Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Math Facts Matter Freebie

Fluency with math facts matters! I've compiled a few fun ways to practice and thought I'd share some freebies.

Cute Cards
I purchased a bunch of cards at the dollar store, and my kids love to pull them out. I'm always on the look out for new cards. Just switching out the options keeps kids interested.

This game is simple: Flip, Multiply, & Compare. The students simply flip two cards to create expressions. Then, the kids compare their answers. 

Grab the freebie sheet I created by clicking here. Also included is a Flip, ADD, & Compare sheet. I use it at the beginning of the school year to review addition facts.

Does a student need more challenge? Grab some lined paper. Have the student flip three cards to multiply.

Use puzzles
My friend/colleague has puzzles that she uses as practice. They're pretty self-explanatory and very motivating!

Pull out the Paint Dotters

I've created sheets to practice 3x through 9x. Students will need one die with 0-9. Each student has a different paint dotter. They take turns rolling, multiplying, and dotting. Once the paper is full, they count to see who dotted the most. Grab the sheets I created by clicking here. (If the thought of paint dotters makes you cringe, the directions also say that students may color each circle. You're welcome!)

Vary the Task
I created "Make Them True" strips a couple of years ago. They don't LOOK fun. Not at all. My students LOVE them, though! Just changing up the practice task keeps students engaged. To add more interest, use seasonal objects. In the photo below, I used foam shamrock stickers and wrote >, <, and = on them.

I've created two Make Them True products which include the expressions strips along with several sheets that can be used for practice, intervention, formative assessment, or homework. Click on the product names below to find them. The strips are easiest to use if you just print them out and stick them is page protectors or dry erase pockets.

Make Them True: Using All Four Operations

Make Them True: Using Addition, Subtraction, & Multiplication


Students get a small tub of play-dough and a bunch of sticks with facts. They need to figure out the products and then order the facts from least to greatest

I hope some of these ideas come in handy! Happy facts practice. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Five for Friday

It's Friday, and I'm on spring break! I'm thrilled. My students and I can use the rest! Are any of you on break? I'm happy to be linking up with Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

We've been working on geometry. I started off with this great idea that Doris shared on her blog, Third Grade Thinkers. We used spaghetti and round cereal to create line segments, lines, points, and parallel lines. Food=Engagement. Always!


We've been steeping ourselves in geometry vocabulary. We made "angle makers" out of straws, pipe cleaners, and beads. The kids thought I was a genius. We also made "right angle testers" by coloring index cards for 30 seconds. Then, the students went around the room finding right angles. 

As part of our study of colonial Connecticut, we learned the Legend of the Charter Oak. My students could choose to demonstrate their knowledge by creating a comic strip, creating a poster with the story written on the leaves, or working collaboratively to write a script and present a skit of the legend. It's been a nutty week, but every student was able to tell me the legend and answer questions about it. We enjoyed our final skit today, so after vacation we'll be moving on.

Most mornings this week, my son made my coffee for me and placed it on the table with my clean water cup. All I have to do is grab my cups and go! He's sweet. 

My anniversary is today! My husband made REALLY good steak, roasted potatoes, and mushrooms and had these flowers on the table when I got home. 

Thanks for visiting! Have a wonderful weekend. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

End of Year Kindness Refresher Course

There are 35 school days left, and my students have been needing some kindness reminders. Some days, they work together like champs. On other days-not so much! 

I've decided to do kindness refresher course after our spring vacation. 

I'd thought I'd share a few ideas in case your students need a refresher as well! 

A Wave of Kindness: Ride the Wave!

This video was shared with our staff by the fourth grade team at my school, and I can't wait to play it for my students. 


Kind and Generous by Natalie Merchant
I've been thinking for a long while about sharing this song with my students. If you haven't heard it, check it out! 

True Colors (Phil Collins version)
I've loved this song since Cyndi Lauper crooned it in the eighties! (I was in high school.) I like the Phil Collins version better for the classroom, because it's easier to sing along to!

We'll be doing close reads of the songs. We'll annotate and make notes about new vocabulary. And, of course, we'll sing along! I have both songs on my Spotify playlist.


I created these mini-stories based on friendship issues that occurred in my classroom a few years ago. I'm pretty sure it was right around this time of year, too! I often use these at the beginning of the year, but they'll work anytime. Click here to grab them from my store.

While searching for ideas at Teachers Pay Teachers, I came across this gem created by Student Savvy!

These cards go into a jar. Students can read the task cards during free time or whenever you prompt them to do so!

For some other kindness books and ideas, check out this post as well as this post about building classroom community.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Five for Friday

Happy weekend! Are any of you on spring break?  We have a full week of school next week. Our vacation begins Friday the 15th after the students go home. This week was a busy week, and I'm glad to share some of it by linking up with Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday. 

These photos are actually from last Friday (April Fool's Day). A couple of my boys were having the best time "fooling" me by leaving rubber insects and lizards on my chair and my desk. Of course, I let out a few mock shrieks for the class's enjoyment. 

Today, I gave the fraction test! Phew! It seems like we've been working on fractions for FOREVER. I'll need to keep providing regular review, but we get to move on and start geometry next week!

In other math-related news, I made these bug spinners with clip art by Krista Wallden.  The students have been spinning three factors and then multiplying. At times, they end up with challenging problems such as 49x5. I haven't taught them the traditional algorithm. What I have been doing is reviewing the Distributive Property of Multiplication and teaching them how to use it when they get those more difficult problems. 

We've been loving Literature Circles! The kids are extremely excited about the whole process, and I'm free to circulate and listen in on each discussion. The fact that we're reading Stone Fox is a big bonus. 
(I shared materials and a Stone Fox freebie in this post.) 
I found a great article and video on Dogo News about television programming for dogs! 

This has prompted a whole opinion writing project.  We watched a doggy daycare video on this website. We read about doggy daycares and invisible electric fencing. Now, the students will be figuring out their opinions about what's best for dogs. As you can imagine, the children have had a lot to say! 

Thanks for stopping by! Have a good weekend.