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SchoolFamily Voices

Join our bloggers as they share their experiences on the challenges and joys of helping children succeed in school.

Tens and Ones: An Easy Way To Remember Place Value

Young students should understand that, when looking at a two-digit number, the left number represents “10’s”, and the right number represents “1’s.” This is a critical math skill needed for subsequent math advancement.

Here is a simple way to help your child practice this concept. First practice counting by tens, to 100, until your child can easily and fluently do it herself (10, 20, 30, etc.).

Then follow these steps:

  • Take an 8 ½ x 11 inch paper and fold it, vertically, in the middle. You should have two equal columns. Trace the fold line, top to bottom, so the columns can clearly be seen.
  • On the top of the left column, print the word “tens” using all lowercase letters. 
  • On top of the right column, print the word “ones.”
  • Say the number 24 (as an example) to your child.
  • With a pencil, make two thin vertical rectangles, about an inch long, to represent two tens, in the left-hand tens column.
  • Make four small dots in the right-hand ones column, directly across from the two rectangles in the tens column.
  • Count the vertical rectangles by tens and count the dots by one. Help your child count the number using the rectangles and dots. Start with the tens column and move across to the ones column. “Ten, twenty, then twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four.”
  • After practicing a few different two-digit numbers together, say a two-digit number, and see if she can draw the rectangles and dots in the correct columns. Practice until she can easily show you the tens and ones in a two-digit number.


Knowing that two-digit numbers can be broken apart into tens and ones, then put back together, gives your child a deeper concept of how math operations work. Understanding place value goes beyond memorization and teaches the “why” of addition and subtraction.

 

> An Easy Game To Help Kids Practice Important Math Skills

> Improve Math Skills With a Deck of Cards

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Make Geometry a Part of Everyday Life

Geometric shapes are part of our everyday environment. Recognizing, understanding, and comparing different shapes are critical in advancing mathematical skills. These skills are first introduced in kindergarten and follow math curricula through high school. Here are some simple and fun activities to help your young student acquire these important skills, while providing visual and hands-on reinforcement. 

  • Look for geometric shapes in your home and in the real world. On a rainy day, go on a “shape hunt” in your home. Look for circles, rectangles, squares, and triangles.
  • When riding in the car, biking, or walking together look for shapes in the real world such as street signs, construction cones, wheels, etc. 

 

Let your child make two-dimensional shapes using straws and twist-ties that come in a pack with plastic bags. Use the kind of twist-ties that have a small wire piece covered in paper or plastic, and easily bend. Here’s how: 

  • To make a triangle, for example, she’ll need three straws and three twist-ties. In one end of a straw, put the twist-tie about halfway in and fold the other half into another straw to make the top point of a triangle. Continue until all three straws and ties are connected to form the triangle. Help her make the first shape, if necessary.
  • For a square, use four of the same size straws and four twist-ties to connect the four angles. Once a square is formed it can also be bent or angled to show a diamond shape.
  • For a rectangle, use three straws and four ties. Cut one straw in half to form the two shorter sides of a rectangle and connect with the ties.
  • To make a circle, use only a few twist-ties. Twist them together at the ends to make a line, then form into a circle and connect the last two ends. The size of the circle depends on the number of twist-ties used.


Connecting math skills to real world objects helps a young student understand that math is part of everyday life and is all around us!

 

> Make Math Part of Everyday Life

> Geometry Worksheets

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Play “Friends of 10” for Easy Math Practice

Understanding addition and subtraction and strategies involving the number 10 are crucial components of Common Core Math Standards. Easy recall of various ways to add and subtract 10 is also an important part of early math fluency.

“Friends of 10” is a simple game to help a young student practice these skills and have a little fun in the process.
You will need:

  • Either a plastic or paper plate. If you don’t have a plastic or paper plate handy, use a napkin or folded-over paper towel.
  • Ten small, somewhat flat and uniformly shaped objects. For example, 10 of the same coins, Cheerios, Lego rectangles, etc.

