Knock It Off Clocks

I was recently in a classroom where I was asked to show some time games to the students.

The first game I showed was Mr. Wolf is Upside Down. Students arrange the cards 1-12 in a clock pattern on a flat surface. They then roll a 12 sided die and try and guess where that number will be on the clock. The child flips over a number and if they get the right one, they get to keep that card as a point. If they get the wrong number, they put it back.

Next, we played Combo Mr. Wold. Students again arrange the cards 1-12 in a clock pattern on a flat surface. Then they roll a 12 sided die and use that as their target number. Students must try and do a math operation with any of the cards on the table to remove them. For example; if I rolled a 6, then I could just remove the 6, but I would be much more canny if I removed 9-3= 6 as I could then remove the 9 and the 3 card. My partner then rolls the die, and gets 5 as a target number, they can't do 9- 4 as the 9 is already gone but they could easily do 10-5 or 3+2 or whatever other combination there they wanted. I love that this game works the concept of a clock but also reinforces addition and subtraction.

Finally, the third game we tried to play was Knock It Off Clocks. I had slaved the night before on my computer to create a beautiful board game and was all ready to go. Up and behold, as I'm explaining the game to the students, something didn't feel right. The teacher also seemed puzzled. Suddenly we both realized that I had reversed the hands on my clock. Oops! Time to ditch that game and go with Plan B! However, in the meantime, I've gone back to that game board and done it with my eyes wide open in the daytime instead of while watching tv at 9:00 at night and here is the updated board as well as directions on how to play.
Download file "Knock It Off Clocks.pdf"



Fraction Update!

Hey teachers,

I've updated the fraction page on my wiki, which you can check out here.

There are now 20 fraction games that you can download and print for FREE to play with your students to solidify their understanding of fractions whether it be comparing, adding, calculating fractions of a set, etc.



Fractions/Decimals/Percents Spoons

Yesterday I got to meet with some of my teachers to work on developing their math program. One of the things we struggled with was fractions, decimals and percents.

I suggested the game of spoons which I used to play as a child but with a fraction/decimal percent twist.

Here's a link to a quick video explaining how to play.

Video link showing how quick paced the game is.

I spent this morning working on some cards that older grades could use to play the game.
Here's the cycle 3 set with fraction, fraction picture, decimal and percent representations of the numbers.
Download file "Cycle 3_Percent-Decimal-Fraction-Fractions Cards.pdf"
Here's the cycle 2 set with fraction, fraction picture, decimal and money representations of the numbers.
Download file "Cycle 2_Cents-Decimal-Fraction-Fractions Cards.pdf"


Geometry Games

I was recently asked by a teacher for a variety of geometry games to use in her cycle 3 classroom. Here's what I shared. Please help yourself to any games that might be helpful for your classroom.

Some of these games have been shared before, but I know how much I appreciate having them all in one place!

Coordinate Tic Tac Toe (a strategy game) Download file "Coordinate Tic Tac Toe.pdf"

Plane Figures:
Triangle Chutes and Ladders Download file "Triangle Chutes and Ladders.pdf"

3D Solids:
Geometry Attribute War Download file "Geometric Attribute War.pdf"


Geometry Go Fish Download file "Geometry Go Fish Instructions.pdf"and cards Download file "Geometry Go Fish Cycle 3.pdf"
Block Areas, Winning Perimeters (a strategy game) Download file "Blocking Areas Winning Perimeters.pdf"


Geometry Attributes

Geometry is one of my favorite math concepts to teach because even your students who don't feel confident in math don't feel so anxious as geometry is more spatial than numeric.

Geometric attributes, however, are one of those tricky things for students to remember. What's the difference between an edge and vertices again? Or a face? For some of our students the vocabulary is simple but for other students it's a real struggle.

I've found the best way to review a concept that students struggle with is with a repetitive game. In the reality of our classrooms we don't always have a chance to teach new rules to new games, so I took an old stand by, math war, and added a geometry twist so that your students can quickly understand how to play and get started right away.

Students start by sharing the 3D shapes (see picture above), and then they spin the spinner to decide which geometric attribute will they be battling it out for.

