Tag Archive | math

Roll Up Some Math


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Dice – Part 1 (Math)

After two weeks of looking at playing cards, I decided to try one more cheap “board game” – dice!  Just like cards, dice can be used in so many ways to increase both math and literacy.  Here are some ideas on how to use dice with math.  Check back next week for some literacy ideas.

 

For all of these ideas, you can use regular six sided die, or specialized die with more or less sides.  Specialized die make it much easier when working with bigger numbers and older students.

 

1.)  Roll & Add (or Subtract, or Multiply)  – One of the easiest way to practice basic math facts is with a couple of dice.  I start my students out with a six sided die, and then move them up to a ten sided die after they have mastered most of their facts.  Students take two die, roll the die and then add (or subtract, or multiply – depending on the skill needed).  I let my students work with a partner when doing this, and they race against each other to see who can call out the correct answer first. 

2.)  Make a Number Bigger than This – For this activity, use multiple six sided or eight sided die.  Depending on how big of a number your Use Dice to Compare Numbersstudents can handle, each student will need one die for each place value place (ie. 4 die for a number with a thousand’s place).  Students will roll all of their dice.  Give students a number (either write it on a board, or have cards available for students to draw from if you want to put this into a center) and then challenge them to use the numbers they rolled to make a number larger than the number you have given them.  I generally give the students on “re-roll” if they don’t have any digits that will help them make a number bigger than the given number.

3.)  Skip Count on From Here – When practicing skip counting and multiples, an easy way is to give students one die (six sided or ten sided work best) and have them roll the number.  Students should then skip count to one hundred.  For example, if they roll a 2, they skip count to one hundred by twos.  I generally do this in small groups or partners, rather than put individual students on the spot.

4.)  Make a Word Problem – I love giving students a chance to make their own word problems, but they have a tendency to make work problems with numbers they will know, which can defeat the purpose.  Kids Make the Problem Solver FreeInstead, hand the student two (or three) die and let them roll up their numbers.  Different die makes this easy to differentiate – your struggling students can roll up numbers 1-6, while your extension group uses a 20 sided die.  Grab this free template from Google Docs to help guide students through creating their own problem solvers.

 

I hope some of these suggestions will help you use dice to teach math in a new and interesting way. Click HERE for more suggestions on how to use board games in the classroom.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Count Up the Ice


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Don’t Break the Ice – Part 1 (Math)

For each of these variations on Don’t Break the Ice, put a label or a small piece of masking tape on each piece of “ice”. On each piece of masking tape, write a single digit number.

 

1. Add them Up – As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall.  As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap.  Once all the ice has fallen, the students will add up all of the digits on the ice they have collected.  Award one point for the first student to get the correct answer and one point for the person with the lowest total sum.  Repeat until one person scores 4 points.

2. Line them Up – As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. Once all the ice has fallen, the students will line up all of the digits on the ice they have collected, from smallest to largest. Award one point for the first student to get their digits in order.   Repeat until one person scores 3 points.

3. Make the Smallest Number – As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. Once all the ice has fallen, the students will use all of the digits on the ice they have collected, and create a number with ALL of the digits. Award one point for the first student who is able to make the smallest number. Repeat until one person scores 3 points.

4. Sorting your Ice – As students play Don’t Break the Ice, remind them that they point is to get the LEAST amount of ice to fall. As each person takes a turn tapping the ice, they will collect all the ice that falls after their tap. Once all the ice has fallen, the students should sort their digits by into assigned categories (odd and even, greater than 5 and less than 5, prime and composite, etc.).  You can have the categories listed on index cards, or you can allow the students to create their categories, and then explain their sort to their peers. 

 

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Don’t Break the Ice in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom? Here are some suggestions for Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders and Battleship. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

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rakishop6222222  tn

Jenga Math


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Jenga – Part 1 (Math)  I know, I know, Jenga is a block game, how are you going to teach math with it?  Well, here are some ways, and all you need is Jenga and a little masking tape (the thin tape works best).

For each of these variations on Jenga, put a small piece of masking tape on each Jenga block.  On each piece of masking tape, write a digit 0-9.

1. Make the Biggest Number – Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top.  Instead, 100_6828have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them.  When the tower topples, over after each person has 7 blocks, have students put their digits in order to make a number.  The student who can make the biggest number and read it wins the round.