To play:

  • Lay the 10 objects on a table or counter top.
  • Have the student count the objects so he knows there are 10.
  • Ask him, “How many objects are here?” He answers “10.”
  • Cover the objects with the plate, or whatever cover you are using while he watches. Then ask, “How many are underneath?” He’ll answer, “10.”
  • Have him turn around and close his eyes. Take a few items out from under the cover and put those on top. For example, put three on top, leaving seven hidden.
  • Have him turn back around. Ask, “How many do you see on top?” He’ll say, “3.” Then ask, “If we started with 10, and you see three on top, how many are still hidden?” At first, he may have to count on fingers to get the answer.  The more you play, the more fluent he will become with all the different combinations of 10. 
  • Vary combinations of 10 each time you play.
  • Don’t forget to include zero. Try placing no objects on top, leaving 10 underneath or 10 objects on top for zero hidden.

 

If starting with 10 objects is difficult for your young child, you can begin with five objects for “Friends of Five.” Once “Friends of Five” is mastered increase the quantities, one object at a time, up to 10.

Young students love playing this game. It uses visual, auditory, and hands-on modalities to help all types of learners master the various combinations of 10!

 

> An Easy Game To Help Kids Practice Important Math Skills

> Improve Math Skills With a Deck of Cards

 

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You Can Be Good at Math, Too!

Most people feel strongly that they are either good at math or that they are terrible at it. They think that math ability is genetic and cannot be changed. An interesting new research study suggests that this might not be true.

Scientists tested students on a variety of math concepts. They tested some of the same concepts with number problems and word problems. Many times the students could work the problem if it was just a number problem, but they could not work it if it was in a word problem. The data also shows that there was not much correlation between various concepts in math. This means most people could easily work certain kinds of problems and not others.

Research like this often creates more questions than it answers. For example, why could a person work number problems but not word problems that require the exact same math concept? (Could difficulty with reading be the issue? Was it too much information to hold at one time in working memory? How can someone be good at working algebra but not geometry? Is it because the two types of math are really very different from one another? Is it because some underlying knowledge needed in the geometry is missing?) These questions are not specifically answered in the research, but it does offer some interesting findings.

The researchers feel their research gives hope to those who feel they are not good in math. Many students in their study could do some kinds of math but not others. The researchers believe this relates to how much time and practice the students had on the various concepts. They believe that most people can do well in math if given enough time to practice. They do not feel it relates to genetics. You are not born good at math; you get good at math with practice.

I suggest that students should keep practicing math problems from the various types of math. There are many apps available for free or very little money. Here is a review of five apps for middle school students, and here are some for upper school students. Find an app that is fun to use that keeps earlier math skills fresh. There is a good chance that you will become a better math student if you are willing to do some additional practice.

 

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Use Legos for Easy Math Practice

Colorful Legos have been a favorite of young children for a long time. They’ve also been a great holiday gift. Here’s a simple way to combine a classic toy, new or old, to practice Common Core math skills over vacation.

This game is for two players.
Materials needed:

  • Number cards 3 through 10 from a deck of playing cards, for a total of 8 cards (any mix of suites).
  • For each player, 10 rectangular interlocking Legos in two different colors of their choosing (for a total of 20 Legos each).


To play:

  • Shuffle the cards and place them face down.
  • First player turns over the top card and says the number—for example, “seven.”
  • Then that player interlocks some of their different colored Legos to show the number—for example, three red Legos and four yellow to make seven. The player says, “3 + 4 = 7.” An adult can help, if needed.
  • The second player uses her Legos to show seven in a different way: five blue and two green, “5 + 2 = 7.” Then each player disconnects the Legos and puts them back in their pile.
  • The second player turns over the next card that shows the numeral 4. She uses three blue and one green to equal four, and says the number sentence. The other player shows 4 by using two red and two yellow Legos and says their number sentence. The players disconnect and put Legos back in the correct color pile.
  • The game continues until all cards have been turned over and two different combinations of the number have been made.
  • If a round two is played, reshuffle the deck and place face down. When a new card is turned over, challenge players to make a different combination then they did in round one to represent the number shown.


This simple game helps children increase math fluency by understanding different combinations of 10. It also uses all modalities to cover how your child learns best. By seeing the number on the card, hearing the number spoken, and interlocking the Legos to show the number, your child will be learning through visual, auditory, and hands-on experience.

