5 Easy Daily Math Ideas

I was walking Chris (5 yo) to school yesterday (as we do most days) and was stopped by his Principal. He commented, “You always are counting when you come to school. I wish more parents would do that with their kids.” So it got me thinking; what are some easy-peasy ways parents can support their kiddos with math in the early years? Here are 5 ideas that you could start TODAY! Choose 1 or 2, and use them every day for a few weeks to really see their number sense and mad math skills bloom! Please comment with other ideas as well so we can have a huge vat of fantastic learning opportunities to use with our babes!!!

  1. Counting, Counting, Counting! We do count on the way to school. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. At first, it was to 20, then to 50, and now we are up to 150! We count by 1’s most days, but sometimes we go rogue and count by 10’s (gasp!). Just like singing the alphabet, rote counting is a must to learn numbers. Start with 1’s, then 10’s for Kinders and younger. Move to 2’s, 5’s, 3’s, etc… and you have provided a solid foundation for initial multiplication! Move to counting by 1/2’s, 1/4’s, 1/3’s (you get the idea) and you are rocking initial fractions! Start with a different value that 1 and you are moving mountains!
  2. Counting Forwards AND Backwards: Stairs are great for this. Count up when you go up stairs, down when you go down. Don’t know how many stairs? Start at 20 and count down. If you don’t hit 0, oh well!
  3. I have...: In the produce section of the grocery store, you need 6 potatoes. Ask you tiny human, “I have 2. How many more do I need to have 6?” This is AMAZINGNESS! I cannot tell you how many teachers have students who struggle with missing addend problems. This will help so much!!! Do it at home with the silverware. “We need 4 plates. I have 1. How many more do I need?” The opportunities are endless for this!
  4. Sort! Sort! Sort! Kids can sort the silverware that comes out of the dishwasher (Take out sharp objects first, please!), socks, toys, coins (when you are at a restaurant or doctor’s office), mail, school work, books, buttons, etc. Sorting is super important, as it builds the idea of structure and patterns as well as organizing and classifying information.
  5. Guess my Number: A car-time fav in our family. “I am thinking of a number. It is bigger than 5 and smaller than 10. What is my number?” And you can amp this up for older students as well. Use multiples, even/odd, negative values, fractions, square roots, etc. And once they get the hang of it, each person in the car gets a turn to be the number-chooser. Super easy, and builds magnitude of numbers, place value, and relational thinking.
5 Easy Daily Math Ideas

Race To The Top! Counting On

So my tiny human, Chris, loves to add, but always has to start from one (no matter what the values are). I finally figured out a game to play to push into Level 2: Counting On (see previous blog for more info on the levels of single digit addition/subtraction).

Objective: To get to the top of one of the columns (doesn’t matter which one) first!

Materials: 2- Race to the Top Game Boards (click on link) Race to the Top Game Board 2-dice:  Since Chris is working on making sums to 10, I created my dice. You do not have to, but it is super easy and cheap! Go to a hobby store or home improvement store and buy wooden cubes. On the first one, label with the numbers 0-5. On the second one, draw dots on it (like a normal die), but use 0-5. Notice my mad dot-drawing skills! img_8144.jpg

How to Play: First player rolls the dice. He ‘traps’ the number (in the case above, the 3) and counts on one-by-one if need-be the dots. He puts an object above the sum’s number on the game board. Please view the example. Note the time it takes for Chris to figure it out, but he still gets it. This is tough when children are used to adding with objects and we replace one set of objects with a number!

Notice how he is also doing some mental work with figuring out “how many more” he needs to win the game.

IMG_8148Player 2: Roll dice, count on, and place the object on her game board. Continue until someone reaches the top of a column.

Look at how many addition problems he had to complete to finish the game! He never even noticed all the fantastic work he did! (Insert evil laugh.)


For Differentiation

Level 1 (Counting All): Use dot dice for both instead of one dot and one number cube. That way he is working on his one-to-one counting and adding all together! You can also make a 0-6 page and use 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3 dots for each cube.

Level 3: Use both number cubes instead of dots. You could also use number cubes 1-6 and create a game board from 2-12.

