Light Up Math Game for the Holidays

light up mathHere is a super fun holiday math game to practice addition and subtraction facts to 20 or multiplication and division facts to 100.  The only materials needed are crayons, one board game and two moving pieces. Follow my blog to receive notice of more of these math games for different holidays!

Directions for Two Players:

  1. Each player chooses a different color of crayon.
  2. The first player places the moving pieces on two numbers at the bottom of the page. The player adds or multiplies the numbers and colors a light bulb with the answer.
  3. The next player may move only one moving piece to a different number. The moving pieces may also be on the same number. This player colors the bulb with the answer. Players continue to take turns in this manner.
  4. The goal is to color in five bulbs in a row while blocking the other player from getting five in a row.  If the player wants the 18 bulb, they must figure out which numbers will get them to 18 using their subtraction or division skills.

Click here to download the Light Up Math game boards.

I hope your students enjoy this game!

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Open-Ended Math Tasks

A powerful, effective and easy way to differentiate in math is through open-ended tasks.  Open-ended math tasks…

  • Do not have one right answer
  • May be completed at different levels and in different ways
  • Empower students to make mathematical decisions
  • Engage students in productive struggle to build understanding
  • Encourage student creativity

Open-ended math tasks are used in guided math lessons where the teacher can support students in their decisions, discussions and sharing of ideas. They are also used at workstations with students working independently or collaborating with a team. The three categories you may use to assess the tasks are:

  • Complexity: The work matches the level of the student
  • Correctness: All math terms, computation and information is correct.
  • Neatness: Completed task is neat and easy to understand

Here are some ways to develop open-ended math tasks that do not take a lot of teacher preparation. Click here to download 12 open-ended math task cards to use with grades 1-5 students at any math level.

  1. Compare and Contrast: Students choose two numbers, shapes, graphs, etc and explain in writing and diagrams how they are alike and different.
  2. What’s the Question? Students are given the answer and then write a word problem with a question for the answer. This task card could be given to students at any grade level.  math task zombies
  3. What’s the Answer and the Question? Students fill in the answer and create a word problem for their answer.math card marbles
  4. Adjust Closed Word Problems: Take closed word problems for your grade level and remove some of the values.

Closed: Taylor has 854 baseball cards, and Kyle has 928.  If Taylor and Kyle combine their baseball cards, how many cards will there be? 

Open-Ended: Taylor has lots of baseball cards, and Kyle has even more cards than Tyler. If Jade and Kyle combine their baseball cards, how many cards will there be?

Closed: Bobby saw 3 cows, 2 horses and 6 chickens at the farm. How many animals did Bobby see at the farm?

Open-Ended: Bobby saw some cows, horses and chickens at the farm. How many animals did Bobby see at the farm? 

Closed: In the fish tank there are 28 fish. One fourth of the fish are goldfish. How many goldfish are in the tank. 

Open-ended:MT orange 5

  1. Close or Almost: Using these words on math tasks gives students many more possibilities for their answers.   

Add two numbers where the sum is almost 25. What could the numbers be?                    Multiply two numbers where the product is close to 500. What could the numbers be?

Pull and Peek Book

untitledCreating exciting published projects is a great way for students to celebrate and share their writing. This pull and peek book is a winner with students of all ages. It is made with just one sheet of paper.  Students decorate the cover and write their story or report on four inside pages. When the first and third pages are pulled, an image appears. The pull and peek book is super easy to make and can be used in a variety of different ways.

Click here for written directions, video directions, and many more exciting ways to use the pull and peek book.

Launching Guided Math

counting 2Teachers work in classrooms filled with a broad diversity of students. Direct math instruction based on a one-size-fits-all approach is not effective with such diverse groups, as students learn in different ways. Differentiated math instruction addresses the varying needs, interests and learning styles of all learners.

Differentiated math instruction takes time, materials, training and the willingness to change from traditional teaching. However, when implemented effectively math will become easier for the teacher and more meaningful for the students. Watch these videos for a wealth of ideas on how to launch successful, differentiated and low stress guided math in your classroom.

