Merry Day After


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Math is Elementary!
I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas celebration with family and friends.


Fun With Fractions

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

This year with having to go to school the week before Christmas we are able to cover our first chapter of fraction work prior to our vacation. My math workstations for the three weeks of December are filled with wonderful holiday-themed activities to practice the four operations, money, place value and time. I won't be pulling out the fraction activities until January, but still need some hands-on practice now. I decided to put together this little activity for partner work and tried it out with one of my classes this week. As luck would have it, my principal walked in for my informal observation that morning! Our district uses Marzano; informal observations are NOT on our chosen element but on any other elements observed. My kids rocked during this lesson! She evaluated me on 4 elements, and everything to look for was seen. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?!

I divided the class into groups of two and gave each pair a baggie with a problem card and some construction paper cookies. They were instructed to discuss possible solutions with their partner (at least two different ways to divide the cookies equally), then choose one and cut the cookies to go in each box on their paper. I moved around the room, discussing their solutions and approving their choice before they glued their cookies into the boxes. Here are a few samples of their work:


The kids were completely engaged in this activity, and there was great math conversation going on between the partners. I'd love for you to download the activity and try it out. Please let me know how it works for you.

click the picture to download from my TpT store


Silence for Sandy Hook



Place Value Freebie!

Freebie Fridays

Yes, still working with place value! My 3rd grade intervention group needs constant work with "numbers and operations" skills, and my own class needs review. For fun, I have tried to fill up my math stations for the next three weeks with holiday themed activities, so I decided we need a seasonal place value activity. If you have used my Place Value at the Beach pack you will recognize this -- I pulled out just the third grade section, changed the pictures, and have it ready to go.

Just click the picture to download, and enjoy!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Black Friday Shopping

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Personally, I have loved taking a break from school! I tried not to spend too much time working on school - related projects, but I did get my lesson plans done for the next 4 weeks AND created a new product for my TpT and TN stores.

A few weeks ago one of my kiddos asked when we would get to the money unit in math class; I had to tell him that we won't. While we don't teach money in third, our students are expected to be able to use money in math problems. The only practice they get in our curriculum is a few problems in our spiral review, so I decided to make sure we get some practice at our math work stations.

I know a lot of time and energy the next few weeks will be spent thinking about Christmas - especially potential gifts - so I created a little Black Friday activity to practice adding money.

Click on the picture to go to my TpT store. Don't forget about the big sale on Monday and Tuesday!

The Teacher's Notebook sale is already underway. Click here for TN.


Teacher's Notebook Sale

Another great sale going on at Teachers Notebook! Check it out by clicking the picture.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Whether you had all week off from school, like me, or have a nice 4 day weekend I wish you a wonderful time with family, food, and fun! And when we all get back to work next week, don't forget the big TpT sale on Cyber Monday!

My products are on sale for 20% off, plus you can use the Promo Code for even more savings! Happy shopping!


New Multiplication Game

When I started my blog at the end of May, I decided that for the first year almost every product I made would be offered as a freebie. Until now, I have added only two paid items to my TpT store. I use so many wonderful free ideas from my colleagues that I wanted to give back. I appreciate all my wonderful followers, and hope that you have found things on this blog that have helped you in your own classroom.

I have just posted my 3rd paid item to my store! My third graders will work on multiplication facts for all the rest of this school year, so I created two complete sets (2s through 10s) of cards for Go Fish style games. One has a Thanksgiving theme, the other a Christmas theme. They are bundled together as one packet. You can click on any of the pictures to go directly to the item in my store.


Fun and Games

My 3rd graders are always excited when we begin multiplication. Their favorite fact -- 12 x 12 = 144! They may not understand anything about multiplying, but they know that one :) Our state standards don't include memorizing the facts in 3rd grade, but they are always motivated to get as many as possible learned. I focus on helping them understand the math, including many strategies for solving multiplication problems. However, I definitely want to tap into their desire to "know their times tables."

Favorite work station activities are always games, so I keep multiplication games out right on through the year. I've found that they love to play "go fish" type games, so I put together this set of cards covering the 2s, 3s, and 4s. I was thrilled to find that my newest student, who speaks no English, can participate in this game! He doesn't always know the English for the number, but we are able to translate his Spanish and give him the words. He's only been here two weeks but is trying hard and he can count in English -- but not necessarily put the words with the right numbers.

click to download

This is a free sample from a much larger set of cards I'm working on. I hope you enjoy using it in your classroom.


Do you use glyphs in your classroom? My students have enjoyed them in the past few weeks, as they have learned how to use a glyph to display data about themselves. I want to share a couple of my favorite resources for glyphs.

