SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Hands-On Math Games; A Fun Way to Improve Skills

Math games are a great way to practice skills and allow your child to visualize abstract concepts. For these two games you will need a deck of cards, and a pair of dice.

  • Start with twenty-five cards from the deck and one die. Place the cards face down in a pile. Roll the die. If you rolled a “four” take four cards from the pile. Next person rolls and takes that number of cards from the pile. Game is over when all twenty-five cards are gone. Winner is the one with the most cards. You may have to help your child count their cards. To vary the game, substitute twenty-five pennies for the cards. Count coins to determine the winner. To increase the difficulty use the whole deck of cards and two dice. Add the dots on the dice to determine how many cards are taken.  This game reinforces one-to-one correspondence. (One of my Triangle Base Skills.)

  • Remove the sixteen face cards from a deck of cards. Use the remaining number cards to play “War.” Put the pile face down between two players. Take turns turning over a card. The card with the higher value wins both cards. If you both turn over a card with the same value, go again. The winner then takes all four cards. Game is over when all the cards in the deck are gone. The winner is the one with the most cards in their pile. You may have to help your child count their cards at the end of the game. This game is a valuable tool in teaching the concept of “greater than and less than.”
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#2 mary booth 2009-10-24 17:54
I really like the site Connie and your math ideas are great. I'll share the site info with my friends who are teaching.
#1 susan bielan 2009-10-24 00:30
played this with my 2nd grader and he loved it

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