Saturday, November 29, 2014

Christmas FREEBIES!

Artwork by Ron Leishman Digital Toonage

With all the craziness that goes with the season, finding Christmas themed activities for your classroom that meet the Common Core can be a little challenging.  Not anymore! Take a look at the freebies and games below! Have a terrific vacation and a great holiday!

How about some math fact practice? To string the lights students must answer math fact questions. The harder the question, the more lights they earn. Really a fun one!

These next three games come from the They are the best on the site (I think)

This great money counting game comes in easy, medium and hard!

If you need a holiday themed game to help your students review/learn time, try this great one!

This is SUCH a great site to use to engage even reluctant readers! Students click on areas of the reindeer barn to read about Raymond and his friends. They can read it themselves, or have it read to them! A perfect center activity!

FREE! Get in some language skills with this fun and free resource! It includes a five page read-aloud story as well as two language worksheets for each grade level from first to fifth. Differentiation is a breeze with this freebie!

FREE! Homophones are soooo tricky! This game will make learning about homophones a lot more fun!

If you are looking for a more complete resource for the Christmas holidays, check out my resource below! $

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Trying to find good math games for centers or cooperative learning can be a time consuming prospect. I've found some really good ones for different areas of the math curriculum. One site has PDFs, and the IXL site is an amazing resource for Common Core activities. Hope you enjoy them!

This is a great game called "Ivy's Meadow". It's perfect for second and third graders to practice addition and subtraction. Click the lady bug to begin, then choose easy, difficult, or expert. Then start playing! Students can choose to add or subtract a particular number by clicking on the up and down arrows. Cute, colorful and good practice!

This is a FUN way to practice those math facts in addition, subtration, multiplication and division! Enjoy!

If you are not familiar with IXL, don't waste another minute. This link goes to fourth grade, but you can click your grade level on the left hand side. Every Common Core math strand is listed, with a corresponding activity to use in the classroom. OHHH so helpful!

Defeat the Math Monster is terrific practice for grades 1-4 (you choose the difficulty, plus addition, subtraction, multiplication or division). Students get 15 answers right to defeat the monster. There is a video to watch that shows just what to do!

I love this one! Kids drag and drop answers and the pictures are totally engaging!

This site is FILLED with second grade math PDFs, activities and handouts for many strands of the math curriculum. (Great for 3rd grade review too). It includes penguin math, snowflake activities, snowmen and glyphs! Don't miss this one!

OMG! I LOVE this one for fast math practice. Kids choose the pretzel they want to be, then arm wrestle another pretzel. To win they must answer a math question fast! It includes an instructional video on how to play the game…it doesn't get much better than this!

Are you working on time? This fun game has four skill levels that include time to the half-hour, to the quarter hour, the minute and elapsed time. Be sure to watch the instructional video to learn how to move the clock hands. VERY nice game!

If you are working on  two digit addition, this game would be perfect for centers!

Freebie Time!

This freebie is a 3rd grade math review sheet. It's also great for a little fourth grade review too!

Need a sheet to review rounding skills? Try this one!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What's Up With Decimals!

Teaching decimals can be enough to set a kid's hair on fire. Once they are confused, it's pretty tricky to set the ship right again. Sometimes what is needed is to just start over with step-by-step lessons that clear the cobwebs, and let understanding shine through! These six tips are sure to help!

1. The most important thing for kids to understand completely before attacking decimals, is the place value system. If a child doesn't know that the 5 in 5,467 stands for 5,000 and the 6 stands for 60, misunderstandings in decimals is sure to follow.

2. Start with money. Kids are all about anything that has to do with money. Starting with what they know allows teachers to discuss the idea of tenths and hundredths as these concepts apply to decimals.

3. Move to manipulatives. Base ten blocks are perfect for this activity!

4. Practice how to say and read decimals. Reading numbers like "five and two hundredths" sounds odd to kids who are not familiar with decimals. Use lots of opportunities to read and say decimals aloud.

5.  Focus on that decimal point! Decimals are all about that symbol. Once kids really understand the importance of the decimal point, everything is much easier! I  give the decimal point a name. It's name is "and". When kids here the word "and" they know a decimal is in the number, and they know where it is! The decimal point LOVES to yell out its name!