Launching Guided Math in Grades K-2 and Grades 3-6




Aurasma in the Elementary Classroom

aurasma-1358939021_600.jpgAurasma is a super exciting augmented reality app which can be used in a variety of  elementary school projects. Aurasma combines the real-world with the digital world. You can create auras by tagging a paper image with a digital image, video or animation. The digital image can only be seen on the camera within the Aurasma app.

Click here to watch a video of Aurasma in action and also to get some great ideas for ways to use Aurasma in the classroom which are sure to delight students and parents!

Directions For Using Aurasma:

  1. Download the free Aurasma app and create your own account.
  2. To create an aura click on the plus sign in the top right hand corner of the screen.
  3. A camera box will appear. Hover the camera over the paper image.
  4. When the white ball is in the green bar, click the circle at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Choose an overlay from the library on the app or from your device. If you want to use an image from your device, you will need to upload one from your camera or photo library. Tap on the video, animation or image you want for your overlay. Then click on the select button.
  6. Your image will show on the screen as an overlay on top of the paper image. You can move and size by pinching and moving it with your fingers. When you have the overlay where you want it, tap on “next” in the top right hand corner of the screen.
  7. Name your aura and make it private or public. Private auras will only show on your device. Public auras can be seen by anyone who follows your page, but only if they have the paper image that is tagged with the aura.
  8. View an aura by clicking on the purple box at the bottom of the Aurasma home page and then hovering the camera over the paper image. The digital image will magically appear!
  9. To follow a channel, type in the channel name in the search box at the top of home screen. Tap on the channel, then tap on follow. Now you can see all the auras on that channel, if you have the paper image.

How to Create and Use QR Codes in The Classroom

TT QR code

There are many innovative and exciting ways to use QR codes in the classroom. A Quick Response code is a digital image similar to a bar code that can be scanned with a mobile device using a QR reader app. Download one of the many free QR reader apps. Open the app and tap scan. A camera box will appear on the screen. Hover the iPad over the QR code, so the QR code is inside the camera box. When the camera recognizes the code, the iPad will open a specific digital destination for a website, video, text and more.

There are many free QR code generator websites where you can create a QR code. These are my two favorites:

  • QRStuff.comThe free version site allows you to create QR codes in a variety of colors. They also have a URL shortener which creates an easier-to-read QR code.   
  • – The free version of this site allows you to add an image to the center of the QR code.

Here are the steps for creating a QR code:

  1. Find the video or website you want students to view.
  2. Right click on the URL in the address box at the top of the screen and click copy.
  3. Open a QR code generator like the two mentioned above and paste the URL into the appropriate box on the screen.
  4. You may choose the color for the QR code and in QR Code Monkey you may upload an image to go in the center of the QR code.
  5. In QR Stuff click on Download QR Code and in QR Code Monkey click Create QR Code and then Download.

There are many ways to use the QR codes in the classroom. Click here for ideas.

Effective Number Talks in Grades K-5

number talk picsA number talk is a short daily routine that helps students develop mental math skills, practice computational fluency and learn how to talk about math. The students are encouraged to use operations in ways that are meaningful to them, clarify their own thinking and apply number relationships. Number talks are for thinking and talking.          No worksheets required!

Number Talk Steps

  1. The teacher presents a computational problem.
  2. Using mental math skills students silently figure out the answer and put their thumb up when they have the answer.
  3. Three or four students share the strategies they used to arrive at their answers as the teacher writes them down.
  4. The class asks questions and discusses the strategies used. Finally they agree on an answer.

The Roll of the Teacher in Number Talks

  1. Value the thinking of all students.
  2. Select appropriate problems that focus on concepts the students have learned.
  3. Record, clarify and focus on what the students say. Ask questions like How did you figure that out? Who did it another way? Who solved it the same way? Does anyone have any questions for Sally? Sally tell us the first thing you did?
  4. Informally assess students and plan small group instruction where necessary.

Click here to download number talk sentence starters and hand signals.

number talk bubbles    hand signals