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:
I would love to hear some other ideas people have for adding a little holiday fun to math class! Leave a comment below with your favorite activity!
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:
- Addition Bingo
- Subtraction Matching
- Addition and Subtraction Balancing Equations
- Addition and Subtraction Word Problems
The four activities can be purchased individually or as a bundle in my TpT store!
Geometry is one of my favorite units to teach! Maybe it is because I like to quilt so the patterns and shapes are fun for me! Maybe it is because there are so many hands on activities for my students! Some of my favorite activities for centers and/or workstations (math workshop) are:
I love to give my students tangrams and let them explore spatial relationships while building patterns and recreating patterns from books like “Grandfather Tang” and “Tangramables”. If you are lucky enough to have plastic sets of tangrams you can set them up in a center with the books and let your children explore with the shapes. If you need to make your own tangrams, you can download a free pattern here. Print on card stock and cut out. You can also find some cute cards for using tangrams here.
2. Make 3D Shapes:
Head over to Teaching Ideas For Those Who Love Teaching to See step by step how to make these awesome 3D Shapes with Marshmallows and Toothpicks! Yum!
Or … If you prefer paper shapes, Math Geek Mama has Free Printables to make your own shapes!
3. Geometry Scavenger Hunt:
Kids need to get out of their seat and move around! One of your best centers can be the scavenger hunt. Place questions around the room and give your students a record sheet to use while they work. For directions to make your own, see this post: Making A Scavenger Hunt. Or to use premade, print and go resources click here: Scavenger Hunt 1, or here Scavenger Hunt 2.
4. Task Cards:
These task cards are great for starting higher level discussions with your students. Students work together to answer questions identifying, comparing and analyzing critical attributes of 2 and 3 d shapes.
Hopefully you have a few computers in your classroom you can use for a station. Here are two good websites for Geometry:
Task Cards Save Paper: Using task cards can cut down on the number of copies and paper used because you don’t need to make a set for each student and if laminated or kept in protective sleeves, they can be used for years without printing new copies.
Task Cards Increase Engagement: They add to student engagement because they add novelty. Paper and pencil practice is certainly useful, but can become dull and routine. Using dry erase markers on a task card can mix things up a bit. Also, task cards can be printed with fun colors and clip art to add interest for the students.
Centers and or Work Stations – Print cards and keep in small containers or baggies. Have students work in pairs or groups solving problems on task cards and recording on a record sheet. I like using record sheets for two reasons. One, the students are more likely to stay on task if they know they will have to turn something in at the end of the center. And, the other reason, I like to look over the record sheets to see if students need re-teaching or extra help with the skill/concept worked on in the center. If you do not have a lot of copy paper you can always have students use notebook paper to create a record sheet. Have them write the name of the center on the paper and then number or letter their answers.
Whole Class Cooperative Groups – My suggestions for whole class would be the same as for work stations & centers except you would need one set of task cards for each table group. After learning or reviewing a concept with whole class, the students could work on the cards with their table groups. After the group work you could have a class discussion about the task cards as a way to wrap up. Another whole class activity which would require only one set of task cards is a “Scoot” or circuit. To set up a Scoot you have a different task card on each desk and have the students work in pairs rotating around the set of task cards in numerical or alphabetical offer. Some teachers will set a timer for scoot and others will let students move as they finish. For a FREE “Scoot Record Sheet” that can be used with any set of task cards, click here.
So, the fun and games of learning how to make arrays, skip counting on number lines and using models to solve multiplication problems has lead to the equally exciting task of solving division problems. Everyone seems to be making great progress and making meaning of multiplication and division in real world problems, UNTIL … wait for it … wait for it … We mix the two together!
And here the real “fun” begins … A few students usually have an intuition about the structure of the problems and just “get it” with out much help, but the majority of students need direct, systematic instruction paired with hands on or pictorial examples to really, truly, deeply, understand the difference between multiplication and division in word problems. But where can we start? Continue reading
After many years of teaching I have put together a “tool box” of tips and tricks to help students really understand and solve word problems, even the all complicated multi-step problems. Today I would like to share some of those tips! Whether you are a teacher, home school parent, or a parent helping your child with homework, these tips should help! Continue reading