 

2. Add It UpPlay Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. When the tower topples, over after each person has 7 blocks, have students add up their digits. The student whose blocks add up to the biggest number wins the round.

 

3. Order It – Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them. When the tower topples, over after each person has 7 blocks,have students put their digits in order from least to greatest.  The student to get them in order the fastest wins the round.

 

4.  – Count Down from 100  – Each student starts the round with 100 points.  Play Jenga using standard play rules, except do not have students return their blocks to the top. Instead, have each student keep the blocks they take in a pile in front of them.  As they pull a block from the tower, they subtract the number on the block from their total of points.  The first person to reach 0 wins the round.

 

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Jenga in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom? Here are some suggestions for Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders and Battleship. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

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rakishop62222

Games to Play in Math


If you’ve seen my Friday Game Night Posts, you know how much of a game-aholic I am!  So for the next few weeks, I’m going to highlight just some of the games I love in my Top 10 posts.  This week, we’re going to look at the Top 10 Board Games to use in Guided Math and Math Centers.  Often, I will introduce a game in  Guided Math as a way to get students interested in a topic, and then put the same game into Math Centers to reinforce the topic in a more independent setting.

 

10. Sum SwampSum Swamp is one of my favorite games to play when I am teaching and reinforcing addition and subtraction.  It’s a fun game that works on those basic addition and subtraction facts.  I’ve used it with grades 1-3 with good success.  I especially liked using it at the beginning of the year when I taught 3rd grade, because it gave me a fun way to assess the basic skills of my students before I truly began teaching the big third grade concept of multiplication.

9. Yahtzee–  Yahtzee can be used in so many ways to work on math skills!  I especially like using it to connect the concept of skip counting with the concept of multiplication (How many 3’s can you roll? – How much is that worth?).  For more ideas on how to use Yahtzee with math concepts – check out last week’s Friday Game Night Post.

 

 

8. Trouble – Are you teaching probability?  Have you ever played Trouble and sat and sat waiting to pop a 6 while everyone around you got 3 or 4 of them?  What a great real life lesson in probability!  You can also work on counting and number recognition for younger students using this game.

7. Guess Who – Critical thinking is such a vital skill in math!  When problem solving, students need to eliminate the unnecessary and use the clues.  Guess Who works on just that skill.  I have learned that this is a great game to work on in a small Guided Math group, doing a full think aloud modeling.  “I know that her person doesn’t have red hair, so I’m going to put down all of the people who have red hair.  I know that her person is wearing glasses, so anyone who is NOT wearing glasses can be put down.”  This process of elimination is not a skill that all students understand without modeling, and this game allows an easy, fun way to teach that important thinking skill.

 

6. Battleship – Are you teaching grids and coordinate points?  How about playing Battleship to teach students how to practice finding those coordinate points?  In addition to working on coordinate points, you can also work on strategy, the process of elimination and problem solving – all good critical thinking skills.  A lot of times, I have students work in groups of four – 2 on 2 once this game goes into the independent center stage. 

5. Monopoly – Whether you are using Monopoly or Monopoly Jr., this is a great game for talking about counting money and making change.  It is also a good game for discussing banks, problem solving and strategy.  (In fact all strategy games are good for building critical thinking skills!)

 

4. Perfection – Here’s a fun way to spice up your geometry unit!  Not only can you look at the types of shapes, number of sides, number of angles, and group the shapes by similar characteristics, you can also work on memory skills by simply allowing students to use the game as intended.  Perfection is also a great way to work on charting data – have kids try the game over and over, using the standard 60 minute timer, and then count the number of pieces they get into the slots each try.  Do they see a pattern?

3. Chutes and Ladders – This was my first Friday Game Night featured game, I love it so much!  Here’s a link to 4 different ideas on how to use Chutes and Ladders to work on those math skills.  All I can say is any game with a built in 100’s chart is a winner in my book!

 

2. Hi Ho Cherry O! –  I know many preschool and kindergarten teachers who use Hi Ho Cherry O to work on counting and number recognition, but it’s also a great introduction to addition and subtraction.  ( I had 3 cherries in my bucket, and I’m adding 2 more, how many do I have now?  I had 5 cherries in my bucket, but the bird at one, how many do I have now?)