 

> Improve Math Skills With a Deck of Cards

> Use Pennies To Teach Common Core Math Skills

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A Simple Activity To Increase Number Fluency

Many young students easily adapt to the ABC’s and can quickly put letters in sequence, even when they are out of order. Mastering this concept helps students understand alphabetical order.

This doesn’t always happen with numbers, but knowing numeral sequence is a crucial skill for elementary students. Why? Because knowing the pattern of numbers and being able to easily retrieve numerical order helps children understand the concepts of greater than and less than, simple addition and subtraction, time lines, and many other necessary math skills.

Here’s a simple activity to help your young student practice number order:

You will need:

  • a package of unlined index cards
  • a black or other dark colored marker

Directions:

  • Take 11 of the index cards and print the numbers 0 through 10 on the cards with the marker.
  • Start simply. Place the 0 through 5 cards face up in random order. Have your child move and arrange the cards in sequence starting from the smallest (0) to the largest (5).
  • When she can easily do 0-5, place the 0-10 cards face up in random order and have her place them in sequence from smallest to largest.
  • Once 0-10 is easily mastered, make another set of cards from 11-20. Place those in random order and have her rearrange the cards from smallest to largest.
  • Keep making sets of cards, in increments of 10, until you have a 0-100 set.
  • Play frequently, using only 10 cards, from the 0-100 set, at a time.
  • To increase the difficulty and challenge your young student, start midway through a sequence, so she has to cross the “decade” (10, 20, 30, etc.). For example, randomly place cards 36 through 45 face up and have her move them in order from smallest to largest.

 

By playing and varying this fun activity, you’re helping your child recognize number order. This improves number fluency, which naturally leads to increased math comprehension!

 

> An Easy Way To Improve Math Fluency: Count Backward

> Improve Math Skills With a Deck of Cards

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Use Pennies To Teach Common Core Math Skills

Young children love pennies. So make them part of math comprehension. Use pennies to help young students practice math skills in a simple yet memorable way. Here are four easy ways to use pennies to help reinforce important Common Core math curriculum skills.

For preschool to kindergarten: Place pennies in a straight, horizontal row. Start with five across. Have your child point to the pennies as he counts them. This reinforces an important math skill called one-to-one correspondence. In other words, he’s actually saying what he’s seeing. Increase the pennies by one until he can easily point to and count 20 in a row.

For kindergarten and 1st grade: Use pennies to practice simple addition and subtraction while subtly incorporating word problems. For example, Mom gave Sarah five pennies. Her brother gave her seven more. How many does Sarah have in all?
Or, Kevin had 20 pennies. He bought an eraser at the school store. It costs 12 cents. How many pennies does he have left? Using the correct number of pennies to solve the equations helps your child visually understand what addition and subtraction mean.

For 1st and 2nd grade: Use groups of pennies to help your child determine even and odd numbers by “pairing up” by 2’s to show even number groups, and “one left over” to show an odd number group.
Also, use groups of pennies for skip counting. Start with a large pile of pennies. Have him put the pennies in groups of 2, 5, or 10 and skip count the small groups.
Use pennies to determine “difference” or “how much more, how much less?” This is a game for two players. You will need a pair of dice and a pile of pennies. The first player to roll the dice counts the dots then lines up that many pennies in a horizontal row. The second roller counts his dots and lines up his pennies directly underneath the first row, in alignment with the pennies above. The second player will either have more, fewer, or an equal amount of pennies. Then players determine who had more and how much more. Who had less and how much less?

 

Using pennies is a great hands-on way for young students to make “cents” of math!

 

> Improve Subtraction Skills With a Fun Pennies Game

> An Easy Game To Help Kids Practice Important Math Skills

 

 

 

 

 

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Helping Kids Connect Numbers to Words

Often young students have no trouble doing simple addition and subtraction number problems yet, have little understanding of what the numbers actually represent. Most 1st graders know that 2 + 2 = 4. However, when given those same numbers as word problems, they sometimes run into trouble. Adding word comprehension to an addition or subtraction sentence can significantly increase your child’s understanding of the connection between numbers and solving numerical word problems.

A number sentence might look like this:

  • 5 + 2 = 7  

 

A word problem would look like this:

  • Jack had 5 toy cars. Dad gave him 2 more. How many does he have now?
  • Megan had 6 balloons. 3 popped. How many does she have left?