Finally, students finish it up like regular war by comparing their two cards and then giving the winning player both cards.

Here's the link to the FREE download. I hope it's helpful in your classroom.
Download file "Geometric Attribute War.pdf"


Appy Hour- 3 C's

A fabulous colleague of mine; Wendy and I spent part of the summer researching a couple of key apps that we wanted to share with our teachers that would have the potential to be used in a variety of subjects. We wanted to ensure that the focus was on what we wanted to do with our students, and not on the apps themselves so we structured them into the 3 C's. Create, being the one we wanted to achieve most frequently. Collaborate being one we wanted our students to be able to do. Finally, consume, because sometimes we just need the information before we can go any further.

We shared this list at a few different venues this summer with our summer appy hours but we have also shared it in some of our schools throughout the year as well as teachers were keen to learn more. I'm sharing it here so that you can investigate on your own if you're interested. Or if you're in an ETSB school, call Wendy or myself and we'll be happy to come and work with you.

Download file "Appy Hour 3 C’s.pdf"


Amazing Apps

I don't know about you but one of the frustrating things in teaching math for me was that if I wanted to model a concept, I wouldn't always have enough manipulatives for each student to have their own. I was able to cope with a variety of different ways (working with small groups, borrowing manipulatives, etc. but man do I wish they'd had more awesome apps at the time.

Enter... Clarity Innovations and Both of these developers have designed some wonderful math manipulatives that you can easily use on your iPad and which allow each student to have their own version of whatever manipulative you're showing.

The first one I found was Geoboard by Clarity Innovations. I love that you can quickly and easily create amazing geoboard creations of shapes, reflections, rotations, etc.

The second app I found was Virtual Manipulatives by ABCya. I love this app for fractions, decimals and percents for sure. You never have a class set of those manipulatives!

Then one day while browsing the net, I realized that Clarity Innovations creates more apps. I should have known better of course and looked at other apps by this developer but I didn't!

I soon found their place value apps. I love how both of these apps let you customize color of the blocks so that you can really quickly see the difference between ones, tens and hundreds. My greatest pleasure would be if these apps kept extending and opened up thousands blocks. I can see them being used in older grades as well if you reversed the blocks and used them as wholes, tenths and hundredths.

Next up, I found their awesome number line app. This is great for skip counting, addition and subtraction, multiplication, and division. Here it is.

Finally, I came across their Recenreck. Now I never as a child played with one of these so I am not 100% comfortable with how they work and they are not my go to manipulative, but I love how simply laid out they are and how there are so many applications in terms of place value, regrouping in addition/subtraction, etc. I think I'm going to give them another try.

I love all of these apps independently, but how I really enjoy using them is in App Smashing (when you combine more than 1 app). These apps are not optimized for app smashing as there is no share square but I find it quite simple to take a screen shot of whatever I've created and then import that picture into Explain Everything or whatever screen casting app I'm using to have very specific diagrams to explain what I'm doing.



Multiplication Review for Families

Recently I was asked for a multiplication review package for a 5th grade class who still hadn't learned their multiplication facts. I created a short package (1 page double sided) to give the families some inspiration for quick ways they could practice at home. The topic came up again on a Facebook group this weekend so I've decided to share with more than just that one teacher! Enjoy.

Here it is! Download file "Multiplication Review for Families.pages"


Daily 5 Math Choice Board

I was recently asked what a choice board would look like in math. I'm working on getting into one of the awesome classrooms that I know has one to show you what it looks like but in the meantime I've typed up a sample for you.

Here it is:
Here is the actual Word document if you'd prefer it.
Download file "Choice Board for Daily 5 Math.docx"


Favorite Early Numeracy Apps

I was recently asked for some of my favorite early numeracy apps for Pre-K/K.

Here is what I am sharing today...

Click here for the sheet with links to the apps in the app store.
Download file "Early Math Apps.docx"


Triangles Chutes and Ladders

Today Cheryl (my wonderful colleague) and I met to work on a workshop that we're co-hosting next week. One of the activities that we came up with was Triangles Chutes and Ladders. We were inspired by the game "Travel Around the Triangle" by Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational. She blogs about her game here. (She also offers a free download if you'd like to check it out!)