1. Blockus – This is my all time favorite game to play with kids!  Blockus is another one of those great strategy and critical thinking games. However, it’s also a great game to play when you are teaching area and perimeter. A key to this game, where you fit tetris-like pieces together to block your opponents from being able to place their pieces, is finding the right size piece. It’s a great time to compare the area and perimeter of the pieces and determine which pieces have the same area and/or the same perimeter.

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P.S. I write a Top 10 post every week. Here are some past Top 10 posts: Top 10 Toys I Steal From My Kids, Top 10 Educational Toys, Top 10 Educational Movies, and Top 10 Indoor Recess Ideas. Check back each Sunday or Monday for more Top 10 Lists.

Roll Up Math Skills with Yahtzee!


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Yahtzee – Part 1

One of my favorite games growing up was Yahtzee, and I was super excited when my oldest son was old enough to learn how to play it!  It can be such an educational game, and so, I thought it was the perfect game to feature as my second board game for Game Night Fridays!  (The first game was Chutes and Ladders, click here if you missed it!)  Here are four ways to use Yahtzee to teach math skills.  Check back next Friday to see my four ideas for how to use Yahtzee to teach literacy skills.

1. Standard Play – Yahtzee has so much math built into it, that simply playing the game with your class will work on math skills.  Not only can you work on strategy, problem solving and decision making, but you can work on addition, multiplication, comparing numbers and probability all simply playing Yahtzee by the rules provided in the game.

 

2. Dice Graphing – Rather than play with the whole Yahtzee score card, play simply with the upper section of the game card.  Have each player role just one time and mark how many of each die they roll.  Then, create a graph with the ready made table that the score card provides you.

 

3. Best Set – Rather than play with the whole Yahtzee score card, play simply with the 3 of a kind, 4 of a kind and Yahtzee sections.  Encourage students to try to get a 3 of a kind with a different number than their classmates.  After YahtzeeScoreCardeveryone has one 3 of a kind, one 4 of a kind and one Yahtzee, compare scores.  Discuss the fact that using 4 sixes gives you a much better score than using 4 ones.  Great time to compare addition and multiplication too!

 

4. Straight to Order – Rather than play with the whole score card, play simply with the small straight and the large straight.  Talk about the different ways to make a small straight.  Talk about ordering numbers and using the ordinal names of numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)

 

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Yahtzee in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

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       rakishop

Money, Money, Money


My math topic for the month of January is counting and comparing money. This may not seem like a big deal, as it’s part of every American curriculum I’ve ever seen. However, for my students (who live in Morocco) counting American money is, well, a foreign concept! I do work on counting Moroccan money (dirhams) with them as well during calendar, but it is not technically part of my standards. I also don’t have many manipulatives in my classroom, which means no pretend money. (You would see my classroom wishlist board on pinterest!) So, having them count money can be very time or money intensive on my part.  As I have little of both time and money, I am opting to cover money in 3 ways:

 

1.  The real stuff – My grandmother recently visited us here in Morocco, and she brought with her some real American coins, which I will use with the students in small group, so that we can review how each coin looks, how to tell the difference, and of course, how to count the coins.

 

2.  Technology! – If you haven’t seen Wednesday’s Website Suggestion from last week, it showcases the great website I am using where my kids can count money virtually.

 

3.  Puzzles – I have created three self-correcting puzzles 100_6308on counting money to get us started.  (I think I’ll probably make at least two more, as we get going.)  I started using them on Friday, and the kids were psyched!  They love puzzles anyways, and these are an easy way for them to count money without having to work in those dreaded workbooks.

 

 

Click on any of the pictures to download the self-correcting puzzles from TPT.

moneeasy1     moneyeasy2     moneyeasy3

Does anyone else have any ideas on how I can work on money with no manipulatives (and no smart board)?  If so, please leave me a comment or post it on my Raki’s Rad Resources Facebook Fan Page.

