Five in a Row: A Game for Practicing Addition Facts and What's the Problem? Freebies {May}

Hey everyone!  I'm so excited to be sharing the newest monthly Five in a Row game board with you today. 

What is Five in a Row?
Five in a Row is fun and engaging game where students practice their basic addition math facts.  Students will roll two number cubes (labeled 5-10) or two dice, add them together, and cover the sum on the game board.  The object of the game is to be the first person to cover five numbers in a row.
  • Game boards
  • Game pieces (double sided counters, dimes and pennies, different colored linking cubes, and so on) NOTE: since the two players share the same game board, they need different game pieces to denote which spaces they've claimed as their own
  • 2 Number Cubes (blank cubes numbered 5 through 10) OR 2 dice (depending upon the level of play)
How to Play
  • Students play in pairs. 
  • Student A rolls the two number cubes (or dice), adds the numbers together, and covers that number on the board.
  • Student B does the same.
  • Play continues back and forth in this fashion.
  • The first player to get five counters in a row is the winner!
Note:  If a player rolls their number cubes or dice, but the sum is not available, then they do nothing (and hope they have better luck when their next turn comes around).

You can grab this Five in a Row game board for free!  It includes color and black and white versions, as well as two levels of play:
  • Sums of 2 through 12 (played with two dice)
  • Sums of 10 through 20  (played with two number cubes numbered 5-10)

To grab your free copy of Freshly Picked Five in a Row, click here.

You can find all of my Five in a Row boards here.

Wait, there's more!  This post also includes the newest installment of my "What's the Problem?" mini book series.

What's the Problem?
Looking to challenge your students in the word problem department?  Then, you've come to the right place.  The newest installment of "What's the Problem?" is ready to share.  This (free) mini book series is a great way to give students practice with writing their own addition and subtraction word problems. 

So what is a "What's the Problem?" mini book?  It's a project that tasks students with creating a story (word)  problem for a given answer.  They have to use a different kind of thinking to do this, and they have to use the correct vocabulary terms as they write their problems (i.e. "how many more?" or "how many in all?" and so on).

When working on this skill, my students are taught to write three sentences.  The first two sentences pose the problem, and the third asks the question. I also tell my students that they need to use the answer label throughout their story.  For example:

Kylie surfed 2 gnarly waves in the morning.  Then, she surfed 1 more gnarly wave after lunch.  How many gnarly waves did Kylie surf in all?

"What's the Problem?" is a great way to get students thinking about word problems from a different angle and encourages them to use their math vocabulary. They have to focus carefully on crafting their word problem and as they develop this skill, they will also be able to more easily solve other word problems.

When your students are ready, they could write two step story problems. Or, you could task them with adding "extra" information to their word problems as a device to try and "trick" the reader.  You could also have students draw a model for their word problem in the space at the bottom of each page.

You can grab this free mini book here.

Also, you can find my other "What's the Problem?" mini books here. 

Enjoy your freebies!

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Bringing the Pictograph to Life

I was going to wait until Thursday to share this idea with you, but I decided to go for it anyway!

This week we started graphing in enVision Math.  There isn't really anything bad about this topic; it does a decent job of covering this skill/standard.  However, it isn't very much fun to just sit there and fill out bar graph after bar graph (or pictograph for that matter).  So, I decided to make today's lesson a bit more hands-on and engaging. 

After I introduced the concept of the pictograph, we worked together to make this:

This pictograph served as a replacement to the front page of our daily handout. If you aren't familiar with the enVision series, there is always an exercise on the front of the daily handout (that is, typically, minimally hands-on) that the students generally complete with a partner, once you have presented a new concept.

After we made this graph together, we then completed the remainder of the lesson handout. I think it helped break up the monotony of the handout a bit.

The kids loved the activity.  They especially loved gluing that little guy on the graph as they crossed their fingers that their flavor would "win." 

As you can tell, I simply made the graph out of butcher paper.  I printed out small images of a little kid (thank you Melonheadz) and gave one to each student.  They colored in their little guy and glued him to the graph.  We also used the graph to read the data and review key terms such as "title," "categories," and "symbol."  I'm planning to keep our class graph up throughout the remainder of the unit.

On another note, I've been getting myself ready for next year.  Yes, next year.  I always start getting ready for the following year once mid-April rolls around.  I've been working on my classroom theme as well as making copies that I know I will need (first week materials, daily math fact review, spelling, etc).  It makes for a much less stressful return in August when we report back.

I'm waiting for my binding combs to arrive so I can bind those All About Me Books.  I'm waiting, Amazon....

Check back in a few days as I'm planning to share another graphing activity.  Toodles!

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The Tea Party Strategy {Student Engagement}

As you well know by now, I am a big fan of using activities that engage and/or hook my students.  Scoot, Find Your Partner, and I Spy are just a few of my favorites.  But, back in my student teaching days, my mentor teacher shared the idea of a "Tea Party" with me.

Don't worry, there isn't any tea involved.  And, it isn't really even much of a party.  Ha!

What is a Tea Party, you ask?  It's essentially a mingle.  Kind of like Find Your Partner, but this time, you can interact with anyone you encounter. 

In any event, this is how it plays out in the classroom:
  • Print, laminate, and cut out the information cards.
  • Give each student a card.
  • Set a time limit (2-4 minutes) and task students with reading their fact to as many classmates as they can in the allotted time.
  • Regroup and review the facts that the students learned.
I love this engagement strategy because it gets the kids moving, they enjoy it, and they are exposed to lots of great information and new vocabulary.

I like to "host" my tea parties at the start of a unit, as unit opener.  This allows the students to get some background knowledge, and it also allows for some good discussion.  Of course, one could host a tea party whenever they'd like!

Click the image below to grab a free copy of the newly updated tea party from Google Docs.  Enjoy!


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From Sad and Wimpy to Super and Strong

A few days ago, we worked on expanding sentences.  I was finding that as our focus in writing shifted from narrative to opinion, it was resulting in some less than stellar sentences. Their details were becoming short and choppy.  So, we spent a day reviewing how to expand our sentences by adding details such as who, what, when, where, why, or how.

I started out by reading the book The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear.  It's a simple, simple story, but sometimes those are the best stories to drive a point home.

After reading the story aloud, I wrote a few statements about it on the whiteboard.  My sentences were very simple and lacking detail.  We worked as a whole group to turn these sentences from sad and wimpy to super and strong.

The wimpy sentences are written in blue and our new and improved super, strong sentences are written in red.

Once we finished writing our improved sentences, I randomly pointed to the sentences and had the kids show me if it was wimpy or strong (they slumped down in their seats for the sad, wimpy ones, and showed off their muscles for the super, strong ones).  They loved this!

Then, I paired the students up and they used a set of task cards to create some super, strong sentences.

The sentences they were given were all very wimpy and lacking detail.  They worked with their buddy to add 1-2 pieces of information to each of the provided sentences.  They really enjoyed the activity and some of them have kept the concept in mind since then as they informed me that they wanted to write super, strong sentences in the writing project we started yesterday.

You can get a free copy of the task cards and the recording sheet by clicking either image below.

Font: Across the Hall in 2nd, Graphics: The Clipart Factory and Melonheadz



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