There's no better way to capture a child's interest and spark his imagination than to create things to demonstrate learning. This could be a model, a poster, task cards, a game, a diorama, a play, or a podcast just to name a few.
When children are engaged and motivated, they tend to learn more deeply and they are more passionate about their project.
There are many different types of projects that can be done based on the subject and concepts that are to be studied. Today, I would like to focus on some projects that work well with the primary social studies topics of families and communities.
Community projects and research
Assigning research projects where children investigate different aspects of their community, such as its history, economy, or cultural heritage and present their findings through presentations, posters, or multimedia projects develops research skills, information literacy, and a deeper understanding of the community's development.
We often study about families and look at family trees in the early grades. I wanted to take this further, so I developed a project that studied family heritage. To find out more about it and why it was important to me, check out this post.
The goal of the project was to learn more about what make us unique and special. It was a great way to research different cultural aspects of various countries and share them with others. Check out the project here.
Flat Family Project
Many people are probably familiar with Flat Stanley and the project that began with sending cutouts of Flat Stanley around the world and recording adventures with him. Then people began sending cutouts of themselves to record these adventures.
I decided to take this a step further as part of our heritage studies. We created flat families and journals that we mailed to family members in different parts of the world. The families took photos of activities together and made journal entries to share. They returned these journals along with special mementos to the children. It was so exciting to watch the faces of the children when a package arrived and the contents were shared with the class.
This Flat Family project has been set up for others to try. You can read more about it here.
Creating A 3D Community Project
Learning about communities and what they need is important. What better way to make sure that they understand what they have learned than to create a 3D community. This was a fun project that wowed the parents and other classes, not only because of its appearance, but also because of how much the kids could share that they had learned. Check it out here.
If you would like to learn more about how we created it, check out this blog post.
These are just 3 different projects that can be done. If you are interested in other projects, check out my social studies category. I hope you find doing projects as successful as I did.
Developing a nurturing environment and a positive learning community results from effective classroom management and student engagement. There are many different ways to encourage student participation and a caring classroom community. Here are a few different ideas to consider.
Try Ice breaker activities
Ice breaker activities are a good way to help students to get acquainted with each other. They can help to build community and depending on the types of activities, they can help kids to understand each other better as well. These activities can be combined with others to promote team building and working together. Here are some quick and easy games to try.
Roll the Di and Share
Give each person a di and get them to roll it and find others with the same number. When the groups are formed, have each person share 4 things about themselves. Repeat this activity as many times as wanted.
Students go around the room saying "mingle mingle" as they meet up with others. Call out a number and everyone with that number meets together. Call out a type of machinery and the members of the group need to figure out how to use their bodies to create the machinery.
Find Someone Who (5W version)
Interview one person or multiple people using the 5W questions. Share the results later with the class as you introduce students to each other. Here is a ready made resource for you to try.
Find Someone Who Ice Breaker - 5W Version
Set clear and consistent rules and expectations
Setting clear and consistent rules and expectations will help everyone to be on the same page when it comes to dealing with situations that arise in the classroom. Discussing and setting these rules and expectations together will help with creating a sense of ownership and responsibility. Students will know what is expected and will be more willing to accept consequences should these rules or expectations not be followed.
Using T-charts or other forms can help with visualizing these expectations and what they should look like and sound like. Here are some T-charts that might help.
Focusing on social emotional learning activities will also help with developing a caring classroom community. It will also help when conflicts happen. Conflict resolution strategies should be taught as well. Problem solving and learning to work together will go a long ways if the tools and strategies are taught.
Here are some Social booklets that might help.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Social Stories And Activities
Transition activities and brain breaks
Incorporating transition activities will help to make movement between activities smoother and less disruptive and adding in brain breaks will help students stay energized and focused during longer periods of learning.
Morning meetings and class meetings
Morning meetings are a great way to get the day started and to encourage the students to work together. They can be used in a variety of ways, but appreciating and encouraging each other is a great way to develop positive relationships.
Classroom meetings are an effective way to deal with problems and situations that arise. Students have a chance to discuss their thoughts, concerns, and ideas, creating a sense of ownership within the classroom.