Both books are from Scholastic, and include everything you need for your students to create a glyph. I do one with the whole group first -- this year we did and autumn tree picture together -- by displaying the legend on my document camera and answering the questions one by one. After that, I put subsequent glyphs into my math work stations. Over the past couple weeks my students have been making a scarecrow. They love having a hands-on activity like this, and I've heard a lot of great discussion as they answer the questions on the legend sheet. I've noticed them asking each other if they don't understand something, rather than immediately running to me -- a huge step for them! 


Here in Florida third grade includes high-stakes testing, and it seems like there is no time for fun, seasonal activities. I love doing glyphs because they provide that for my students while giving them practice displaying data -- one of our benchmarks!


Filling Buckets

I finally took time last week to get my bucket filling program up and running! I've done this for the past three years, and my kids always enjoy it. Last year my principal decided the whole school needed to do this, so she got these cute little buckets for our students.

I always start with this great book. My third graders love it, and we have lots of good discussion about the difference between bucket filling and bucket dipping.

I find that when we get started, it helps to give the students a little note to use. Somehow, just a little bucket graphic seems to get them on the right track! Once they get more comfortable with writing positive comments to their classmates they usually just use their own paper. Here is the note I've used the last couple years -- click to download it for yourself.

After we have made filling buckets part of our daily lives, I like to read this book with the students:

What do you do to build community in your classroom?


Let's Scoot!

I'm teaching the 3rd grade math intervention group at the end of the school day. We have been working on using place value strategies, and for the coming week I wanted a review game to help pull things together. I put together this little Scoot game with just 12 cards (the number of intervention students). If you are a Scoot fan, keep an eye on my blog, 'cause this is part of a bigger game I'm working on. In the meantime, this could be a math workstation or a teacher station activity. Click the picture to grab a copy for yourself.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


Falling Into Multiplication

My 3rd graders have been so excited to be starting multiplication recently. They keep asking for a multiplication work station, but we haven't progressed far enough to use the great activities I have. Consequently, I decided to create a "starter" activity for them. This little matching game used the factors we have covered so far -- 2, 4, 1 and 0. And because I grew up in Vermont and now live in Florida, I get a little nostalgic for fall foliage at this time of year and decided to put some pretty leaves into my product!

Please click on the picture to download this freebie. And by the way, this is the first product I'll be sharing as a new blogger at Classroom Freebies Too! I'm so excited to have the opportunity to write for a site that I've been reading every day for months. If you are not a follower of that fantastic site, click the button on the right side of my blog and check it out.


Our Current Read-Aloud with a Freebie

Here in Florida we have our own awards for children's books - the Sunshine State Young Reader Awards. It's a motivational program for grades 3 - 8. For the last few years I have chosen my classroom read-alouds from the annual list. Each summer I read all the books on the list so that I can choose just the right ones for my class. So far this year I have read these two books:


My kids absolutely loved both of them; they are both very funny and they are short books which meant we were able to read both within the first weeks of school.

We are currently reading "Guinea Dog" by Patrick Jennings. It's the story of Rufus, who wants a dog of his own. His Dad is adamantly opposed -- with a long list of reasons why not that will have your students practically rolling on the floor (let's just say "poop" is mentioned quite a few times!). His mom, who thinks outside the box, buys him a guinea pig instead. "Fido" is apparently no ordinary guinea pig, though. In fact, she seems to think she's a dog!

I created a little booklet for my students to use as we read the story, and would love to share it with you. This is a great book that your kids will enjoy; if you use it please let me know how it goes! You can download the booklet here.


Happy Birthday!

Do you celebrate birthdays in your classroom? At my school the birthday kids get to go on TV during announcements and have their special day announced, which they love. Sometimes parents will send in a treat for the class and students will share it at lunch.

With the economic difficulties most of my families deal with (my students all have free or reduced lunch) there are not so many birthday treats at school. A couple years ago I decided to do something to make birthdays special for my students, and the Birthday in a Bag was born!

Now we celebrate on the last Friday of each month for anyone who has had a birthday during the month. I bring in a cake or cupcakes, we sing and enjoy a little celebration. The bag makes it seem really special for the kids.

Pretty much everything is from the Dollar Store. We have a centerpiece,

some birthday hats,

a small bag with a few items from the prize box (the birthday kid chooses an item),

some festive plates,

and voila!

I even made a cake plate from a candle holder and a plastic plate (both from the Dollar Tree)

And one more thing -- the birthday boys and girls get a card from me that includes a homework pass, good for one "no homework" night! Here's a free one to download (click the picture).

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


Place Value Freebie

Freebie Fridays

Many of us teach place value early in the year. Here is a fun way to review - Place Value I Have, Who Has. Just click the picture to grab a copy.

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