A simple yet powerful way for parents to help children make connections between numbers and words is by adding a word “story” to a number problem when helping with homework or practicing math. For example, if a homework task is to find the answer to 8 - 3 = ? simply say, “Julie made 8 cookies. Her brother ate 3. How many cookies does Julie have left?” Have your child draw 8 small cookies, and then cross out the three that the brother ate to see how many are left.

Good mathematical skills are dependent upon understanding what numbers represent. Making connections between numbers and words helps children visualize meaning and deepen their math comprehension.

 

> Improve Math Skills With a Deck of Cards

> An Easy Game To Help Kids Practice Important Math Skills

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Activities To Help Kindergartners Understand Numbers

Two Common Core math skills that your kindergarten child will be required to know by the end of the school year are:

  • Count to 100 by ones and tens
  • Counting forward within the known sequence (instead of having to always start at 1)

 

Here are three simple activities that you can do with your kindergartener throughout the school year to practice and easily make these skills automatic. Many young students can count by rote, but have no concept of what the numbers mean. By practicing number sequence and “counting on” from any given number, you can help your kindergarten student understand the relationship between numbers and quantity.

  • A great way to practice counting, while reinforcing what the actual number represents, is to use pennies. Start simply, by having him put 10 pennies in a row. Have him start counting, left to right, by using his index finger to point to the space right before the first penny and say “zero.” Then point to the pennies while counting 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. When he can easily do that, increase the pennies by 10 to make a second row. Have him start at the 0 space and continue 1 through 20. Keep adding rows of 10 until he can easily count from 0 to 100. Always including the zero space helps him understand that the number 0 represents no object.
  • Use the pennies to help count by tens as well. Once he can count one-to-one and 0 to 20, start have him practice saying “10, 20” while looking at the two complete rows. After counting by ones for each new row, have him practice counting by tens as well, until he can easily say 10, 20, 30, 40 …to 100.
  • Counting forward within the known sequence simply means “counting on” from any beginning number. First, help him practice orally counting 0 to 20 in correct sequence. When he’s mastered this, start with the number 5, for example, and have him continue on with 6, 7, 8, etc. to 20.
  • Once he can easily count forward to 20, from any starting number, increase the difficulty by 10 (0-30 then 0-40, etc.). Do this until he can start at any pervious number and count forward to 100.

 

> Kindergarten Math: The Common Core Standards and 4 Geometry Activities

> More Tips for Kindergarten Readiness

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Improve Subtraction Skills With a Fun Pennies Game

An interesting yet easy game to enrich “mental math” subtraction skills is “Penny Hide and Seek.” It uses visual and hands-on practice to help young children quickly and easily remember simple subtraction facts. This aligns with Common Core State Standards, and can be played just about anywhere!

You will need:

  • Five pennies
  • A paper plate

To play:

  • Have your child count the five pennies, and put them in a row.
  • Cover the five pennies with the paper plate.
  • Ask, “How many pennies are under the plate?” Your child will answer “5.”
  • Say, “That’s right.” Then ask him to close his eyes and turn away.
  • Remove two pennies from under the plate, and put them on top. Leave the rest under the plate.
  • Ask him to open his eyes and look at the plate. “How many pennies do you see on top?” He’ll say “2.” Then say, “I moved two on top. We started with five, so how many are still hiding under the plate?”
  • When he says “3,” say the subtraction sentence—5 - 2 = 3—and have him repeat it.

 

Repeat often with different combinations of 5. For example, put four pennies on top and leave one under the plate for 5 - 4 = 1.

Don’t forget to practice the zero fact also. Have your child hide her eyes and put all five pennies on top, so there are zero pennies under the plate for 5 - 5 = 0. Turn the facts around. Put none on top for 5 - 0 = 5.

Once she has easily mastered all the “5” subtraction facts, start the game with six pennies. Keep increasing pennies, by one, until she can easily do all the combinations to 10, and eventually to 20.

This kind of math practice gets your child thinking about numbers in a concrete and versatile way, and puts the “fun” in math fundamentals!