More activities and resources
If you are interested in more resources, check out my classroom management category and my ready to go kits.
Primary Teachers Ready To Go Kits
By implementing these activities, teachers can nurture a sense of community and caring in the classroom, creating an environment where students feel supported, respected, and valued as part of a cohesive learning community.
Teachers, do your kids struggle with doing research on Canada because the material is too difficult to read and understand?
Would you like to find material that provides information in an easier to read format?
Does this sound like you?
• the materials are too difficult for many of your students to understand
• the students are constantly asking for help
• there aren't enough resources available that are suitable for younger students
• you spend hours searching for materials that will help your students
• you start wondering if doing research is worth all the frustration
Are you tired of:
• kids struggling to read and find information in nonfiction reference books?
• kids getting frustrated and always needing help to locate information for their research?
• searching for suitable material for younger students that has the information needed for research?
I've been there. I often tried to get my kids to do research for various different topics and I spent most of my time either helping them to find materials or helping them to navigate through the material to find the relevant information needed.
I enjoyed doing projects with my students, but it was a lot of prep and energy to do so, especially for social studies. I knew I needed to make some changes.
I created a series of booklets for Canada that were easier to read and full of pictures and maps that helped with the research. I then had a couple of classes try them out. They worked well and the kids felt successful with their research. Finally I had something that younger kids could use.
Research booklets for the 10 provinces and 3 territories
There are individual booklets for each of the provinces and territories with an added booklet of the symbols for each.
English and French versions available
An English version, Canada My Country, and a French version, Canada mon pays, are available as individual booklets and bundles
Easy to read format with photographs to help
Each page features a photograph or map and an easy to read description. If your students are doing research on Canada's provinces and territories and need easy to read material, these bundles are right for you.
Here are some of the features:
• Maps of the province or territory and its location in Canada
• Photographs to go along with the research information
• Information about industries, services, and interesting facts
• A booklet of the symbols for each of the provinces or territories
I created these booklets for my class when I saw how difficult the materials in our library were for them to read. It felt so good to see them doing the necessary research and enjoying it because they weren't struggling with the material.
Don't take my word for it. Here's what others have to say:
Get your Canada Research Bundle now and be ready for your kids to learn about the provinces and territories.
Your younger students can do research successfully.
Let's recap and you will see why these materials work
• All booklets are set up with a similar format
• They contain maps and explain where the provinces or territories are located
• Capital cities and some well-known landmarks are included
• Main industries or services are included
• Interesting facts are included
• Photographs are clear and visually appealing
Time to feel good about your kids doing research!
It's that time of year again. Summer break is ending for some and nearing the halfway mark for others. Teachers are starting to gear up again and think about the new school year. School supplies are everywhere, back to school ads are appearing on the television and the teacher brain is going into overdrive.
As hard as it is, it's important to try and keep relaxing and recharging so that you don't burn out before the year even gets going.
Does this sound like you?
• can't turn off teacher brain
• wondering how you are going to do assessments
• not finding enough time for planning
• juggling setting up routines while keeping kids engaged
• differentiating for range of ability levels
• trying to make lessons fresh and engaging
So many questions and worries
How can I go on when I am so exhausted?
How will I manage to assess everyone while keeping others engaged?
What if the range in my class is too wide?
I've been there. It is exhausting and at times overwhelming. That's why I have collected some of the different resources and activities that have been successful with my students and I've created The Ultimate Primary Teachers Ready To Go Kit.
These resources and activities can make the beginning of the year enjoyable and less stressful for both you and your students.
Returning to school after summer break isn't always fun for kids. They've been free to do different things without the structure of the classroom routines. Now they have to fit into set schedules, rules, and routines of a new grade and a new teacher.
Engage your students from the very first day with dynamic activities and icebreakers. This kit features interactive games, team-building exercises, and activities that foster a positive classroom community. With the colorful posters and educational activities, you can set up an inspiring learning space that encourages curiosity and exploration.
This comprehensive kit is designed specifically for primary teachers. Packed with a wide range of resources and activities, this kit is your go-to solution for start-of-the-year preparation, emergency sub plans, and engaging substitute teacher activities. From day one to those unexpected absences, it's got you covered!