6. Use GAMES! Kids need lots of practice with decimals to really understand what it is all about. Decimals is definately a hands-on skill!

This video is an AWESOME lesson on teaching decimals using a simple game. Don't miss this one from the teaching channel!

Do you need some great decimal games and activities for your centers or group activities? Check out these great sites below!

This site has decimal addition, subtraction, multiplication and rounding games!

To find games that match a particular math Common Core standard in your grade level (4th, 5th or 6th), check out this great site! This game is called Genius Defender Decimals.

This site is filled with decimal games for fourth and fifth graders. This one works on place value up to 5 decimal places.

You have to be fast on this one! Use < > and = signs with decimals!

You'll love this site from Mr. Nussbaum! It includes a decimals workshop, videos, games and more! This game is called "Decimals of the Caribbean".

Conquering Those Math Facts!

Learning the multiplication and division facts can be a little overwhelming for some kids. If they can practice those new skills with games and fun activities, it takes a lot of the stress away. Try out some of the great links I have included below to help your students multiply and divide with ease! Enjoy the free multiplication game!

Why use games?

1. Practicing math facts with flash cards can be beyond boring, and turn kids off to the whole process.
2. Bringing "fun" into the mix is a brain based technique that relaxes students and makes learning happen much more easily. It's biology baby!!
3. Games are a perfect solution to the problem, "What am I going to put in centers this week?".

Hope you and your students enjoy some of my favorites below:

This site has many multiplication and division game activity choices. Most are prefect for centers too!

This set of games from is fantastic! There are so many fun games here. Be sure to check out Granny Prix Multiplication! Students can choose easy, medium or hard games!

You have to be fast for this one! It's great practice!!

OH MY GOODNESS! I love the games here. They are just too cute, and really keep a kid's attention. Learning should be fun!

Great group of fun and engaging games here!

Would you like a fun game to help your kids with multiplication? Try "Feed the Chickens" for free!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

8 Critical Thinking Strategies for Math Word Problems!

Teaching kids to solve word problems means showing them a usable process. Word problems take a lot more thinking than a simple equation, no matter how advanced that equation might be. In fact, learning how to solve story problems means learning about critical thinking! Check out the steps below and see if they can help your students learn this vital skill. If you have other ideas to add…please add them in the comments section!!

Don't forget this strategy for solving problems! Working cooperatively adds security for unsure students, and helps students share (and learn new) strategies!

Clipart from Ron Leishman Digital Toonage

1. Read the problem….carefully. This seems obvious, but I've seen my own students just "skim" a problem and assume he/she knows what to do.

2. Write down the information in the problem.  Kids should jot down all of the given information in the problem.

3.  Decide what the problem is asking for. Knowing exactly what is being asked is the key to finding the answer. In my experience, when kids skip over this step and just give the assumed answer, they run into trouble. This is where critical thinking is really needed. Some story problems can be pretty confusing for some kids.

4. Get rid of excess information. Once kids know what the problem is asking of them, it's time to see if any "extra" information was given that is not needed. As kids get older, this happens in story problems more and more.

5. Take note if units of measurement are involved in the problem. Students may need to convert inches to feet, centimeters to meters and so on. If they miss this, the answer will be wrong.

6. Draw a picture. Many times, drawing a picture will help students visualize the problem and understand how to solve it.

7. Decide what math equation needs to be used to solve the problem. Is this a subtraction, multiplication or division problem? Knowing what needs to be done helps students know how to set up the equation.

8. Do the math and check the answer. Knowing how to check their own math problems is essential for students. Methods to check math equations might be a great thing to add to any math notebook.

How about some fun practice with word problems?

If you want a GREAT site that helps third grade and up think through word problems, this is the site you need. First students get the problem and try it on their own. When they click on the answer button, they get a video that walks them step by step through the process. Lots of problems and videos are provided. Love this one. It's great for remediation, or for extension. Lots of practice with multiple step word problems here too!

This game called "Monster Crossing" is a twist on the old Frogger game. Students have a choice of word problems in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division! This is a fun one!

This site from Mr. Nussbaum meets the common core for third grade math. It's also terrific for 4th and 5th grade review. It's a simple problem, then get the answer site.

If you want story problems in a game format, check out the games and activities on this site: