Friday, July 28, 2017

Toss It! How to Actively Engage Your Students

Recently a teacher left a comment about one of my resources that had me pondering the possibilities. She was searching for "something to inspire struggling" learners. Granted, pencil and paper games and activities are certainly more motivating than practice with flash cards and worksheets but I always find incorporating physical activity into practice and review to be the bee's knees of motivation!

Imagine the pure joy exuded by a little fellow, new to our school and repeating first grade, when my co-worker and I set up a jungle walk complete with props (think river, rocks, trees, and stuffed animals) through the classroom as a review of positional concepts!

Use Toss It! to actively engage your first and second graders while adding and subtracting basic facts or two-digit numbers with multiples of ten.

Thinking along these lines, I crafted an activity, Toss It!, for practicing or reviewing adding and subtracting basic facts or multiples of ten. For the do-it-yourself version, you will need paper plates, a marker to write numbers, an object to toss, and number cards.

I chose green paper plates to represent apple trees and blue plates for ponds but you are only limited by your imagination! Dinner sized plates stayed in place better than luncheon/ dessert sized.

Be sure to try tossing your object beforehand as some will be too bouncy. Beanbags, Koosh balls, Tossimals, and balled up paper all worked well. You too may find yourself in a toy aisle tossing a few on the floor to see what happens! Lindsy at Preschool Alphabet has directions for creating felt apple beanbags.

This activity is perfect for an individual or small group of students. You can also set up multiple stations (to reduce wait time) so your whole class can participate.

Decide on the equations you want your students to practice. Since I teach facts by mental strategies this is how I did mine. Here are a few examples to get you thinking.

Actively engage your first and second graders while adding and subtracting basic facts with Toss It!

To practice the addition fact strategy of counting up (or on), use number cards 1 to 9. Pick a card. Number one or two sets of plates 1, 2, and 3. Place your plates on the floor or a table. Toss it! Use your two numbers to say or write the addition equation.

You can make this activity as physically easy or challenging as you like by changing the distance between the tosser and the plates. Also, decide if the object must land directly on a plate (or close is good enough) and the consequences if it doesn't, toss again or lose your turn. Take turns tossing.

Use number cards 3 to 12 to practice the subtraction fact strategy of counting down (or back). Pick a card. Number one or two sets of plates 1, 2, and 3. Toss it! Say or write the subtraction equation.

Actively engage your first and second graders while adding and subtracting basic facts with Toss It!

Choose any numbers between 0 and 10, label your plates, toss it and double your number to review the addition doubles. You can also say or write the corresponding subtraction doubles equation. If you teach this as halves; label your plates with even numbers between 2 and 20. Toss it! Say or write the equation to subtract half of your number.

Additionally, you can add and subtract two-digit numbers and multiples of ten. You will need a set of commercial or self-made flash cards for the numbers 11-99.

Actively engage your first and second graders while adding and subtracting multiples of ten with Toss It!

Use number cards 11 to 49 for addition. Pick one. Number your plates with multiples of ten, 10 to 50. Toss it! Say or write your numbers. Add. Substitute number cards 50 to 99 for subtraction.

You can find a complete version of Apple Tree Toss It! for adding and subtracting basic facts and multiples of ten in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

This is an apple themed addition and subtraction resource with active engagement, perfect for first and second grade math practice and review. This is a flexible resource covering basic addition and subtraction fact mental strategies and adding and subtracting two-digit numbers with multiples of ten (i.e. 38 + 40 or 50 - 20). It is designed for individual or small group use. Several stations can also be set up for a whole class activity. You choose the strategy or skill that would be most beneficial for a group of your students. $

I'd love for you to share your favorite ways to incorporate physical movement into practice and review activities in the comments below.

Check out this Pinterest board for more apple themed ideas!

Monday, June 26, 2017

How to Add a Sparkle to Summertime Learning

I don't know about you, but I'm always surprised when I think about the activities I engaged in as a child and (gasp...) survived unscathed!

The Fourth of July arrived with family cookouts, backyard games, homemade ice cream, military bands, parades, fireworks, and yes... plenty of sparklers for kids of all ages.

Add a little sparkle to summertime learning with this free American Flag Collect and Sort activity for preschool, kindergarten, and beginning first grade!
Sparkler Clip Art by SillyODesign

Monday, June 5, 2017

Make Time for Summer Learning (Free Download)


Time for listening to crickets chirp, swimming in sparkling lakes, and daydreaming.

Time for picking berries, eating a picnic lunch at the park, and running through the backyard sprinkler.

Time for making mudpies, chasing after the ice cream truck, and exploring in the woods.

Time for playing kickball in the neighborhood, catching fireflies, and lying on the grass counting stars.

Summertime gives our kids the time for all of these things and more.

Summer should also be a time for learning. Summer learning loss is a real phenomenon that unfortunately, accumulates over time. Summer learning loss in math is typically greater than reading (Why Summer Learning). Surprisingly, reading as few as four to five books over the summer can prevent this loss in reading (Do Kids Really Have "Summer Learning Loss"?).

Discover ideas for summer learning and a FREE telling time first grade math resource in this blog post!