Thursday, August 16, 2012

Math Centers and Intervention

The Common Core has got us all thinking through smaller lenses in math; we aren't used to thinking in strands and breaking them down into manageable elements. I am so excited as states start to roll out expectations for the Common Core in math. Here it is, the expectations spelled out for us in detail.

We use Everyday Math; the newest version is aligned to the common core, so we are lucky in our district. As a math committee, we have been breaking down the units and lessons - "unpacking" they call it. It's been like seeing this overwhelming picture broken into puzzle pieces. We can see and appreciate each small piece as it fits into the whole.

Give me a "heck YEAH!" Let's saddle up those ponies and race out into the frontier. We have a map now to help us see where we are going.

There was so much good information and inspiration at the RtI conference I attended last week in Lake Geneva. One of the biggest "a-ha"s I had was the need for students to have a deep and foundational understanding of the numbers 1-10 (let's just let zero rest for a minute). In order to do higher level operations, kids need to have  good fact fluency. One of the ways to strengthen the relational understanding of numbers (and in turn fire up that fluency) is to play with them, and play with them hard. Take those numbers out and explore them with activities, games and videos. Before asking kids to memorize what 8+8 is, make sure they know what numbers add up to 10 (I call this "making 10"). If they know that 8 + 2 = 10, they can jump to the idea that 2 needs 6 more to make 8, so if they add 6 to 10 they have 16.

It's an amazing thing to watch kids do this. Check out this video of kids doing mental math from Singapore math. Think it's impossible? I've seen kids do it here, too. How do we get them to this level? A deep understanding of making tens and place value.

I just love this. It makes me all tingly inside.

A little extra time each day devoted to making 10 can make an enormous difference.  This is a great opportunity to hit it hard with math centers; the learning is purposeful and goes deep.

I created this math kit with that spirit in mind.

There are activities with ten-frames...

Math stories....

Counting-on games...

and Flip cards...

To reinforce each of these activities is a short and fun video. There are a total of 4; to sneak a peek visit my facebook page. I have a little giveaway going with comments for the video.

Here's the snag in this item: because the files were just over the maximum file size I had to split the kit into 2 parts. I halfed the cost for each part of the it, so you are paying the correct whole amount when you purchase both halfs.  Go here for part 1, and here for part 2

What are you doing this year to strengthen math fact fluency? I want to hear about it! 


  1. Heather, my friend! I just realized you are a "no-reply" blogger. I can't even tell you how many reply emails I have probably sent you from my blog and I'm just now figuring this out. *shakes head* Silly me. Anywhoo... if you want to fix that so I can harass you through email, Lori @ Teaching with Love and Laughter has great instructions on how to remedy the situation. No pressure! :)


    1. Amanda, I was going to tell Heather the same thing! I wanted to send her some cute little mustached owls, but I can't because she is a "no-reply" blogger. I think she is missing out on a lot of behind the scenes kind of fun!!
      Owl Things First

    2. Heather, these are too cute! I want them. I must have them. I'm going to pin them and make them very popular!!
      Owl Things First

    3. Oh my gosh, girls! I didn't even know such a thing was possible. I've been checking my comments and try to get to them all, but this will be so much easier! Thank you THANK YOU!!!

      (And now you can send me those owls, Jennifer!)


    4. Mustache owls?! How do I get my hands on some of those?

      The Teaching Thief