 

> Math Games To Keep Skills Sharp in Summer

> An Easy Way To Improve Math Fluency: Count Backward

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A Fun “Mental Math” Addition Game for Summer (or Anytime)

Summer is a great time to practice improving “mental math” skills through games. The "Counting On" game is a great activity that uses visual, auditory, and hands-on techniques to help your child instantly solve addition within the numbers 1-10. This falls neatly in line with Common Core State Standards, and can be played indoors or outdoors, rain or shine!

The “Counting On” strategy helps a young child count forward from an existing number to arrive at solutions faster. Often, when young students are asked to solve a problem, they go back and start at “one. “ For example, if asked “What is 5 + 3?” a child will put up five fingers on one hand, three on the other, and count from one to five then six, seven, and eight, and say “eight” to answer the question. The “Counting On” game teaches a child to start from a specific number, and “count on” for a solution.

Tools needed:

  • A few large, sturdy paper or plastic cups, a dark permanent marker, and 10 pennies.

To play:

  • Take one cup. With the permanent marker, write the number 3 on the outside of the cup.
  • Ask your child to drop three of the pennies into the cup. Then ask “How many are in the cup?” He’ll say three.
  • Have him close his eyes. Then you say, “We know there are three pennies in the cup, now listen while I add more.”
  • Slowly drop two more pennies into the cup. Then ask, “How many pennies are in the cup now?” If he says there are five, say, “That’s right: 3 + 2 = 5.”
  • Take out the two pennies that were added, so you’re back to three pennies in the cup.
  • Have him listen again as you drop different additions to “3.” For example, as he listens, drop four more pennies to make a total of seven.
  • You can write on other cups, to start with different base numbers.
  • When your child can easily “count on” different combinations of 10, increase the difficulty to totals of 15 pennies, then 20.

 

The faster young students can use “mental math” to solve addition problems, the better they will understand good problem-solving strategies. Check back next week for an easy “mental math” subtraction activity!

 

> Hands-on Math Games

> An Easy Game To Help Kids Practice Important Math Skills

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An Easy Way To Improve Math Fluency: Count Backward

Parents are well aware of the importance of reading fluency. However, early math fluency is equally crucial. Simply put, math fluency means fast and automatic retrieval of math facts from memory.

For young students it should be as simple as knowing the number that comes “right after,” or the one that comes “right before.” For example, if a child sees a card with the number 22, he should immediately be able to say 23 comes right after, and 21 comes right before.
Students are usually quite good at getting the number that comes right after, but often falter when asked for the number right before.

A simple way a child can become more fluent for the number right before is counting backward!

Here’s how to practice:

  • Always count over multiples of 10. By this I mean counting backward over 10, 20, 30, etc. Counting backward over multiples of 10 tends to be more challenging.
  • For a kindergarten child start with 15 and count backward to 0. When she does that with ease, start with 21 and go backward to 0, and so on.
  • For a 1st grade student, start counting backward from 25 to 0. When that is easily mastered, start in the high thirties (39, for example) and count back to 0.
  • Increase to a higher start number each time your child easily masters the lower numbers you’ve been practicing. The ultimate goal, for early elementary students, is fluent backward counting from 100 to 0.
  • Try counting down before giving her a treat, when traveling, or anytime you have a few extra minutes with your child.

 

Practicing this simple activity with your young student can be invaluable in promoting number fluency.

> Don't Let Language Confuse Young Math Students

> Improve Math Skills With a Deck of Cards

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Don’t Let Language Confuse Young Math Students

When teaching the value of double-digit numbers in my classroom, I noticed that my students often became confused with 11, 12, and the rest of the -teen numbers. This was a puzzle to me, and I was determined to solve it. After research and applying what I know about how young students learn, I realized this was not a numbers problem—it was a language problem!

In various languages around the world, there are simple words for -teen numbers. Eleven translated is 10/1, twelve is 10/2, thirteen is 10/3, etc. The numbers continue, 21, 22, 23—all the way to 99— just as in English. This was an “aha” moment for me! Counting easily from one to 10, then having to switch to “-teen” counting, was confusing my young students.

Young learners are very literal. They didn’t understand the concept of 13, but could easily understand that 10/3 meant one set of 10 and 3 more. It was a simple change that made a big difference in their understanding of the “-teen” numbers!

So I started teaching the numbers between 10 and 20 in tandem. Students practiced, understanding that another way to say 11 was 10/1, twelve 10/2, thirteen 10/3, and so on.