Check out what it includes
Classroom management resources and ice breakers and some active games
Posters and task cards as well as ice breaker tools and active games that will help you with your classroom routines and management to create a positive classroom environment.
Back To School resources full of activities for the first weeks back
These resources will give your students many different activities to do while you are trying to do assessments or trying to get to know your kids.
Literacy activities for reading, writing, language development
Reading for evidence, working with vocabulary and sounds, task cards for parts of speech and idioms, writing prompts are just a few of the activities here.
Math review for basic operations, graphing, and measurement
Basic math operations review, working with glyphs, and measurement games to get kids ready for more skills as they move on to more abstract concepts.
Science posters, graphic organizers, and experiments to get the year started off right
Positive self esteem activities and resources to create positive mindsets
Get ready to kick off the school year with confidence and ease and ensure a successful academic year for both you and your students. Get The Ultimate Primary Teachers Ready To Go Kit today and experience the peace of mind that comes with being well-prepared!
Not sure if you need the full kit? There are individual kits available as well. There is even a sampler kit for those who want to try just a few of the activities from each area. Check out my TPT store to find out more about the individual kits. If you are ready for a less stressful start to the year grab your ultimate kit now.
The sunshine is here and kids are anxious to get outside, so why not take advantage of this and do some outdoor math activities and other lessons? Many different subjects can be done outside the classroom walls if you add in some creativity and movement. Here are 5 fun ideas for teaching math and social studies outdoors.
Taking Measurement Outdoors
Many classes study measurement in the spring. A culminating activity for this could be an outdoor event where teams practice linear measurement. Here is a resource that might help.
Outdoor Measurement Games Team Events
Working With Time And Racing
If you teach time in the spring, perhaps you could go one step further and introduce stopwatches. Timing different events can be fun and many different devices actually have stopwatches on them now.
You could have a fun day with different activities that need timing, such as running, filling different containers, wheelbarrow races, etc. You could also set a time to beat and have the kids do activities that have to beat the time. For older children, comparing times, looking at the data and maybe even figuring out elapsed time could also be included.
Because the kids are having fun and moving around, they won't realize that they are studying time, but they will be applying skills to real world situations.
Taking Mapping Skills Outdoors
Reading maps and understanding them is still an important skill in today's digital age. Many people rely on the maps feature in their vehicle or on their phone to get them from point A to point B, but they don't have a clear understanding of how to read maps on their own. Learning how to use mapping skills like directions and grids helps when using maps at places that don't have a digital option. For example, when you go to certain amusement parks, zoos, or other events that have activities and events spread out around the grounds, being able to follow a map is important. Just think of all the maps in malls, at parks, or even at visitor centers that have "You Are Here" indicated on them. Can you follow directions from there to get to where you want to go?
Teaching kids how to use these skills in practical settings requires practice. Here is a chance to get outside and actually try to use them to find things, locate different areas, and be able to help others to find them too. Creating maps of the neighborhood or school grounds can also work as practice using grids, directions, and even symbols and legends. Here is a resource that may help.
Mapping Skills Using Grids
Using Grids And Working With Scale
Understanding how scale works is an important skill when interpreting maps, blueprints, house plans, and other documents. A great way to practice doing this is using grid paper and measuring the perimeter or area of an object and then drawing it on the paper. It is important to indicate what the size of each square is so that the measurements match what is drawn on the paper. You could choose the school yard, playground, surrounding neighborhood or any other area or object for your topic.
Here is a resource that may help with understanding perimeter and area along with some activities to practice using both.
Perimeter And Area
Solving Math Word Problems
Word problems can be especially challenging for some kids, so taking them outdoors and actually doing some hands on work with them might help. I remember creating puzzles when I was geocaching that required people to solve math questions using objects in the park in order to find the coordinates. Something similar could be done in the school yard. For example, check out and find all the trash containers, swings, trees, signs, basketball hoops, hopscotch or foursquare marking, etc. Using these objects around the school yard, create math word problems that must be solved. You could work in pairs, individually, or even in teams to solve them.
The Sky's The Limit
These are only a few of the different activities that can be done outdoors to work on math and social studies skills. Depending on what you are studying and how creative you are, there are many others that can be done as well.
So get outside, have fun, and keep the learning going.
Spring is here and so are the baby chicks, butterflies, and salmon fry. It is always so much fun to see these little animals as they appear in primary classrooms. The kids get so excited when they arrive and they want to check on them constantly.
Many other baby animals are born or hatched in the spring as well. This is a great time to do research on animals.
Life cycles of animals
Understanding animal life cycles is an important part of the broader study of life science. Many animals have fascinating stories in their transformation from egg to adulthood. Their journeys from egg-stage to adulthood have different processes depending on the kind of animal. Not only is the actual life cycle interesting to study, but also the habits and behaviors of the animals and the habitats in which they live.
What are habitats?
Habitats are the homes and natural environments where animals live and thrive. They range from deserts to forests, oceans to grasslands. They are special places where animals live, eat, and sleep. Every habitat has its own unique features, like temperature, terrain, and resources.
Why are habitats important?
Habitats provide food, shelter, and safety to animals. Plus, they play a crucial role in the balance of our ecosystem. Each species comes with its own set of needs and requirements that must be met in order for it to grow into a healthy adult. Different habitats and environments play an important role in this.
As we explore the life cycles of animals, we can see how their habitats impact their lives. Some animals, like birds, build intricate nests to protect their eggs, while others, like kangaroos, carry their babies in a pouch. It's fascinating to see how different animals give birth, whether it's by laying eggs, hatching from an egg, or live births. In life science, we learn about the different stages of an animal's life, from birth to adulthood, and how they use their habitats to thrive.
If you are looking for some resources about life cycles of different animals that can be studied at school, check out the resources below.
Life Cycle Of A Chicken
Life Cycle Of A Salmon
Life Cycle Of A Frog
Life Cycle Of A Honey Bee
Life Cycle Of A Butterfly Poster And Activities
Animals need specific things like food, water, and shelter to survive and thrive. Whether an animal lives in the ocean, the forest, or even in your own backyard, its habitat plays a crucial role in its life cycle.
Plants also rely on the environment for survival. They thrive in different kinds of habitats just like animals do. Animals rely on the plants for food. Studying the life cycles of plants as well as animals help us to see how they depend on each other.
Grab a free copy of this life cycle template that can be used for animals or plants.
If you are looking for templates to do research on animals, check out these templates. I used these templates as graphic organizers when my students did powerpoints about their animals.
Whether they are studying animals or plants, kids will find out fascinating information and hopefully they will have a better understanding of how important it is to protect the environment and the habitats of these living things.
Spring time is here with it's changing weather and new life everywhere you look. This year the saying April showers bring May flowers is very true. We are still waiting for the warmer weather and more sunny days, but we do get hints of this every so often.
This is the perfect time for planting seeds inside and watching them grow. Kids are always amazed to see the first sprouts and watch the little seed turn into a plant. These plants can also be taken and placed in the garden when the weather warms up.
I still hear from former students about the beans or tomatoes they harvested from their little seed that they planted in class.
Different ways to plant seeds
If you are looking to do more with your seed, there are various ways to plant it so that the kids can observe it's transformation. Here are some methods we used successfully in my classroom.
One method that was fun to do with my students was the CD case method. We took empty CD cases and added some soil and the seed into the case and then made sure that the soil was moist. We placed the cases in a dish rack in a sunny place. Periodically we added a little more water to keep them moist. The clear cases made it easy to see the seeds sprout. Once the leaves started to form, we transplanted the seedlings into pots so they could continue to grow.
Another method we used was peat pucks in a tray. We moistened the peat pucks so that they expanded, and then we placed the seeds in the center of the pucks. We kept them in a tray and watered them regularly so they didn't dry out. When they sprouted and started developing leaves we placed the puck in a pot with soil in it so they had more room to grow.
Planting seeds in eggshell pots is another great idea. They can be transplanted with the eggshells right into the garden when they are ready.
Of course, there is always the more traditional method of adding soil to a small pot or cup and placing the seed in the soil. This is easy to do and it saves transplanting the seedling multiple times. It also works well as a gift for mothers on Mother's Day.
What do plants need for growing?
There is more to planting the seed and just letting it grow if you want your students to understand what plants need and how plants grow. Sometimes this can be demonstrated by having a seed that doesn't get what it needs as a visual reminder. Perhaps it can be placed in a spot where it doesn't get sunlight, or maybe it can be left to dry out. Another option is to overwater it so that the seed rots and doesn't grow.
Here is a resource that helps kids to learn about plants and their needs. It uses pictures and a small written exercise to help kids understand. This will help them take steps to make sure their plants needs are met and that they grow into healthy plants.
To make growing plants more interesting, it helps to keep a journal of what is happening. I created this little observation journal for our bean plant and it was a great reminder of all that happened as the seed grew into a bean plant. I also created a more generic journal that can be used with other plants. You can get a copy here.
There are so many different types of plants that kids can grow and study. Learning about the different life cycles and how the different types of plants grow is surprising for some kids. You can check out several different plant life cycles and resources here.
I hope your students enjoy learning about plants as much as mine did. Happy planting!
As the weather begins to warm up and the sunshine brightens our days, other things can warm our heart as well. This is the time of year to think about special people and all that they have done for us. From caring for us to little acts of kindness, we have been blessed to have these people in our lives.
Special Days For Special People
Some of the most popular special celebrations at this time of the year are Mother's Day, Father's Day, Teacher Appreciation Day/Week, and Volunteer Appreciation. Here are a few ideas and resources to help with these celebrations.
Mother's Day/Father's Day
As family dynamics change, it makes it more difficult to focus on some celebrations, Mother's Day and Father's Day are two that have been traditionally celebrated over the years and time has been spent making gifts and cards at school for these special days.
However, it is more complicated now and we need to take into consideration those who might find this a challenge and help them to feel included and comfortable participating. If a mother or father is not part of the picture, a special lady or special man in the person's life can be the focus instead.
Mother's Day (Special Lady)
There are many special women that can be acknowledged on this day. They may be mothers, grandmothers, aunts, step mothers, foster mothers, friends of the family, neighbors, or even teachers. These women are special for various different reasons, but they are important in our lives. If a child has more than one "mother figure" and wishes to celebrate these special ladies, it's important to give them that opportunity.
Here are some resources that may be of interest for Mother's Day.
Mother's Day Certificates
Mother's Day Booklets And Cards
Special Mother's Day Coupons And Acrostic
Special Day Coupons, Templates And Acrostics (for mothers, fathers, and generic)
Father's Day (Special Man)
As with mothers, kids may want to celebrate different special men in their lives. They may be fathers, grandfathers, uncles, step fathers, foster fathers, friends of the family, neighbors, or even teachers. These men provide different roles in their lives, but they are important to the child. Opportunities need to be provided to acknowledge them as well.
Here are some resources that may be of interest for Father's Day.
Father's Day Cards For Dads And Other Special Men
Father's Day Cards And Posters
Special Day Coupons, Templates And Acrostics (for mothers, fathers, and generic)
Teacher Appreciation Day/Week
Teachers do so much for our children. It is only fitting that they be celebrated. They have had a tough time during these last few years dealing with the pandemic and the residual effects of varied learning experiences as a result. They continue to show up and give their all every day, even when they are struggling. Teacher appreciation day or week, depending on where you are, is just a small acknowledgement of their impact on our children's lives. Every little thank you token of appreciation is special to them. Don't forget to let them know how much you appreciate them.
Support staff and educational assistants are also important and should be included in these celebrations. There are so many things they do to help teachers and support learning.
Many schools have volunteer appreciation days or teas to thank volunteers for all they do for the school. This could be the parent groups, classroom helpers, individual parents, or people from the community. All of these people help the programs and school run better. Helpers are always needed, and we want to make sure they are not taken for granted.
Every school or district is different, but here is an example from what we have done at our school.
The classes would meet in the gymnasium and the volunteers would be invited to enter after every class was there. The students would give them a standing ovation as they entered the gym. This would be followed by some entertainment and then a strawberry tea. The students would be in class or outside playing while the tea was happening. The senior students would serve the volunteers.