We loved her idea but wanted to take away some of the visual cues to really focus on the vocabulary of the different types of triangles for our cycle 3 learners. (We didn't want students just to look at the picture on the die and match it to the picture on the board game. We also wanted to introduce an element of luck so we threw in some chutes and ladders.

I quickly typed up the instructions while Cheryl put together the board game and BAM, here it is.
Download file "Triangle Chutes and Ladders.pdf"

We'll be sharing it at the workshop next week but if you're here than you get it a week early! (See what being a loyal blog follower does sometimes?)


Number Patterns- Roll The Dice

One day last week I spent part of my day in a grade 2 classroom going over pattern rules. I had the student of a teacher that I know in the class. This morning when I saw that teacher, she mentioned how much her son had enjoyed patterns with the dice game he played in class. I decided that if he liked it enough to talk about it at home then it was probably worth sharing.

So here's the game. Student need the playing board (found here: Download file "Number Pattern Game (Addition Rule) .pdf") and a couple of dice.

I started this class off with the SmartBoard and I used the interactive hundreds chart to identify different patterns. (See Notebook file here: Download file "Pattern Rule- Roll the Dice Game.notebook"). Each child also had his/her own hundred chart in a plastic page protector so he/she could color again with a dry erase marker. We rolled a die, colored the number on the hundreds chart, then started skip counting. After we did this a couple of times whole class, they were ready to do this themselves. A few students needed the hundreds chart as a guide when they were skip counting which was fine and a few were able to do it without the support tool. Either option is fine with me.

I created a short video of me playing this game so that you better understand how it works. Let me know how you find the video and if you'd like to see more videos of more games or whether written instructions are enough.

Take care!


Mental Math

I had a question this morning about mental math resources to help prepare students for the mental math in the grade 6 exam. This specific school was looking at vertical planning of mental math strategies to alleviate some of the mental math pressure in grade 6.

I love the idea of teaching mental math strategies one at a time so that students can build understanding of the strategy, practice it and then move on to the next strategy. Practicing strategies in a circular fashion (ie: bringing back skills that they know on a regular basis) also helps to keep it fresh. A cheap and easy way to practice mental math is to the pose the question aloud and ask the students to record their response on a white board. Students can flash their whiteboard to the teacher for a quick response. Teachers can check off students who understand/don't understand for further follow up. The teacher can also have direct formative feedback as to whether the class is ready to move on or needs a review.

For our grade 6 teachers with iPads, they could easily use the app Socrative student so that the data is sent to the teacher immediately and can be projected onto the screen/SmartBoard for whole class evaluation purposes. This allows teachers as well as the students themselves to identify misconceptions and peer problem solve.

Here are a variety of websites and printables that I found:

Mental Math Strategies and Practice - this website has a multitude of strategies for practicing mental math. It also allows you to select whether you want to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponents, and percents.

Mental Math Strategies with Printable Practice - this website has a variety of information on mental math strategies, it also has PDF packages that you can download and use for in class practice.

Free Printable Mental Math - another website with printable mental math questions. Great variety of tasks. It is UK based so be careful with the money questions. Here is a quote from their website that I love.

Mental Math Website - this website has online questions on a variety of topics (percents, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and decimals). Students can play either the game format or the test format.

Mental Math Games - this website has a variety of online games that students can play to practice mental math skills.

Mental Math Games 2 - another website with online math facts. Less game style and more fact practice.

Finally, specifically for grade 4, here is a wonderful PDF package from the Prince Edward Island Deptartment of Education English programs that is complete with all the strategies you can teach in grade 4, as well as specific examples of each. It is a one stop shop for all you need to get started. I can only find it online as a PDF link so I've linked it here.

PEI has these resources for all grade levels, here they are below.
Grade 1 teachers! I found the same style of package but built for grade 1 at this site.
Grade 2 teachers, here is yours.
Grade 3 teachers... Check it out!
Grade 4 is listed above.
Grade 5 cannot be found online, post a comment if you find it please and I'm happy to share the link.
Grade 6 teachers guide can be found here.

