don't have the benefit of actually working with another person!

- Choose dice games that are easy to level up and level down.  Most schools have plenty of dice in them!  Here are a few of our favorites

-Make each kid in your class their own deck of cards that can be used for lots of different games.  We do this often with 10 frame cards, 20 frame cards, numbers to 120 place value decks and numbers to 1000 place value decks.  It is some work to print and cut all the decks but they can be used SO MANY different ways! 

-Make each kid a math box!  I have many more posts to come in the next month about math boxes but they have been something we have been using for the last 5 or so years, have given us a ton of leverage with differentiation and made the transition from in school to at home learning a lot smoother.  I am working on a FREE ebook right now about getting started with math boxes so if you want to hear more about these, be sure to check back or head over and join our Differentiating Math Facebook group

-If your students have used math centers or math menu in the past, ASK THEM for suggestions on how you can continue to offer them voice and choice with the current restrictions in your school.  My students always have the best ideas and even though I can't ask them yet, I totally plan on including their suggestions.  The ultimate voice and choice! 

What ideas could you add to this list?  We would love to hear from you in the comments below or over on the Facebook group! 


Thursday, July 16, 2020

BIG Changes!

So I know we are in the middle of a pandemic and we have all made some big changes in recent months like helping our students learn from home and homeschooling our own children but I am in the middle of another huge change. My beloved elementary school that I have spent the last 14 years of my career in closed at the end of this past school year.  It was something that was planned last fall due to declining enrollment and consolidation but it was a tough pill to swallow then when schools shut down in March, none of us knew that our last day was our last day.

I spent a week at the end of June cleaning out my classroom, going through lots of memories and possessions that have accumulated over the past 14 years.  When I started at this school, I had a small room with one table, a second grader sized desk with my computer on it, a filing cabinet full of other people's old files and a huge bookshelf filled with leveled readers.  Because of declining enrollment and the wonders of time, I have a HUGE classroom filled with all kinds of things, some of which I use every day and many that I do not.  

Add to that my impressive collection of math literature and some of the professional development books I have read (I confess to also having a coffee table at home full of these!) I had a lot of things to go through.  I will be following almost all the students and some staff members up the road a few miles to a larger school where I will be working with more teachers and many more students.  Because this school is getting a large influx of kids all at once, they are creating several more classrooms which means my space will be a tiny room (it's not a closet because it has a window into the hallway!) that I will be sharing with a literacy specialist.  This meant I had to a DRAMATIC downsizing of my possessions.  I really pared things down to the things I use every day, the math literature books I look forward to reading to kids the most, the professional development books that I am always lending to other teachers and the math manipulatives, games and cards that give me the most bang for my buck.

Starting sometime this week, I will be going into the new school to get things set up and will be sharing with you some of my favorite things (aka the things I kept!).  If you have a small budget, are just getting started or are looking to downsize, these posts will be must reads for you!

I also have been working on lots of posts and a free ebook on math boxes.  I haven't shared much here on the blog about math boxes because there is so much to say and I have never been able to put a post together that says all the things but they are something we have been using every day over the past 5 years and they really saved us during the switch to online learning.  They are also a personal possession of kids and are used by one student so they are something that will work well for this crazy school year we have coming at us.  I have so much to say and share that I am working on a free ebook called Getting Started with Math Boxes.  I REALLY want this ready to share with teachers and parents during the back to school season but you know real life gets in the way sometimes. I am working on it in the in between hours when my kids are occupied or sleeping but after 4+ months home together 24/7 I get less time to work on my projects than I would like!  

I also just announced that my first book, the Complete Multiplication Workbook is ready for pre-sale and anyone who orders it before August 3rd will get a free copy of my very popular Multiplication Fact Deck and Activity Set.  You can check out all the details in this post

It has been 14 years since I have changed schools and I am doing it during a pandemic.  Nothing like lots of change at once!  I know there are not really pandemic experts out there yet but I bet some of you have a lot of advice for teachings changing schools.  I would love it if you could share some of that advice in the comment section below! 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Teaching Math With You Tube Videos: Subitizing

About 5 years ago, I started a very popular series on my blog called Teaching Math with Youtube Videos. I have posts about







Teen numbers

Area and perimeter

Addition facts

Subtraction Facts

 They are a great way to get a little movement break while still working on important math concepts. These little movement breaks have been super important as we have transitioned from summer vacation back to school 5 days a week. 

I try to keep these posts up to date and have deleted and added videos to each of them a few times a year.  They still get lots of visits each month and are a great way to have all the content from one topic in one area. I recently spent some time making updates to these posts and noticed that I don't have one dedicated to subitizing.  Since there are some fabulous subitizing videos on You Tube now, I thought I would share with you a few of my favorites!

What is Subitizing? 

Subitizing is the ability to instantly recognize quantities.  It is an important early math skill and a must master for kids in K and grade 1.  The ability to subitize can further be broken into perceptual subitizing which is the ability to instantly recognize small quantities and conceptual subitizing which is when you decompose the image into smaller parts and add what you see together in your head. 

We love using videos as a great way to practice this skill along with number talks, a few apps and our Movin' it math cards.

Start Out With Subitizing Quantities to 5

If your kiddos are new to subitizing, start with one of these!  Many of these can be done with perceptual subitizing which just a touch of conceptual subitizing required.  Work on subitizing to 5 first and move up when kids are ready!

Some have answers included (after a few seconds for students to answer first) and others are open answer (it never confirms the right answer).  We usually start with the original version and try the open answer as students are ready.  

Subitize to 10!

Lots to choose from here!  A note on pronunciation:  There seems to be 2 different ways folks pronounce subitize.  I say it [soob-itizing] but some folks say it a little different! 

Do you have a favorite subitizing song?

Are you a parent of a kiddo in grades 3-5?
You might want to check out this recent announcement from my Facebook page!
After a lot of hard work behind the scenes for the past several months, I'm so excited to finally announce that I have my first published print book coming out in just a few weeks, the Complete Multiplication Workbook.  Multiplication is a must-know skill and builds the foundation for future math success.  The Complete Multiplication Workbooks is the one-stop guide for making sure kids have a strong foundation in multiplication.  I would love you to support my first print workbook!  You can pre-order your copy here!

More sneak peaks inside coming in the next few weeks! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

I Wrote a Book!

After a LOT of hard work behind the scenes for the past several months, I'm so excited to finally announce that I have my first published print book coming out, Complete Multiplication Workbook. Multiplication is a must-know skill and builds the foundation for your future math success. The Complete Multiplication Workbook is the one-stop guide for making sure 4th graders understand whole number multiplication. I would love you to support my book. You can pre-order your copy here!

Stay tuned for sneak peeks in the coming weeks! I’m so excited!