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Best Educational Movies


I recently received an email from my supervisor about the use of movies and parties in the classroom.  [It wasn’t geared just to me, it was one of those whole faculty emails that tells you that one person did something wrong, but everyone has to hear about it, just in case someone else is misbehaving and hasn’t gotten caught.]  The email talked about how movies and parties had no place in the classroom, unless they had some sort of curricular basis.  At first, I was a little put off by this email, because I show movies and have parties regularly.  However, after a step back, I realized that 99% of the movies I show have a direct curricular link, so I probably agree with the email, but just never took the time to think about it, as I don’t really have the time to show anything not related to my curriculum, due to all the standards to be covered.  I’d love to hear your take on the movies/parties in the classroom, so please feel free to leave me a comment.  In the meantime, here is a list of my Top 10 (curricular) Movies to show in your classroom, without getting in trouble from administration.  Smile

 

10.  Magic School Bus – Almost every science topic you cover can be touched on within a Magic School Bus video.  If you have a topic that doesn’t fit, Ms. Frizzle’s idea of “Get Messy, Ask Questions, Make Mistakes” can fit into just about any lesson on Scientific Discovery!

9.  Leapfrog Videos – I love using the phonics videos from Leapfrog to teach letter sounds and word formation, but they also have math videos for math basics!

8.  Planet Earth – Not only does this movie touch on tons of Biology topics, including animal characteristics, habitats, and animal adaptations, but it is so beautifully put together it will captivate your students.  With so many more of our students watching the Simpsons and Hannah Montana – exposure to Animal Planet is a good thing all around!

7.  Book based Movies – There are so many good kids books that now have a movie to go with them!  I like to have students do a Venn Diagram comparison or a persuasive writing on which is better after they have read the book and watched the movie.


6.  Sid the Science Kid – Here’s another great movie for the scientific process and science observations and journaling.  They also cover tons of common science topics such as: elasticity, simple machines, and change in states of matter.

5.  Little Einsteins – These fabulous movies use world famous music and art to investigate the natural world, and cover various science and social studies topics.

4.  Team Umizoomi – The characters in this movie use math problem solving to make them into superheros!  Every episode I’ve seen covers shapes, measurement, counting and logcial thinking.

3.  Super Why – More superheros!  Only these superheros are in reading.  In each episode, the characters jump into a story and use reading super powers (reading, spelling, etc.) to solve a problem they are having.  Can you say text to self connection?

2.  School House Rock – So many people grew up on School House Rock every Saturday morning.  Now, you can use those videos on DVD with your class.  “I’m Just a Bill on Capitol Hill” is one of my favorites when I teach government.

1.  Fetch with Ruff Ruffman – Reality show meets curriculum!  This show has fetchepisodes for almost every science and social studies topic I’ve ever taught.  It features real life kids and a cartoon dog who sends them on reality show challenges. 

As a mom of young children – I use lots of these with my own children too!  In fact, watching TV with them has spawned most of these suggestions!  Hope you can use some of them in your classroom.

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P.S. I write a Top 10 post every week. Here are some past Top 10 posts: Top 10 Holiday Read Alouds, Top 10 Educational Toys, Top 10 Items for Your Winter Holiday Work Packet, and Top 10 Indoor Recess Ideas. Check back each Sunday or Monday for more Top 10 Lists.

Number Family Freebie


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Does anyone else have students in their class who keep forgetting that a number family meets that only those 3 numbers in that number family can be included?  My kids were really struggling with this, so I put together these houses as a quick, last minute activity right before winter break.  There are 100_6165number tiles that the students cut and paste to make the equations that  are in the number family.  It’s a simple, easy activity, and if you click on the picture, you can grab a copy FREE from google docs, simply click on either of the pictures above.  I only have the one fact family, but it’s very easy to change the activity by simply changing the numbers in each box.  Feel free to alter at will!  And take advantage of that, because it’s rare to hear it out of me! 

That’s all I have today folks, short and sweet (for once!).  Hope everyone’s having a good week back to work.  BTW – If you haven’t seen my New Year’s Center Packet yet, it’s not too late to grab it!

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New Year’s in the Classroom


Happy Holidays to you all!  It’s amazing how fast it flies, huh?  Already, I’m on my way back to work.  I go back on Wednesday, January 4th, so my first week after winter break is only 3 days long.  I know that at least 3 of my students won’t be back that week, as they are traveling internationally, and I don’t wantnewyears to start anything brand new with that many out.  So, I decided to work on New Year’s stuff all week.  There are so many holidays that get taught in the classroom, but for some reason New Year’s often gets overlooked, even though there are some great content connections.  I have a New Year’s Center Packet available on Teachers Pay Teachers for those of you who teach 1st or 2nd grade, but here are 10 ideas to use with New Year’s that could be used with almost any elementary grade level.