Place mats and thank you cards were made for the tables. Plants were also provided to decorate and then take home.
Here are some place mats and thank you cards that I created for use at our tea.
Helping Hands Thank You Notes
Whatever the special occasion, it's a chance to say thank you and let people know that you appreciate them. So many times people feel taken for granted and this little acknowledgement can warm their hearts and help them to keep going.
Thank you to all the special people in my life. You have given me so much and I truly am blessed to have you as part of my life. I may not say it often enough, but I do appreciate you.
Do your students struggle to make sense out of math? Do they grumble and get frustrated whenever it is time for math? Maybe they just need to have more practice manipulating things and visualizing concepts.
Using concrete materials and hands on activities is the best way, in my opinion, to help kids make sense out of the math concepts they are being taught. However, at some point they need to be able to move from the concrete to the abstract. Here are a few ideas that combine both as they move towards that transition.
When we talk about basic facts, we usually mean addition and subtraction facts of single digit numbers. These are the foundation for all other addition and subtraction problems and they are also the base for multiplication and division. If kids are to make sense and be successful with more complex situations, they need to have a good handle on their basic facts.
Start out by using objects and combining them for addition and removing some for subtraction. As these steps are practiced, try using words like adding and plus or taking away and minus so that when the number sentences are used, they will be familiar with the language.
When the number sentences are added, make sure to have an image of the objects there as well so the correlation between the concrete and abstract is visible.
Fact Families and Number Bonds
Fact family triangles help kids to see the relationship between addition and subtraction and the separate elements. Number bonds are another way of representing this. Try using objects and breaking them down into the different sets so that they can actually count and check to see that the addition and subtraction sentences work.
Here are some resources that I created to practice using fact family triangles and number bonds. Click on the images to check them out.
Representing Numbers And Place Value
Once kids are able to recognize numbers up to ten, it is time to start looking more closely at numbers with two or more digits. They may be able to count past ten and even up to one hundred, but do they really understand what the digits in the numbers mean when they look at them?
In most cases, they think of a number such as 324 to be a 3, a 2, and a 4. They hear three hundred twenty-four when they say the number out loud, but they don't really understand that it is 300 plus 20 plus 4. There are several ways to help them figure this out. Here are a couple of ways that I like to use.
Base Ten Blocks
Base ten blocks allow kids to manipulate objects to show different numbers. They can touch the hundreds, tens, and ones as they count them and move them around. Once they can accurately create numbers using the blocks, they can draw them using large squares for hundreds, rectangles for tens, and small squares for ones.
If you don't have access to base ten blocks, try these portable ones that I created.
Expanded notation stretches the number out so that each of the digits is represented with its value. For example: 523 is really 500+20+3. Start out using the base ten blocks to show what it looks like before moving to the abstract addition sentence.
Practice saying different numbers and then representing them with the base ten blocks. Once they can show the number correctly each time, add in the written component. Draw a picture of the number using base ten symbols and write the expanded addition sentence under it.
Once they get comfortable with recognizing the standard notation and representing it with base ten blocks and expanded notation, matching the 3 different formats can be added. Here is a resource I created that does that. It also has a bingo component. Click on the images to see more.
Check out the video below for an explanation about how to use this resource to help kids understand ways to represent numbers.
Another way to show numbers with their actual values is to make card stock strips with 100,200,300,400,500,600,700,800,900 on them, and shorter ones with 10,20,30,40,50,60,70,80,90 on them, and shorter ones with 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 on them. Hand out the strips to the kids and have them show the actual numbers by standing together with the correctly numbered strips. For example: 362 is the number. The kids with 300, 60, and 2 would stand together to show that they make the number 362. They could also overlap their strips to show the standard notation number.
if you would like some worksheets to practice representing numbers in a variety of ways, check out my place value category in my store. There you will find sets for different holidays and seasons.
I have also created a sample set that is free for signing up for my newsletter..
These are only a few ideas for using hands on activities to help make sense of math concepts. Moving to the abstract will be an easy transition for some, but will be difficult for others. If necessary, add in concrete activities along the way to help kids see the relationships and apply concepts to other activities.
Next time I will share some addition tips and strategies.