 

 

 

Race To The Top! Counting On

Levels For Single-Digit Addition: Where Is Your Child?

‘Tis the season in Kindergarten for learning addition and subtraction. You may wonder where your child is with respect to these foundational operations. Most educators will think about their students’ learning of single digit addition/subtraction as a 3-level progression. I will focus on addition for sake of space.

Level 1: Counting All

This is where most kinders should be. They can even end the year in this level and be awesome! At Counting All, students typically use concrete objects to count one-by-one in order to find the sum. Below is an example, using 2 + 3.

Level 2: Counting On

This is the “trap and keep” idea. The first addend is “trapped” in your mind, and you count on from that value. This is a more sophisticated idea, because you have to understand that the first addend is a quantity of its own, and you are moving forwards from that value (versus starting at 1 every time). Often your child will “trap and keep” the first addend by taking their hand to their head to “trap” it in their mind, then use their fingers to count on. So for 5 + 3, they would “trap the 5” and count on, “siiix….sevennnnn…eighhhht”. This is a level many children live in for quite some time.

Level 3: “Messing with Math!”

That is actually NOT what it’s called, but I like this title much more! This is when children start realizing that there are certain “cheats” that they can use to do more of the math in their head. (Mathematically, they are called properties, but that is for another blog!) I will actually devote an entire set of blogs for this Level, as it is that important. But for now, here is an example using ten-frames with the expression, 9 + 5.9+5

9+5cStudents can see that, if they take one of the five (reds) and move it up with the nine (blues), they can make a 10. 9+5 can be renamed as 10+4=14. This is HUGE for students in terms of flexibility with numbers and algebraic thinking!

Children will ebb and flow between these three levels. The important thing is to play, explore, and play some more! The next few blogs will encourage this through games that I am trying out with my son’s Kinder class!!!


For more information, please visit: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/documents/mathfw-appendixc.pdf (This is one of the best versions…Go CA Framework Committee!)

For the ten-frames (I love these because they are soft and quiet!): https://www.schoolspecialty.com/magnetic-board-set-1400695

 

 

Levels For Single-Digit Addition: Where Is Your Child?

Rolling to 100

I had the pleasure of volunteering in my son’s Kinder class for 100 day. She had a great ‘filler’ game that I wanted to adapt and share. This is a great one to take to a restaurant where they hand out crayons!

Materials: 100 chart, one per player (see below for link), die (dot for one-to-one correspondence, numbered for numeral recognition with counting), crayons (at least 2)

Objective: To be the first person to color in all 100 numbers!

How to Play

  • Player 1 rolls the die and colors in that many spaces, starting at 1. Player 2 does the same on his/her gameboard. (Example: rolling a 5)rolling 5
  • Player 1 rolls again and, in a different color, colors in that amount. So if I rolled a 2, I would color in the next two squares in a different color. Continue playing until someone reaches 100.

How I would change it

  1. Give your child a blank 100 grid and have him/her fill it in for writing practice. Then use their board to play.
  2. Change out the dice as your child grows in his/her number sense. Using larger numbers will create patterns and encourage counting by larger groups instead of by ones.
  3.  We are going to play to 20 and write the addition sentences on a whiteboard.         So 5 + 2=7 for the last play.  Also you could relate to counting on. Start at ______ move forward ______. I am now at _______. Starting at numbers other than 1 or 0 to chris 100count is a BIG DEAL!
  4. We are going to start at 100 (or 20) and go backwards to roll to 0! Counting backwards is just as important as counting forwards!
  5. Find the values. After Chris finishes up his very crumply 100 chart, he is going to guess my number. Example: My number is blue and is bigger than 23 but less than 26. Guess my number!
Rolling to 100

Playing with Math: The Function Machine

I love this game, because you can tailor it to the level of your child. Any child, preK through adult, can play and find it challenging and fun!

The Function Machine

Grade Levels: Any, depending on how complex you make the function.

Materials: paper and pencil (whiteboards or Magna Doodles are great, too!  We just used the Magna Doodle in the car on a 3-hour drive and it worked great!!)