 

10. Resolutions & Goal Setting – New Year’s is always time for a fresh start.  newyear3It’s a great time to let your kids make resolutions and set goals for the rest of the school year.  Not only can this be a writing activity, but it also allows your kids who haven’t been angels behaviorally to start out with a clean slate! 

 

9. Making Predictions – New Year’s is a great time to look back and look forward.  Talk about where students were last year at this time, and where they newyear2think they’ll be next year at this time.  Have students draw a picture of what they think they’ll look like next year, or write a letter to themselves for next year.  The kids can then take those home and have their parents put them away for NEXT New Year’s!

8. Create your Own Top 10’s – Around this time of the year, you start to see all the Top 10 Lists.  Top 10 Movies, Top 10 Books, Top 10 Political Events.  Allow students to make their own Top 10 lists.  Older students might be able to choose their best movies, books, etc.  Younger students could just as easily choose their Top 10 books read in class or Top 10 games played at recess.  Either way, students get a chance to reflect on the previous year and work on writing at the same time.

7. Talk Tenses – With all the looking back and looking forward – this is a great time of the year to talk about past test and future tense!  Older students can get into the verbs, younger students can talk about the words “yesterday, today, tomorrow, this year, last year, next year etc.”  No matter what level they work on tenses at, it’s a great time of the year to find that “teachable moment”.

6. Calendar Time – Another great “teachable moment” at this time of the year is using calendars, last years and this years!  Older students can take a look at what day important events (like Election Day, the first day of the school year or Thanksgiving) fell on last year, and how it will compare this year.  Younger students can take time to talk about the days of the week, the months of the year, the seasons, etc.  

5. Yearly Math – My son loves to ask me questions like “When I’m 20, how old will you be?”  With the turning of the new year, this is a good time for kids to use those math skills on Yearly Math.  Come up with problems based on the year – like how old will you be in the year 2020?  Or, let the kids come up with the problems and swap with a partner!

 

4. Counting Down – Whether you drop a ball or not, all kids love a countdown!  Count from 10, 100, 1,000, whatever your kids are up to! 

 

3. New Year’s Around the World – We often study the Chinese New Year, but how else is New Year celebrated around the world?  Did you know that according to the Islamic New Year – celebrated November 26th this year (date changes due to the Lunar Calendar) – the year is 1433?  Or that according to Hindu Tradition, the New Year will occur on April 12th his year (date changes due to Lunar Calendar) and the year will be 5113.  Not only are these fun facts that your students might enjoy, but it’s a chance to broaden their horizons!  Older students could even work on a group research project on one of the New Year traditions celebrated around the world.

2. Confetti Art – Take all that leftover confetti and let students make art! Have students put glue on their paper (in random order, or on the outside of a design), then sprinkle confetti like you would glitter.  Students could also write about what they have made.

 

1. Party!!! – Take some time to have a New Year’s Eve party with your students.  20 minutes at the end of the day, use some noise makers, have a count down, and  a small treat, and let kids “start the year” with you!

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P.S. I write a Top 10 post every week. Here are some past Top 10 posts: Top 10 Holiday Read Alouds, Top 10 Educational Toys, Top 10 Items for Your Winter Holiday Work Packet, and Top 10 Indoor Recess Ideas. Check back each Sunday or Monday for more Top 10 Lists.

Let the Kids Make the Problem


My students were having a bit of trouble understanding the difference between addition and subtraction.  We did a variety of activities to help them understand, including using manipulatives, pictures, and putting two equations with the same numbers, but different signs right next to each other (5+3=8  5-3=2).  However, the thing that worked the very best was to let them come up with their own word problems.  At first, they were just excited to be able to use each other’s names, but as they got to drawing, they really understood all of a sudden that in addition you have two separate groups, where as in subtraction you have one group and you are giving some away.  It’s also made my problem solving center run so much smoother!  Here’s what we did:

1st – We wrote an addition word problem using the names of our friends.  We also drew a picture to represent our word problem.

add1

 

2nd – On the back, we wrote the addition fact that would solve the word problem we created.

add2

 

3rd – We had each student’s page bound into a book and placed it on the “warm shelf” to be read over and over.

 

4th – Repeat Steps 1-3, with a subtraction fact.

sub1     sub2

 

5th – Had a whole class discussion about the difference between addition and subtraction.

 

Want to try this with your class – click on any of the pictures and get the pages for FREE from my Google Docs.

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