Fall is such a special time of year! I like to bring Fall Math Activities into the classroom. Here are Ten of my Favorites!
What in the world do you do with early finishers? This is a big question for teachers! I think it is important to teach your students to check their work when finished. Teaching students to improve their work when they think they are finished is a valuable lesson. But, after that, there are always going to be a handful of students who will finish their work sooner than the rest of the class. So, back to the question … What do you do? Sitting and waiting for the rest of the class to finish or doing busy work can be very boring and is not giving these students a chance to continue learning. Here are some of my favorite ideas for early finishers!
Set up a system for students so they can find out what to do without disrupting the class or asking you while you are helping other students. I love this display that can be set up at the front of the room. The signs can be switched out depending on what you want the students to do each day.
Make sure your students know your expectations so they are not off task or disruptive. This poster is a great example and it is free! You could also make an anchor chart.
Have a place to organize the materials and supplies the students need for the activities to minimize questions such as “where do I get paper for _____ …. ?”
Extension menus are great for independent work. I like this reading menu, but you could make a menu for any subject. For example, if you are working on place value you could have a menu with place value activities for students to choose from.
Bulletin boards such as Boggle or Noggle can be fun! You can change the numbers or letters out every week or two. You could even put some students in charge of updating the board and making the answer key!
Stem Bins are a great hands on activity. Lots of fun while building reasoning skills.
Partner games and centers are a way to let your students interact with others while practicing skills.
Computer games and websites can be great learning tools. Make sure you set procedures up for how to get online and which sites students will go. Here are some of my favorites!
For more great ideas check out my early finishers board on Pinterest!
I am not sure when I learned how to write numbers in expanded notation, but I am certain it was not in 3rd grade. Students now are expected to learn how to write numbers in expanded notation as early as 3rd grade here in Texas and I am sure that applies to other states as well. But why? It is part of a push to help students understand the relationships between places and digits in our base ten number system. It can seem difficult at times, but with hands on activities and a lot of practice, your students can master expanded notation.
One method I find to be very effective is using play money:
Give your students a number. Guide them to use their play value money to model the number.
Then ask them “Ask “How many hundred thousands?” Tell “Expanded notation shows the number in each place times the value of the place, so 3 hundred thousands is 3 x 100,000.”
Continue questioning and guiding students to use play money to help them write the numbers.
You can download my play money for FREE by clicking the picture above.
For more great place value ideas, check out my Place Value Board on Pinterest!
I like place value blocks. They are a great concrete model for helping students to understand the relationship between ones, tens, hundreds and thousands. Students can count the blocks and set them side by side to see that ten ones is the same as one hundred or that one hundred tens is equal to one thousand. I also think it is important to use other examples for students to find meaning in the base ten system. In early grades we see students bundling straws and or popsicle sticks to learn grouping in tens and hundreds. A lot of teachers have students bring in objects to count on the hundredth day of school and sort them into groups of ten to see the relationship between ones, tens, and hundreds. These are terrific! But … what about older students? What about the relationships in the thousands, millions, billions?
For years I used blocks to teach and review base ten from ones through one thousands and then showed the students the patterns on the place value chart. One year I borrowed thousands cubes from other teachers to show my students a concrete example of ten thousand. (It was tall). This is a great concrete example for a lot of the students, and I still use the blocks (see my blocks post here). But not for all. So, what other models can we use with older students?
Money! Yup! Students seem to like talking about and playing with money! So I started using that play money from my manipulatives kit to help students see that the relationship between place values isn’t always about size, sometimes it is about WORTH (value)! So I took the fives out and we would use the play money to practice trading 10 ones for a ten, 10 tens for a hundred. And then I showed how that pattern repeats on the place value chart. Works great! But … most sets of play money don’t have the bigger bills … so … I made my own play money!
Now I have bills from the ones to the millions! I had a student ask me last week when we were working on this if there was really such a thing as a ten thousand dollar bill. I told her I wasn’t sure, but maybe we could research money to see what kind of bills the US Mint makes! Maybe I will have time to do that tomorrow! 😊