Watching kids "get it" is exciting. There is that confusion and frustration at the beginning that gradually changes as things begin to make sense. Suddenly the light bulb goes off and the smiles appear. There is a definite sense of "Aha". This is often the case in math when kids work with concrete materials.
Hands on activities and manipulatives made the difference. That is the magic of using hands on activities and manipulatives to teach basic concepts in math.
Here are some different types of games and activities as well as resources that may help as you venture into teaching with concrete examples.
Before kids can move forward in math, they have to understand what numbers are and be able to work with them. This includes recognizing what the numerals look like, counting objects, making one to one correlation with the number and the object, etc.
Counting by one, two, five, and ten can all be done with concrete objects. It's important to make sure that there is understanding of one concept before adding in the next one.
Counting by one:
Start with picking up objects one at a time and counting them sequentially. Try counting up to five, then ten, and then twenty. Practice this until they can do it without help. Pointing at objects as they are counted also works. Make sure to also work on counting objects that may not be lined up but are in random positions.
Counting by two:
Once they are able to count by one without prompting, start introducing counting two together. There are several ways to do this. It is important that they understand that they are counting two objects at a time. You could put the objects in pairs and have them count by saying the odd numbers quietly and the even numbers loudly at first, and then have them say the odd number inside their head and the even number out loud. With practice, they will be able to say only the even numbers and do the skip counting by two.
Counting by five and ten:
Counting by five and ten require a good understanding of larger numbers. Practice using number lines and hundreds charts to expand to larger numbers and do lots of activities to help kids see how these bigger quantities work. Then work on patterns and skip counting by five and ten. Use things like hands or coins for visually counting by five or ten as well.
Teach children that numbers have many representations, such as dots, fingers, counters, numerals, objects, ten frames, etc.
The goal is to help them to see patterns and relationships between the numbers and objects. The goal is to help them to start understanding how different concepts like more, less, equal to, greater than, less than, etc work. Basic facts for addition and subtraction followed by multiplication and division are also part of number sense.
Number sense is key to all aspects of math. It is important to make sure that kids have a solid understanding of how numbers work and the relationships between different operations happen in order to ensure that they will be successful with more abstract and complex concepts.
When we refer to basic facts, we usually mean adding and subtracting single digit numbers. It's important to have a good understanding of these facts and how they work in order to do more complex math questions. Games are a great way to work on these.
Start by working with numbers that add up to ten. Making tens is a key concept for many different other skills and concepts.
Using dice work well for teaching basic facts to ten. Check out the video below to see how I used dice for teaching how to make tens.
Using ten frames is another great visual for how to make ten. Working with ten frame cards or placing objects in containers that represent ten frames help kids to see when they have a ten and how many are needed if they have a number that is less than ten. The more they see these visuals, the easier it is for them to quickly recognize numbers up to ten and what numbers go together to make ten. Check out this video to learn more.
I loved using these ten frame cards to play games with my students. They had fun, and they became very good at recognizing similar numbers quickly. Playing "Snap" added an element of friendly competition.
Another fun activity was playing with teams using the large cards. One person from each team came forward and as the cards were shown, whoever got the answer correct first got the card. When the cards were all played, the person with the most cards got a point for the team. Then the next two players came up. The cool thing about this, was that all the others saw the cards at the same time and they could mentally practice recognizing the numbers while waiting for their turn.
Once kids have a good understanding of how to make ten, they will be more prepared for the rest of the numbers needed for basic facts. Knowing basic facts is important for working with the different math operations successfully.
There are many different strategies for working with addition and subtraction to practice basic facts. I will share more about this another time.
There is a danger in trying to move kids to abstract concepts too quickly. Take the time to have them work with concrete examples and you will find that the abstract situations will be much easier for them to understand and grasp.
When I worked with several students that struggled in early intermediate grades, I found that returning to the basics and using the concrete activities made a world of difference not only to their understanding, but also to their confidence and engagement. It was exciting to see them find light bulb moments and attempt more difficult concepts as a result.
Next time I will focus on more skills such as how to represent numbers using base ten models as well as fact families and number bonds. I will also show some other ways to represent numbers as we move from concrete to ablstract.
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About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.