ETSB teachers, if you are looking for more ideas about how to implement a mental math routine into your classroom, please contact me and I'm more than happy to come in and model some strategies, and practice with your students. Thanks!


Place Value- Race to 100/1000/10 000

It's the time of the year where everyone is working on place value no matter what the grade. For teachers in early elementary, there are plenty of fun hands on activities that you can use to help students figure out how place value works.

I played this game last night with one of the students I tutor and we raced to 10 000. I've also played it with grade 1 students where we race to 100. The game is called "Race to ____" (insert number you're racing to. Students need a place value mat, base ten blocks and dice. When I played with my student last night I used place value dice. (Like the ones below I bought from Box Cars and One Eyed Jacks.

I wanted the place value dice as we were working to 10 000 and I knew it would take FOREVER with a single digit die. We used the single digit and double digit dice to start. I've also done this with just a single digit dice (although I usually use the 12 sided die not the 6 sided die). What the student does is he/she rolls the die and places that many units or tens on the place value mat. So for example; I rolled a 60 and a 5. I place 6 tens and 5 ones on my place value mat.


Then my partner rolls and places the units on his/her place value mat. It's my turn again and I roll a 20 and an 8. I added 2 tens and an 8 to my place value mat. Looking at my mat now, I realize I have 13 ones in the ones place.


This makes me realize that I can't have more than 10 little ones in the ones place so I take 10 of those ones and swap them out for a ten rod. One adaptation that you can do to this game is draw little frames on the place value mat so that students realize when the number is full (ie: only 10 spots) but they are usually pretty fast at figuring this out.

This is a great game for getting students used to making groups of tens. It also reinforces math talk as students can count their number after every turn and verbalize what they have. You can also challenge your stronger students to discuss who has the greater number, how far you are away from your goal, etc.

Here are the written up instructions for this game if you'd like to share it with your students in class. I wrote it up to 1000 but it's in word so you could easily change it up a bit and make it to 100 or to 10 000. Enjoy!
Download file "Race to 1000.docx"



Earlier this year in a math marking center, I created a quick reference poster for teachers to use that reminded them of the difference between a level 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 statement that justified their student's mathematical arguments. While I myself love to argue, and many of our students do as well, they can't seem to get the hang of it in mathematical situational problems.

Thus, THE POSTER. Ideally you'd use this framework and create something like this with your students that really compares the different levels of arguments but if you're pressed for time or looking for some direction as to where to go, this could come in handy. Please feel free to modify the language to make it more user friendly for your students, or to add graphics, etc. as you wish.

Here it is: Download file "Exam_Rigorous Math Answers for a validation question.docx"

Remember, if you're a Quebec teacher using "The Black Binder" as we refer to it here in the ETSB, then you can use the table of contents at the beginning to see if a question is an "A" application question or "V" validation question and practice accordingly.


STEM Workshop

I work with a wonderful colleague who is constantly inspiring me to try new things and challenge students to learn more. We recently had the opportunity to co-present at STEM in Laval last week. Although we don't get to work together on a daily basis we have great chemistry (or so we were told!) Cheryl and I were discussing how much our students struggle with the volume of vocabulary words in geometry. (Did you catch that pun? My sec 4 EH teacher would be proud of me!)

So we came up with the idea to combine one of my favorite games (Go Fish) with all the vocabulary terms that our cycle 2 and 3 students need to know in geometry. All of the words are together in one file but please feel free to pull out terms that you have not covered yet and add them in as you do. You could also look at the words as themes (ex: triangles, angles, etc.)

Here is the handout that Cheryl labored over for hours. You're lucky she's such a sweetie and is willing to share this free rather than post it on TPT and charge you $5.00 for it.
Download file "Geometry Go Fish Cycle 3.pdf"

The file is created so that the cards are exactly the same size as a deck of cards. I printed them two to a page to save myself some photocopying and laminating but it's totally up to you which option you prefer.



iPadding it Up!

Today I spent an awesome day with a team of teachers developing a list of iPad apps that would be relevant to their grade K-6 math classrooms focusing specifically on Arithmetic and Operations. We tried to chose free ones when possible, although some are free with upgrades.

