Monday, December 7, 2015

Math Tip Monday: Ways to Keep Math Meaningful... and a FREEBIE!

K's Classroom Kreations and I would like to thank you for joining us for another edition of Math Tip Monday!

Wow! I can't believe it's already December!

Wait, I take that back. The way my kids have been acting, I definitely know it's December!

Are your kids as crazy as mine are?

Keeping kids on track during the holidays can be difficult. So much excitement. So many interruptions. Rehearsals, programs, holiday can get pretty crazy.

Unfortunately, I can't just stop teaching and do stuff that's just for fun. I have to keep teaching the curriculum. Our school pacing guide doesn't allow time for much holiday fun. Math still must be taught. Rigor must be maintained. Assessment must continue to guide instruction.

My math time is in the afternoon, so I already have a hard time keeping the kids focused during math instruction. When holiday time rolls around, I have to pull out every trick in the book to keep them engaged.

One of the ways I encourage engagement is to design activities that, while they continue to teach concepts, also incorporate holiday themes.  This week, we will be playing 120 Race in one of our math centers. I've designed a couple of winter-themed 120 charts for my students to use to play the game.

The game is easy to play.  Students use two dice, two different colored counters or game pieces, and the 120 charts to play. Each player takes turns rolling the dice and moving their game piece the appropriate number of spots. After each move, the players must tell each other how much farther they have to go before they get to 120.  Once a player gets close to 100, s/he may switch to using just one die. Players must land on 120 in order to win.

In our latest math unit, we've been reviewing skip counting and learning strategies for repeated addition. We are also building on the place value concepts students learned in first grade and earlier this year. I've found that many of the students in my class really need some extra practice with these skills. For morning work this week, we will be using 120 charts to practice locating and writing numbers that are missing from a 120 chart.

You can get a FREE set of these Winter Theme One Hundred Twenty Charts in my store.

For our math talks, we're continuing our focus on problem solving. However, this time of year, I try to make the problems engaging by connecting them to students and their experiences. Here's an example:

I've found that kids love seeing their own names in the story problems. They also like solving problems that are relevant to their own lives. Little things really matter when it comes to getting and keeping the attention of a group of second graders!

I hope you find these ideas helpful with your busy class.

How do you keep your kids engaged in math activities this time of year? Please share in the comments.

Don't forget to check out the other great ideas from my fellow bloggers below.

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