Now, when teaching the numbers 11-19, I always teach them in tandem. Young children love to be able to say “another way to say 15 is 10/5!”

This is something that parents can easily do at home, to help young students overcome this mathematical English language issue.

 

> Articles archive: building math skills at home

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A Fun Memory Game To Help Build Confidence

Does your child have difficulty remembering school lessons, homework assignments, spelling words, etc.? Her memory is probably just fine, and you can help her it prove to herself by teaching her how to play a fun memory game.

Children are typically much better at this game than adults. Once your child understands the game, he can challenge any adult in the family, and will usually win every time! Confidence in memory skills can be a great help with completing and understanding school work.

All that’s needed is a deck of playing cards and two players.

Here’s how to play:

  • From the deck, take out all the cards of one particular suit (for example, all spade cards including ace, king, queen, and jack for a total of 13). Shuffle them, and place them facedown on a table in three columns, four across, with a lone card at the bottom.
  • From the remaining cards in the deck, take out all cards of another suit (all heart cards, including the ace, king, queen, and jack), shuffle them, and form a small deck which is kept in a pile, facedown.
  • Put away all remaining cards.
  • Take turns selecting cards from the top of the small deck. Then select and turn over just one table card, trying to find a match (a ten of hearts from the small deck must match a ten of spades, etc). Both players get to see both cards. If it’s a match, the winner gets to keep the cards. If it’s not a match the table card is put back, facedown, in exactly the same spot on the table. The unmatched deck card goes to the bottom of the deck.
  • Since both players get to see the overturned table cards, an important aspect of this game is remembering the exact location of the table cards when they are put back, facedown.
  • The game continues until all cards are matched. Whoever has the most cards at the end wins.

This game is great fun, and will convince any child that she has a wonderful memory!

 

> Hands-on Math Games: A Fun Way To Improve Skills

> Improve Math Skills With a Deck of Cards

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An Easy Game To Help Kids Practice Important Math Skills

Games are an easy and fun way to practice important Common Core math skills. A good math skill for kindergarten and 1st grade students to know is different ways to get sums of numbers from 3 to 10.

Here is a simple, hands-on activity to help your young student practice and remember different addition combinations up to 10.

You’ll need:

  • A package of large index cards or 8 ½ x 11” computer paper, cut in half horizontally
  • Ten small objects, such as pennies, small board game pieces, etc.
  • A dark-colored marker

To get ready:

  • Take eight cards or half pieces of paper
  • In the middle of the card, the write one number, from 3-10 with the marker
  • Use one card for each number
  • The number should be written in the center of the card, from top to bottom. Space is left on either side of the number, for placement of the small object

To play:

  • Shuffle the cards and put them face down on a flat surface
  • The child turns over one card, so he sees the number. Have him use the small objects to show ways to get that number. For example, if he turns over a 6, he can put three pennies on the left side of the number and three on the right
  • Say, “That’s right! 3 + 3 = 6. Now show me another way to get 6.”
  • Then have him move the pennies to show another way—for example, two on the left side of the number and four on the right. Have him keep showing different ways, until he has shown all combinations of 6  (0 + 6, 1 + 5, 2 + 4, 3 + 3, 4 +2, 5 +1, and 6 + 0).
  • If needed, help him to show different combinations, until he can do them on his own.

 

Kindergarten students can also enjoy this game. Start with the numbers 3 through 6 until she is comfortable with these combinations. Then, add cards 7-10, one at a time. For 1st grade students, use all eight cards.

Play this game often to help your child develop strategies to automatically recall and understand different ways of making sums to 10!

> Improve Math Skills With a Deck of Cards

> Printable Math Activities

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Improve Math Skills With a Deck of Cards

Looking for a quick, fun activity to help young students improve math skills? Start with a deck of playing cards!

Here is a simple, engaging, and fun game to increase your child’s mental math ability. Children in kindergarten through 2nd grade in particular enjoy this game.

Right Before and Right After

This game can be played with two to four players.