Anyways, here they are!

Download file "App List for St. Francis.doc"


Patterns/Subtractions/Fractions Oh My

Yeah! A wonderful teacher told me today that she was recently reading my ramblings. I had stopped writing because I was getting discouraged about my lack of an audience so it's great to hear that at least one person reads this! So without further ado here is what I did today... I spent the day in one of our amazing schools in a variety of different grades.

My first stop was in a Kindergarten classroom. We learned about AB patterns, AABB patterns, AAB patterns and ABB patterns. What a busy day for all those K students. We started off the day on the carpet with a short story. Within the story was an AABB pattern. Students quickly recognized it and I asked them to build a similar pattern using snap cubes. They did.

Then we moved back to the desks and played musical patterns. Students had to use 5 snap cubes or pattern blocks to design an AABB pattern. Once they had the first 5 pieces, I turned on the music and they started to dance around. When the music stopped, students moved to a nearby desk and had to add 2 pieces to the pattern displayed. They loved being able to move around and I loved having that quick visual check of how much they understood/didn't understand.

We did the same activity where we looked at the pattern, and then played musical patterns again with each of the other 3 patterns.

Finally, I handed out iPads and asked students to use Educreations to take a picture of a pattern they designed and record over it with their voice to explain which pattern it was. They did wonderful and I was so pleased with the diversity of their patterns.

There are another couple of great pattern apps that we downloaded for the students to use later this week.

Caboose Express Pattern App
KidsPattern App
First Grade Games (includes Pattern app)
Pattern App
Fun Farm Patterning (99cents)

Next up I went to a grade 1 classroom. We were working on subtraction. I started off with this Shark Teeth Activity I found online to help see what the students already knew as well as give them some basic manipulatives to help demonstrate their understanding.

Next we moved on to using a clothesline of numbers to demonstrate being able to count on a number line. I hung clothespins on numbers from the ceiling (a bad idea as it was too high for the students and I ended up having to hold them up!). Then I asked the students to move the clothespins down the number line as we subtracted.

We next applied this concept to this Number line subtraction game I found online. I modified it slightly by using clothespins instead of counters. Students each put their clothespin on the 20. Then they rolled a die and moved their clothespin down the number line. I asked students to verbalize their thinking (20 subtract 4 equals 16).

Finally, we applied this concept to a hundreds chart and played Off the Grid by Mama Jenn (I LOVE this game).


Energy Resources

Energy is a blast to teach.

We had so much fun building solar pool heaters, wind powered sailboats, etc.

Here are the awesome resources that I used that I cannot pin on Pinterest.

Energy Usage Calculator: Always a great beginning to an energy unit. How much do you use?

Alliant Energy Kids: A nice quick run down of each of the different types of energy. Student friendly. Some fun facts.

Infinite Power Lesson Plans: Yes, heavily sponsored but some good resources non the less and very grade level specific depending on the depth you want to go into.

Solar Energy Experiments for Kids: I believe the title says it all!

Wind Energy Lab: I remember Megan, Marianne and Vanica whipping out the life savers and having us all puff away at this one. This is the lab report they made for the class to complete.
Download file "Wind Energy- Puff Mobile Lab.doc"

Once you've studied energy it's good to know how to conserve it with

Energy House: All sorts of fun ideas of what you can do in your house to save energy.

Forms of Energy Lesson: This lesson focuses on the different forms of energy (light, heat, etc.) and is great for a concept that can be very tricky to teach. We also did some fun labs to help contextualize this concept. Here they are.
Download file "forms of energy experiments.doc"


Human Body Resources

Two awesome resources that I couldn't pin! is an awesome website for studying the human body. It has all sorts of great information written for children and teens. It's straightforward and written in student friendly language. There are some fun animations and my favorite part, you can chose to listen to the entire article. If you click on "Body Basics Library" then it will give you drop downs on all sorts of different systems.
One of my other favorite body resources (without the choice to pin!) is Exploring Science. This website is awesome on it's own but it has some great research on different body systems. What I also love is that it archives other related websites (kid friendly) as well as asks you to be an explorer and check out other cool follow ups to what you've just learned about.