# Discovering Multiplication

Multiplication can be a daunting concept for some students. But in my many years as a teacher I have learned that starting out with a discovery activity can help students to understand the process of multiplication and relieve some of the stress.

I like to start off with a real world problem such as “Jessie has 4 plates of cookies. There are 5 cookies on each plate. How many cookies does she have in all?” I have students work in groups or with partners and with counters or color tiles to solve the problem concretely.  I will walk around the room and discuss the methods used, and give a lot of praise for effort.

After working out the problem with the counters we will have a class discussion to recognize that there are many ways to solve the problem. Some students count, some skip count, some use repeated addition and some might already know a few multiplication tricks. I validate each method and move into the next phase, drawing pictures… Again I let students work in groups to find ways to draw pictures and then we share. After sharing I show the the way I like to make my pictures:

I continue this process with several more problems and then name multiplication as a way to solve problems with equal groups more quickly than adding.

We practice with picture problems as well and I reinforce vocabulary…

And, as with any skill, we practice, practice, practice!!!

I would love to know what strategies you use to introduce multiplication in your classroom! Add them in the comment section below!

# Classroom Activities to Celebrate the New Year

Looking for exciting activities to ring in the New Year in your classroom? Here are some of my favorite ideas for making the week(s) back after the holiday break special.

Make a New Year’s Eruption in Science!  Kids love chemical reactions and this one is extra special because, well … glitter is way cool!

Read special books to your class about New Year’s and talk about how holidays can be celebrated differently by different people. You could even have your class create a chart of things they do to celebrate the new year and point out similarities & unique traditions!

Brush up on Math skills with this great New Year’s Scavenger Hunt! Students will have fun working around the room finding the cute frogs and solving the problems.

Teach your class how to set goals. Then have them write their goals on special paper shaped like a party hat. Have them add a self portrait and a party blower for a fun classroom display. Another option would be to have the children trace their arms and hands on construction paper and write goals. This makes a great display with the title “Reach for The Stars”

This is a great time to review or teach your students about Growth Mindset! Have students reflect on skills that were tough at the beginning of the year and not so tough now. Talk about ways to grow as a learner!

Make a New Years Book or Time Capsule!  This will be a keepsake for years to come!

For more great New Year’s Ideas, check out my Pinterest Board:

# New Year’s Math Fun!

Looking for something fun to do when you return from the Holiday Break? This New Year’s Math Scavenger Hunt is a great way to practice engage students while practicing math skills!

Math Scavenger Hunts are perfect for guided math, whole class, centers or small groups! They are a great way to have students moving while working with a partner on Math.

And they are so easy for the teacher to prep! Simply print the problems, hang them around the room or another area. Print record sheets for your students and you are all set!

# How to Have Fun When You Don’t Have Time for Fun!

Some of my favorite memories of my elementary school years involve making crafts and playing games! My favorite craft was making gingerbread scented salt dough ornaments! But, anyone who teaches in this day and age knows we don’t always have time to do the fun stuff, right! So, to make the most of the season I sneak in a little holiday cheer as often as possible! Here are a few of my favorite ways to sneak in some fun when you have too much curriculum to cover or a dreaded math assessment to review for!

As simple as it sounds, white printer paper, colored markers and stickers or stamps can add a little holiday cheer to even the most dull math tasks! Here is an example of a Math Review I did yesterday with one of my Fourth graders. She has a test this week so we needed to spend some serious time reviewing fractions, but you can see that we still made it fun!

I bet you can figure out what my third graders are reviewing this week!  Check out this simple array activity to practice multiplication! This could also be used for fact families!

But what if you have to work on a review with word problems? No problem! You make that into a present too! Take any review or set of task cards and have students make a cheerful answer sheet like this:

Well, if you know me at all, you know I LOVE MATH GAMES, so I will have to mention that you can turn any math skill into a game!  Here is one of my favorites from my TpT Store:

# Holiday Math Craftivities and Activities!

‘Tis the season to be jolly … but, if we are in school we still have math skills to teach and review! Here are some awesome Holiday Math Craftivities and Activities to help your students have fun while still learning!

Have your students measure and cut strips of paper in specific lengths and use the strips to make Christmas Trees! This can be as simple as 1 inch, 2 inch, 3 inch or as complicated as area and perimeter or fractions depending on your students’ age/grade level.

How about fraction snowmen or “symmetries”?  Cute, fun and educational!

This stacking cup game is designed for addition facts, but it could really be modified for any math skill!

These math games are lots of fun too!  They are low prep and easy to play!

For more great Holiday Math Ideas check out my pinterest board!

# Very Merry Classroom Ideas for December

### Well, Thanksgiving break was a great time for relaxing and visiting with family and friends. But … Now we have to go back to school?  What on Earth will we do with these excited children while they count the days until their holiday break?  Here are some ideas to help you make the days/weeks leading up to the holiday break fun and educational.

Joy, Sunshine, and Lollipops has excellent  ideas on her blog for celebrating Holidays Around the World!

How about a Grinch Day?  Falling Into First has great ideas on her blog for celebrating Grinch Day!

Get your students moving around the room with this Math Scavenger Hunt! Your students will love solving word problems with partners.

Looking for great Read A Louds for Christmas? The Printable Princess has a collection for you.

How cute is this writing activity “If Santa Was Stuck in My Chimney…”? Check out other related ideas on the blog, First Grade Wow

These Holiday Math Games are perfect for elementary classrooms!

This Gumdrop Math Challenge is a great way to get your students using critical thinking skills while having fun!

More Math??? Here are some great ideas!

If you are having a class party, check out these 15 Class Games from A Girl and A Glue Gun.

Want more great ideas? Check out my Pinterest Holiday Board:

# Candy Shop Math Centers

I am getting excited about the holiday season! I have made some new games/activities to play with my 3rd and 4th graders using some really fun clip art! Seriously, the elves are so cute!

The four newest games/activities I have created are:

2. Subtraction Matching
3. Addition and Subtraction Balancing Equations
4. Addition and Subtraction Word Problems