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Skip Counting and Learning How to Multiply

Most elementary teachers use a Hundreds Board in their classroom.  It can be used for introducing number patterns, sequencing, place value and more. Students can look for counting-by (multiplication) patterns. Colored disks, pinto beans or just coloring the squares with crayons or colored pencils will work for this. Mark the numbers you land on when you count by two. What pattern do they make? Mark the counting-by-3 pattern, or mark the 7's, etc. You may need to print several charts so your students can color in the patterns and compare them. I usually start with the 2's, 5's and 10's since most children have these memorized.

On the other hand, the Hundreds Board can also be confusing when skip counting because there are so many others numbers listed which easily create a distraction.  I have found that Pattern Sticks work much better because the number pattern the student is skip counting by can be isolated. Pattern Sticks are a visual way of showing students the many patterns that occur on a multiplication table.  Illustrated below is the pattern stick for three. As the student skip counts by three, s/he simply goes from one number to the next (left to right).


Martian Fingers
For fun, I purchase those scary, wearable fingers at Halloween time. (buy them in bulk from The Oriental Trading Company - click under the fingers for the link.) Each of my students wears one for skip counting activities. I call them the Awesome Fingers of Math! For some reason, when wearing the fingers, students tend to actually point and follow along when skip counting.

Most students enjoy skip counting when music is played. I have found several CD's on Amazon that lend themselves nicely to this activity.  I especially like Hap Palmer's Multiplication Mountain.  My grandchildren think his songs are catchy, maybe too catchy as sometimes I can't get the songs out of my mind!

Think about this.  As teachers, if we would take the time to skip count daily, our students would know more than just the 2's, 5's and 10's.  They would know all of their multiplication facts by the end of third grade. And wouldn't the fourth grade teacher love you?!?

IMPORTANT:  If you like this finger idea, be sure that each student uses the same finger every time to avoid the spreading of germs. Keeping it in a zip lock bag with the child’s name on the bag works best. (Believe it or not, when I taught fourth grade, the students would paint and decorate the fingernails!)


Cold Treat for Those Hot Days of Summer


June always brings the first day of summer. I'm not sure where you live, but I live in Kansas, and each day it is getting hotter and hotter! On a hot day, when you have been outside, there is nothing better than an ice cold treat. For years, I have made homemade Popsicles, first for my children and now for my grandchildren. I thought I would share the quick and easy recipe with you. (I know this might be considered the "far side" of math, but recipes do contain measurement and sometimes, even fractions!)

Popsicles Recipe - Will make 18

1 small package of Jello (any flavor)  As you can see, my grandchildren like the Berry Blue.)
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water

Boil water. Add to the sugar and package of Jello. Stir until all the Jello is dissolved. Add the cold water and stir again.

Pour into three sets of Tupperware Popsicle Makers. If you don't have these (I don't think they sell them anymore), use Popsicle molds found in stores. or use ice cube trays.

Place in the freezer until hardened. Eat and enjoy just like my grandchildren do!


A Go Figure Debut for an English Teacher Who Is New!

Lindsay's TPT Store
My newest Go Figure Debut is a high school English teacher from Illinois. Lindsay has been teaching for 13 years. She describes her classroom as student-centered and connection-driven as she wants her students working harder than she does and taking responsibility for their own learning. This happens when students are engaged in what they are doing and feel like they belong.

At the high school level, students have "been there, done that" with just about every type of English assessment and experience; so, it's a matter of finding ways to up the rigor, innovating to find a real-world skill application or asking them to take more ownership of their work than ever before. Besides the students themselves, this is her favorite thing about teaching - designing experiences and activities that will engage and excite.

When Lindsay is not teaching, she is hanging out with her husband and two awesome kids or helping her husband with his wedding photography business. Her children are little; so, they are her "hobby" right now. She is looking forward to spending more time with them this summer.

The name of her Teachers Pay Teacher's store is Lindsay Ann Learning. Currently, she has 121 products featured in her store with five of them being free. Her resources are for middle and high school English Language Arts - writing, reading, and digital interactive resources.

Free
One of those freebies is entitled Close Reading Introduction.  With these time tested resources, students can learn a successful pattern for thesis statement writing and close reading analysis. It is an excellent way to break down the thesis so that students can understand each component, as well as unpack the evidence from the text. In addition, it is a very effective tool that scaffolds textual analysis step-by-step.

$20.00
Her paid product is called Slam Poetry which is a no-prep, engaging, CCSS-aligned slam poetry unit with student-centered activities and assignments designed to promote inquiry and self-expression. Lindsay believes that writing poetry can be a fun, interactive, student-centered experience that engages every learner! With the digital and print resources in this resource, you can build writing, reading, speaking and listening and meta-cognitive skills . A comment left by a recent buyer says; “What a fabulous unit! The resources are well organized and the online links have saved me hours of preparation time. Thank you so much!”

Additionally to teaching and selling on TPT, Lindsay has a blog entitled Lindsay Ann Learning. The theme of her blog is... 


Take a few moments to check out her blog as well as her store. You will find that many of her quality resources are interactive which makes them very desirable.


"Sum" More Quick Tricks

Sometimes, my students think, I am a magician who pulls answers out of a hat. Over the years, I have learned that mathematicians are ingenious people who are always looking for quick and easy ways to do things. Maybe that's why we now have graphing calculators and computer programs to figure taxes.
I have a friend who teaches math on the college level in North Carolina. In fact, we have been friends since 6th grade, but that's another story. When she read one of my posts, she shared a trick for quickly finding a sum. Her trick has to do with a sequence that begins with any number, with any number of terms as long as they are separated by the same amount. For instance, the series below is a six number sequence with a difference of two between each number.
Here is what you do to quickly to find the sum. Add the first and last terms. 5 + 15 = 20. Now multiply by the number of terms which in this case is 6. 20 x 6 = 120 Finally, divide by 2. So, mentally this is what it would look like.


Now, how many of you went back to add up 5 + 7 + 9 + 11 + 13 + 15? Did you get the answer of 60? Isn't it amazing!?! Maybe math teachers are magicians after all!