This post is dedicated to math! Don’t groan! I love teaching math and it was one of my favorite subjects in school. I started taking high school math classes in 7th grade as part of an accelerated program and finished my high school years with AP Calculus. Can you see why I love teaching it?!
We have a 90 minute block of math class at my school. My third graders are very diligent when it comes to math time, and they really do a nice job of paying attention (for the most part). We have a strong curriculum that really builds on their skills, which helps, but I think they stay engaged because math is fun. I invite students up to our white board everyday to demonstrate answers. We always explain our thinking, too! Each day we use a Problem of the Day to get us thinking about the lesson. We use highlighters, counters, fraction tiles, fraction pieces, connecting cubes, dry erase boards, and more! One day I even used Q tips as part of a lesson in which I was being observed. My belief is that math should be fun, concrete, and hands on. I use partners, small groups, and whole group to teach instruction. I level the students in their groups based on assessments and abilities and I use differentiated activities from our curriculum. For my higher achievers, I have access to the fourth grade curriculum (and I taught it last year so I am familiar with it!) and I challenge them by giving them some fourth grade work. Wow do they love that!
Another way to keep it fun is by using videos and songs. I bought a fantastic skip counting CD for my students to learn their multiplication facts, and it was the best $14 I’ve ever spent! I gave each of them a copy of the CD to practice with at home. I have seen a HUGE dramatic increase in their skills! We’ve transferred skip counting skills to use in our division unit and fractions unit, too. I will include the link to the CD below.
As for videos, I use my old school’s curriculum – it has free access and tons of videos and games for the students. Although it is not Common Core aligned, I can still pick and choose which videos and songs I can supplement our current curriculum with. Right now, my students are LOVING this song about fractions! I will post the link below. I also create tests and quizzes using our GO Math! Online curriculum. I have not graded a math test by hand all year, since it is computerized, and the computer compiles all of the information for me, too. The students’ access includes books, games, mini lessons, videos, and their virtual homework book. This program is a paid program with password access so unfortunately, I cannot share it with my readers!
The card game pictured here is a cute game the boys that I babysit taught to me last weekend. They are in kindergarten and first grade. It is called Come Closer and all you need is a deck of cards to play! You deal 5 cards to each player and then flip over one card in the middle. The object of the game is to use two of your cards to reach the number on the flipped card. You can add or subtract your cards’ values to try to come as close as possible to the magic number. The boys loved the game and their number sense was incredible! You could definitely use this game with upper grade levels as well and you could make it more challenging by possibly using two decks or using more than two addends. In the game, Ace = 1, Jack 11, Queen 12, and King 13.
Have a great week and I hope to post some more school pics and recipes soon! Comment with any of your special math teaching tips and tricks!