  1. Draw a function machine. It need not be fancy, but if you google image function machines you will get tons of ideas. function machie twoMine (as I am on the lazy side) typically look like a rectangle with an opening at the top (for the input) and an opening at the bottom (for the output). They are just very boring and sad. The one to the right is super cute and soooo not me.
  2. Choose a rule (function) to use. So my rule for my PreK could be “one more” or “+1”.
  3. Your child gives an input number. You give the output number. Example: My son loves the number 5 (after all, he IS 5).  So he would put in the number 5 and I would tell him the output is 6. [It is better if you make cool sounds as if the function machine is DOING something. This is supposed to be FUN, remember???]
  4. Your child keeps guessing numbers, as you fill in the outputs each time, until they realize the pattern and can express it either in words or as a ‘math rule’ (expression). If they guess the rule wrong, keep playing until they get the correct rule.
  5. This is really fun when you have more than one kiddo playing. However, they may only guess when it is their turn. That way, everyone has a chance to play and learn.

Let’s Try One! 

  1. You enter 5 into the function machine. beep boop beep boop! Out comes 7.
  2. You enter 2 into the function maching. beep boop beep boop! Out comes 4. (Got a guess for what the function rule is????)
  3. You enter 10 into the function machine. beep boop beep boop! Out come 12.
  4. You say the rule is “plus two each time”. Yup! The rule is the machine adds two to each input (or y=x+2 for your middle schoolers).

Suggestions for Different Grade Levels:

Grades K-2: add 1, add 2, add 5, add 10, add 100, subtract 1, subtract 2, subtract 10, subtract 20, etc

Grades 3-5: same as above (Fluency in arithmetic is important!) and multiply by 2, multiply by 5, multiply by 10, take half, divide by 10

Grades 6-up: combine operations multiply by 2 and add 1 (2x+1), triple a number minus 1 (3x-1),  a number times itself (square it), take half of a number and add 1 (1/2x+ 1), etc. You can also include negative rules as well (like multiply by -3).

You can also create a function table and just fill in as input/outputs as well, if they are above having a cute function machine. I have inserted one below as an example. function table

These are so great for trips and such, because all it takes is a napkin and a pen (and your rule). Finding relationships is imperative for algebra. This is a great way for kids to play with the ideas they need for later mathematics!

 

Playing with Math: The Function Machine

War!(HUH!) What is it good for? (Absolutely lots in Math!)

With my family on the go so much during the non-lazy days of summer, we need easy games to entertain the tiny humans that don’t require mass amounts of attention from the adults (who are often in conversation). Enter the game of War. This versatile game can be used for all age groups and can really keep your child’s skills in arithmetic in check during the “summer slump”.

How to Play (Basic Version)

  1. Grab a deck of cards (I keep one in my purse and in the car at all times). You don’t have to, but I prefer to take out the face cards and jokers. Shuffle the rest and divvy out to all who are playing.
  2. All players shove all of their cards into a “deck” and keeps the deck face down.
  3. All players (at the same time to avoid cheating) flip the first card. The player with the largest value is the winner and takes all of the cards in the round.IMG_5434
  4. If there is a tie (that is the largest value), those players place 3 cards on their original face down and flip the fourth card. Whichever player NOW has the largest value gets all of the cards from the round. IMG_5435
  5. Continue playing until either a) one player has all of the cards; or b) you get sick of playing. The player with the most cards is the winner.