  • Remove all face cards from the deck, and use the Ace as number 1.
  • Shuffle the deck and put it in a pile between players, numbers down.
  • One player turns over the top card. She reads the number, then has to tell the number that comes right “before” and right “after.” For example, if she turns over an 8, she says “8,” then “7 comes before 8, and 9 comes after.”
  • If all three numbers are correct, she keeps the card. If not, the card goes off to the side. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
  • To increase the difficulty for older students, have the player pick two cards from the top of the pile, add them together to determine the sum, and then tell the number that comes before and after the sum. For example, he picks a 3 and a 9. The sum is 12. Before 12 is 11 and right after is 13.
  • Once two cards are easily mastered, try the game with three.

 

This game helps a child learn the important concept of “one more, one less.” Using mental strategies to quickly solve math calculations increases a child’s number sense and confidence. As well, mental math strategies are highly encouraged in Common Core State Standards.

> Kindergarten Math Activities

> Printable Math Activities

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A Fun Game To Learn Addition and Subtraction

Understanding addition and subtraction within the number 20 is a First Grade Common Core goal. Here is an easy and fun way to help your child practice these skills to increase math fluency.  

Start with addition, until she can easily add the numbers. Then, move on to subtraction. This simple activity is for two players. This could be you and your child, your first grade child with an older sibling, or two first graders.

 

All you will need is:

A pair of dice for each player

A flat playing surface  

 

Directions for addition:

One player rolls the dice and adds the dots for the total number

The next player does the same

The player with the highest total wins

Have your child pay attention to all “doubles” that are rolled, to easily learn double facts. (1+1, 2+2, 3+3, etc.)

 

Directions for subtraction:

One player rolls the dice and adds the dots and says the total

The second player takes one die away saying, for example, “You had 8 dots.  I took away 5 dots. How many dots are left?  Then say the entire number sentence 8-5=3.

Once he can easily do addition and subtraction with two dice, increase the difficulty. Use three dice for each player, for a maximum total of 18 that can be rolled.

For a younger child use one die for each player and compare which player has more, and how much more. For example, if you roll a six and she rolls a four, you have two more that she has. Conversely, roll to determine who has less, and how much less. 

Comparing numbers and easily adding and subtracting to 10 and 20 can help your child understand the important relationship between addition and subtraction.

 

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1st Grade, 2nd Grade End-of-Year Academic Checklist

If you're the parent of a child completing 1st or 2nd grade, how do you know if your child has mastered the skills necessary for moving up to the next grade? The following academic checklist can help. While it isn't a comprehensive listing of all that is covered in 1st and 2nd grades, it highlights 12 major academic standards that your child should meet by the end of these grades. (For an academic checklist for preschoolers and kindergartners, see Preschool, Kindergarten End-of-the-Year Academic Checklist).

 

 

1st Grade Academics: By the end of 1st grade your child should:

  • Be able to read grade-level text accurately and fluently
  • Understand what she has just read
  • Know the difference between fiction and non-fiction texts
  • Apply known skills to sounding out new and unfamiliar words
  • Be able to use a dictionary or other reference aids
  • Be able to write simple stories that have a beginning, middle, and end
  • Count to 100 forward and backward
  • Skip count by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s forward and backward
  • Complete simple two-digit addition and subtraction (no borrowing)
  • Understand and solve simple word problems
  • Tell and write time to the hour and half-hour, on both analogical and digital clocks
  • Be able to divide objects into two or four equal parts
 

2nd Grade Academics: By the end of 2nd grade your child should:

  • Read on-level texts with purpose and understanding
  • Read a variety of genres including fiction, poetry, informational texts, history, social studies and science. 
  • Ask and answer the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” questions to show understanding of key details.
  • Be able to show evidence from the text to support ideas
  • Write an opinion story, supplying reasons that support the opinion
  • Use temporal words when writing (first, next, then, last, etc.)
  • Determine the meaning of unknown words based on the content of the story
  • Understand three digit numbers (For example, knowing that 367 means 3 hundreds, 6 tens, and 7 ones)
  • Count within 1,000; skip count by 5’s, 10’s, and 100’s
  • Tell and write time within 5-minute intervals on both digital and analog clocks
  • Solve word problems involving dollars bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies
  • Represent and interpret data, such as bar graphs and picture graphs

 

These skills are usually sequential, and allow students to build new skills on ones already mastered. The skills found above are from the Common Core Standards that have been adapted by 48 of our 50 states.

