April 30, 2019

Fidget Spinner Day!

Once testing is over and the school year is winding down, holding special events in your classroom can be fun for the kids as they apply skills they have been learning throughout the year. 



Fidget Spinner Day is a favorite! You can pick and choose the ideas that will work for your class. The link to the resource used to manage Fidget Spinner Day is at the bottom of this post.




I find it helpful to begin by having the students make the project cover so they have a place to keep all of their tasks as they complete them. The cover is made by folding the 2 edges of a regular file folder to the middle. The spinners on the cover are made with brightly colored card stock, black paper, aluminum foil, and 3 paper fasteners. The name tag is printed on brightly colored paper. The outlines to make the cover are included in the resource (link below!)

Here is a sample of some of the tasks that you can assign.  The kids glue the task cards that they complete inside the folder. Loose papers for other activities can be tucked inside the folder.



You may want to build excitement and anticipation by having the students complete a few activities prior to Fidget Spinner Day. Others can be assigned as follow up. 

Kids love to break out the fidget spinners and try out the station activities in this resource. I always have a few extra spinners on hand for the kids that forget or do not own one. I have also found that some students love to share their extra fidget spinners with classmates. 

Here is the link to the printables:

 Fidget Spinner Activities

                                                            Fidget Spinner Activities

Fidget spinners were extremely popular in 2017. The kids love hearing about fads from when their teacher was growing up! I always tell about the pet rock craze and how my mom would not spend money on a rock! This story prompted my co-teacher to give me one as a gift. So now I have my very own pet rock after all these years! Now if only I had saved my mood ring...



As new fads come along, sometimes we can use the craze to teach and apply skills! 

March 31, 2019

Spring Fever? Take Learning Outside!



As you enthusiastically teach your carefully planned lesson on multiplying fractions, you scan the room and notice squirmy kids gazing out the window. Some are obviously ignoring your lesson and some are politely trying to hide the fact that they are more interested in what’s going on outdoors than what’s happening on the Smartboard.  The kids have a case of spring fever and well, so do you! Take the signal from the kids and take the learning outside!

Here are 5 outside activities with suggestions that fit into different areas of the curriculum. Use the suggestions or adapt to fit your own curriculum needs. The activities are low prep and use materials commonly found in your classroom or school. (Our Phys. Ed. teacher is quite used to me borrowing balls, hoops, jump ropes, and the such!)  Remember to let the office know that you will be outside in case they need to reach you!


Let’s play!



Playground Ball Games

Materials Needed:
Playground Balls or Soccer Balls (half the number of students in your class)
For spelling practice, a Spelling List

For this game, students review curriculum content by throwing, bouncing, or kicking a ball back and forth with a partner. This game works well with counting by multiples to reinforce multiplication facts. For example, the first student says, "2" and passes the ball to his/her partner. The other student says "4" and passes the ball back and so on. Students can start with 2’s and work their way up to the 12’s. This game can also be used to practice spelling words. Have students bring out a spelling list on a clipboard. One student starts by calling out a word. Students can bounce the ball back and forth while saying each letter in the word.



Measuring Practice

Materials Needed:
Tape Measures or Meter Sticks
Recording Sheet and Pencil

Students work individually or with a partner to measure various items in a defined area. Decide on items to measure as a class. You can also allow some choices. Give students boundaries for your playground area as you see fit. Distribute tape measures or meter sticks and head outside! Students measure items and record their answers and units. This FREE recording sheet is ready for you to download, print, and distribute. 

Click HERE




Sidewalk Chalk Ideas

Materials Needed:
Sidewalk Chalk
Curriculum Content

I’ve used sidewalk chalk in 3 different ways. The first is for writing out multiplication facts. The next way is to practice spelling words. The third way is to study for an upcoming quiz or test. To study, students would partner up with study guides in hand. Students would take turns asking each other questions from the study guide. The other partner would write the answer with sidewalk chalk. The pair would then reverse roles. 



Hand Clap Poems

Materials Needed:
Notebook and Pencil

Move over Miss Mary Mac! Before going outside, have students share any hand clap poems that they may already know. Challenge them to partner up and create their own handclap rhyme. Students write down their poem and routine in their notebooks. Allow students to share their hand clap rhymes with the rest of the class. Alternately, you could have the kiddos create jump rope rhymes! 



Nature Scavenger Hunt

Materials Needed:
Recording Sheet and Pencil

Give students time to get out and observe spring! A simple FREE checklist for a quick scavenger hunt can be found HERE



If desired, use the checklist as a starter for a writing assignment or for creating math word problems. 


Spring is such a fun time for learning!

February 15, 2019

3 Fun and Easy Ways to Practice Math Facts!



Integrating fact practice into your daily math routine is easy! Here are 3 fun ways to have your students practice their facts every (or almost every) day.


1. Musical Math


Put some music on and let the kids dance!

Print out any fact practice worksheet that you want the kids to work on. A worksheet with 50+ problems works well. There are plenty of free fact practice worksheets out there or just use any that you already have.

Place a fact worksheet on each student's desk. Explain the rules to your kiddos:

- You will be working on your own fact worksheet until you hear the music playing.
- When you hear the music, get up and dance about. (No running!)
- When the music stops, sit in any seat and continue the work on that worksheet.
- Work until you hear the music play again.
- We will continue until everyone's worksheet is finished, or just about finished.
- Then you will check the answers on your own paper for completion and accuracy.
- Finally, we will check the answers together, with a small group, or with a partner.

I have the students use the pencil at the desk they are working at so that they are not dancing around with pencils!

Keep the pace quick. Students work for about a minute and then play the music. Continue until the worksheets are nearing completion. Decide how you want to check answers.

*Option: Use a bunch of different worksheets so that no 2 are the same or have several of each operation and have the kids work on any of them during the musical math practice. Students can then check answers with their operation group (addition group, subtraction group, multiplication group, division group).

Brain break and practice all in one!


2. Play Hot Seat!


WARNING! This game gets loud and competitive!

Grab a chair and a stack of flashcards. Explain the rules to the kids:

- One student will sit in the hot seat. The rest of you will line up behind the hot seat.
- The student in the hot seat and the one student right behind the hot seat will compete to answer a fact. The student who answers correctly first gets to sit or stay in the hot seat. The one who does not answer correctly first goes to the back of the line
- If the 2 kids tie, we will repeat with another flash card until one student is first.
- Your goal is to try to sit or stay in the hot seat!

Choose one student to sit in the chair and have the rest of the group line up behind the chair. Begin play. Once the kiddos get the game, divide your group in half and have 2 games going at once to increase engagement. If you are a solo teacher, choose a student to be a leader of the second group and handle the flashcards. The kids love to be a leader!

I have often played this game outside on a nice day!



3. Math Exit Tickets



Get a FREE sample (featured in the TpT newsletter!) HERE.




A full set is available HERE.

One teacher writes:
"Love these! I use them as an end of the day exit ticket while they are packing up to leave. They pack up quick so they can be the first to choose a fact!"

I think this is such a creative use for this resource!


How do you fit in math fact practice?