Additional Versions

  • For younger players: Use only 2-5 from the decks and play with those. The game dot cardsgoes faster and they are working only with 2, 3, 4, and 5. You can use the aces as 1. Even better, use number cards or dot cards (see below for links). Print on cardstock (4 cards per number) or go online and buy a set.
  • For any age: You can also play and whoever gets the smallest value wins. This is great for preK-1st graders!
  • For students who need review with addition: Play two cards at a time and add them. The player with the largest sum is the winner of the round.
  • For students who need review with multiplication: Play two cards at a time and multiply them. The player with the largest product is the winner of the round.
  • For grades 5-7: red cards are negative values; black cards are positive values. Flip over one card. If I have a red 6 and you have a black 2, you are the winner since positive values are always greater than negatives. IMG_5434
  • For grades 6-8 (or 7-8 if using Common Core): Play two cards and add them, using reds as negatives and blacks as positives. The player with the largest sum is the winner of the round.
  • For grades 6-8 (or 7-8 if using Common Core): Play two cards and multiply them, using reds as negatives and blacks as positives. The player with the largest product is the winner of the round.
  • For grades 6-8, use only values ace (for 1) through 5. Flip the first card; that is your base. Flip the second card; that is your exponent. The player with the highest value wins  the round.

Different Sets of Cards:

  • You could probably look on Amazon for different card types, but I love the sets at 52 Pickup. They are of high quality and there are many different types ranging from dot cards to ten frames to cards that go through the thousands (so you can work on place value!)

https://sumboxes.com/collections/types?q=52%20Pickup%20Card%20Decks

 

War!(HUH!) What is it good for? (Absolutely lots in Math!)

That Moment You Realize Your Child Is Suffering

All who have multiple children know that each one is wonderfully different. You can raise ’em the same, yet they have their own amazing quirks and personalities, strengths and passions. This could not be more true of my two boys.

My youngest is now 5. He has always been the rough and tumble type. Everything is a competition to him. (Even last night he was standing on his tippy toes trying to be ‘taller’ when raising his hand at church!) He is funny, outgoing, and a firecracker. He is a joy.

Yet school stuff has not yet become his thing. He seemed disinterested in learning his letters, yet loved to be read to. He never wanted to sit with me and learn the components all say are so important for kinder. His preschool teachers said it would come; that he just was a busy bee and had other, more important things to care about. And honestly, I believed that too. He loves to create, tell stories, sing, build, and live outdoors. Who was I to take that away from him?

So when his amazing preK teacher suggested a hearing test, I was on board. No big deal; just go do it and cross it off as another thing we did. It came back inconclusive. Went for an ENT hearing test. The results were staggering; at least 30% hearing loss in each ear. The doctor said, “Think of being submerged underwater for 5 years of your life, trying desperately to hear what people are saying. That is what your son has lived through.” I am still teary thinking about this. I am a fricking educator! How did I not catch this?  I was in denial as well, until that very day driving home I asked my boy if he saw the cool tree. “Tree?” “Yes, the tree over there (I pointed out the car window.).” “Like, dessert?” And that is when it hit me. My child wasn’t hearing.

We started to notice. He said, “What?” almost every time you told him something.  He couldn’t hear the TV clearly; he was reading lips (which we now know why he would never answer us when watching TV; he was too focused on the screen to hear us). In preK, during circle time, he struggled to hear all the conversations and his body would just be exhausted from trying to listen that he gave up.  When listening to a story, he focused on the pictures for meaning versus our words. He was trying his best, his very best, and it was exhausting. My heart broke. My baby boy, sweet thing he is, was struggling under my teacher nose, and I hadn’t caught it.

Long story short, he is now hearing much more, with just a tweak of medication. He still has a hearing loss, and we will test every year to make sure it isn’t degenerative. He is learning how to deal with sounds he hadn’t heard before. (At church last night he couldn’t believe they played bells!) He begins speech therapy (I had no idea he would need that either) next week and they are excited to see his progress, as am I. And funny enough, he is now interested in learning his letters, sounds, words, etc. It all makes sense; for how can you be interested in something you never knew existed?

I bring this story up for one reason. We are not perfect. Even if we have our children’s best interests at heart, we may miss something. It takes a true village to raise our children. If you do not have a village to help, find one. If your children go to daycare or summer camp, get to know their counselors. Ask them questions. Find out what your children are doing, and how they are doing. Talk to your children’s teachers next year. Get to know them, because they see your children more often than you do! And listen, even when you don’t want to. In a world that is so negative right now, I feel strongly that we need to support, build, and nurture each other and our tiny humans in order to make them the best they can be.

 

That Moment You Realize Your Child Is Suffering