 

 

 

 

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Have Kids Roll the Dice to Learn Place Value

Most kindergarten and 1st grade students can easily understand single-digit numbers (0-9.)

However, knowing double-digit numbers, from 10-99, often is confusing to young math students. 

Understanding “place value” is a key mathematical skill. Place value simply means the position of the numeral in a two or more digit number, and how the position of the numeral affects the overall value.

It helps a child know the difference between a “13” and a “31,” for example. In kindergarten, the focus is on double-digit value or the “ones” place and the “tens” place. By the end of 1st grade, place value is extended to three-digit numbers, or the “ones,” “tens,” and “hundreds” place(s).

Here’s an easy and fun activity to help your child understand place value when creating two-digit numbers. You will need a pair of dice, a pencil, and a piece of paper.

 

Directions

  • Fold the paper in half, lengthwise. Write “Tens Place” at the top of the left hand column, and “Ones Place” at the top of the right hand column.
  • Have your child roll the dice.  If she rolls a “5” and a “2” ask, “What is the smallest number you can make using those two digits? (25) “What’s the largest number you can make using the “5” and “2?” (52)                    
  • Have her write the 25, with the “2” in the “tens” place column and the “5” in the “ones” place column.  Then, write the 52 with the “5” in the “tens “ place and the “2” in the “ones” place. Keep rolling to see how many different combinations can be made.

 

Children love this game! Roll the dice and play often to help your child easily understand the structure and value of two-digit numbers.

When she’s easily mastered the two-digit numbers increase the difficulty. Fold the paper in thirds, lengthwise. Label the columns “Hundreds Place” on the left, “Tens Place” in the middle, and “Ones Place” on the right. Play with three dice to create the smallest and largest three-digit numbers.

 

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Kindergarten Math: The Common Core Standards and 4 Geometry Activities

Math being taught in kindergarten classrooms today includes geometry as children learn about different geometric shapes.

This is due to the establishment of the Common Core Standards for Education, which was developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

These standards affect both English and math curricula. The Common Core Standards are specific, purposeful instruction to promote student understanding and achievement in grades kindergarten through 12.

Simply put, the Standards are the way to ensure that American students will have access to a quality, equitable education.

In kindergarten, an important element of the Common Core Standards for Mathematics is the recognition of geometric shapes, and how they relate to the physical world. The ability to identify, name, and describe 2- and 3-dimensional shapes, in kindergarten, is a distinct advantage in understanding math concepts.

Some examples of 2-dimensional shapes are circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, hexagons, and a rhombus (diamond shape.) Some examples of 3-dimensional shapes are cones, cylinders, cubes, and spheres. Have your child learn some of these shapes by using SchoolFamily.com's Geometry Printables.

In addition, here are 4 easy activities to help your kindergarten child understand and make connections to these math shapes:

  • Purchase an inexpensive Hula Hoop. Use this as a large circle for spatial games. In the back yard, lay the Hula Hoop flat. Help your child practice moving inside, outside, above, below, beside, and near the hoop.  Have him practice until he can easily follow the spatial direction. For fun, let him practice the correct spatial words by giving you directions to move about the hoop!
  • Use Play-Doh, rolled into long “snakes.” Form the snakes into circles, squares, triangles, etc. Talk about the shapes that have “corners and sides.” Talk about what makes some shapes different, and what makes some shapes alike.
  • Build shapes, with sides and corners using Popsicle sticks. Glue them to 8 pieces of ½”x 11” colored construction paper. Print the words naming the shapes on the bottom of the paper. Be sure to use lowercase letters. To construct a circle, run a steady bead of glue around the middle of a piece of construction paper, giving the circle about a 5” diameter. Cut a piece of yarn or string and set it on the glue circle. Let it dry thoroughly overnight.  Hang up all the different-shaped papers in your child’s room, where she can easily see and reference them.
  • Go on a three dimensional shape “hunt” in your house. Look for tennis or soccer balls (spheres,) sealed soup, tuna or other cans (cylinders,) and cones and cubes. Offer a treat, sticker, or some other reward for each shape found!

Knowing geometric shapes can help your young child better understand his physical world—and be on the right track in kindergarten math.

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