Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sorting Activities Build Addition Fluency


It's almost January and sooner than we know it, both teachers and students will be back in school.  The beginning of January is often a time when skills taught in the fall are reviewed.  This is necessary because while they were away from school, they started to forget a few things.  January is also a time to get back into a routine.  That's hard for some children!  They've been sleeping in for an extra few hours every day and perhaps they are running . . . um . . .  their own "daily schedule".

I received a set of clip art from Graphics From the Pond during one of her flash freebies this past week.  We had some snow days so I used her freebie graphics to make an addition fluency builder.  I decided to make it the third of my "Home For the Holidays" freebies.  If you want the other freebies from this promotion, you'll need to scroll through the past few posts to find them.
Students cut out addition sentences on the broken lines.

This packet has addition sorts for the children to practice speed and accuracy with.  I made the activities for sums from 3 through 20 with graduated degrees of difficulty from one sheet to another.  First the children cut out the addition sentences.  Then they sort them with the appropriate sum.  They can glue the addition sentences to the appropriate groups as well. 
Students sort the facts prior to gluing.

Students can affix the addition sentences with the appropriate groups after the sort is completed.
Here's a close up.
I added a few pages (one is shown below) that could be used in place of the numerical sorts. Those pages might work with students that need additional practice with pictorial representations of the addition equations.
This student is coloring in "snowflakes" to represent an addition equation with the sum of nine.  She will use another color to represent the second addend.  This method provides her with a pictorial representation of the addition equation.
Students can use two colors to color the snowflakes to create a visual representation of the addition fact.

 Here is a brief video about the addition sorts.
As I mentioned earlier, it's hard for students to get back into the routine of school when they return in January.  They've been on holiday for two weeks and now they have to go to school for seven or more hours!  One thing that can help make it easier for them (It's easier for teachers too!) is to incorporate games into the instructional day.  With this in mind, I added two games with this packet.  The first game is called, "Let's Play Snowflake Pie".  First the students color each piece of pie a different color.  The student directions specify the colors to use.  It does not matter which piece is colored pink, blue, etc . . .   You'll want to have them color lightly so the sums printed on each piece of pie remain visible.  The teacher uses the calling cards to call out a color along with the sum.  Students that have both the color and sum called out will stand up and recite an addition sentence that is equivalent to the sum.  An example might be to say, "Blue twelve".  Students with a "Blue twelve" stand and recall an addition sentence that will work with the equation.  I intended this game to have no winners or losers.  There is no end to the game until the teacher calls time.  There are two snowflake pies so the children can practice adding with both odd and even sums - depending on which pie you choose to use in a given day. 
Each piece of "pie" must be colored by the students. A total of six colors are used. The teacher calls out colors and numbers. If the student has a piece of pie with the color and number called, he/she stands up and recites an addition fact to go with the sum. (In the picture shown above, if the teachers called out "Orange 7" the student would stand up. However, he would not stand if "Orange 5" was called since he does not have that slice of pie.) Warm up the facts for a few minutes before starting the game.

The other game is called, "Eating Snow!"  The are eight unique "snow pies".  Each player gets one of the "snow pies".  This game is ideal for small groups but could also be played with the whole class.  When playing with the whole class, some students will have duplicate sheets and there will be multiple winners.  "Eating Snow!" is a game of chance and not one of skill.  In this game, the teacher calls out an addition sentence but omits the sum.  The students look and their pie pieces to see if they have the sum.  Those that have the sum turn that piece of pie face down.  The winner or winners are the first students to "Eat Snow" - that is, they eat their whole pie before anyone else.
Students cut around the solid black line. Then they cut on the broken lines in the center.

Students turn the pie pieces face down when they have the sum to an addition problem that is called out. The first student(s) that have all their pieces turned over are the winners. The teacher checks to see that the sums covered on the pie pieces are ones that matched problems used.

Want to try this freebie?  Click the image below:

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter Bingo For Children

Winter Days Are Here Again!

I think winter has come two weeks too early in the northeastern United States!  Do you like having a "SNOW DAY" in December?  It's great when you have Christmas shopping to do (when the roads are not icy) or still need to put up those holiday decorations in your own home.  It's not very convenient when there is a practice for an upcoming holiday program that is cancelled when the children need the rehearsal.  I think I prefer having the snow days after the Christmas holiday when there is a need for a break from school. 

One of the science Standards of Learning for first graders in Virginia is to investigate and understand the seasonal changes in our environment.  I listed a few ideas on this topic at the end of this post.

I finished my "Wintry Bingo" games. I think I made them just in time for winter!  They'll come in handy on those days that are too cold to take the children outside for recess.  I created both a black and white version and a color edition.  The game is useful to review winter vocabulary words.  It can be used in conjunction with a winter themed unit for those living in the northeastern United States.  It could also be used to spark interest in learning more about winter at the beginning of a unit on seasons.  Here are a few pictures from the color version of my "Wintry" bingo game.

There are 25 spaces on the bingo card.  An image is positioned in the center space.  The center space is the "Free Space".  24 winter words are used.  All cards have the same, 24 winter vocabulary words.  25 unique bingo cards are included. 

Sometimes it's hard to find bingo chips in local markets.  I ordered mine through eBay.  Pennies and other small objects can be used in place of bingo chips.

The photo shown above is from the black and white version of the game.  A paint dauber is being used instead of bingo chips.  The words used with the black and white version are the same as the color version. 
I used mini erasers as bingo markers in the photo shown above.  They came in a holiday variety pack of 100 at the Dollar Tree.  I  pulled out the snowflakes and kept the holiday themed pieces for my "Santa's" bingo game.  One pack of 100 mini erasers will be enough markers for five students. 
I wanted to use a wintry mix mix of winter words to included the following categories:

1.  Clothing  Worn
2.  Tools Used
3.  Recreational Objects  
4.  Animal Behavior (in response to winter)
5.  Plant Behavior (in response to winter)
6.  Forms of Precipitation  

Winter Words Calling Cards
Cut the calling cards out (shown above), shuffle, and use when the game is in play.

Here are a few discussion ideas about winter:

1. We observe how climate effects plants and animals. - The green grass has turned brown. The leaves on the deciduous trees have fallen off. The robins are flying south (we see less of them than when we observed them in the spring). The squirrels are gathering nuts. The Monarch butterflies have migrated. The crops are harvested. There is no corn growing where the cornfields stood. There are no more fresh tomatoes growing in our gardens. 

2. We discuss sudden and gradual changes. - There is a drop in temperature from arrival at school to departure time - or the reverse. The diminishing leaves on the trees nearby take many weeks to change from green to red and then to a dormancy phase. We have less hours of daylight - it gets darker earlier. 

3. We compare one season with another. We talk about the change in our dress for school from August to December such as wearing shorts when school begins in August to wearing long pants, sweaters, and jackets in December. 

4. We talk about the changes in our own activities. We think about the sports that are played in the summer like baseball and swimming. We compare the sports that are typically indoors during the winter months like basketball and volleyball. We talk about the kinds of tools our parents use in the winter such as shovels and ice scrapers.  We compare those with the things that are used in the summer such as lawnmowers and bug spray.  We discuss the possible reasons why those things are not used during the winter months. 

The possible discussions are almost endless!

If you are interested in purchasing my "WINTRY" Bingo game, click one of the images shown below.

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Spell S-A-N-T-A with Peppermint Letters

I wish I would have had the time to post this a bit earlier than now.  Perhaps someone can still use these for a holiday program, Christmas decoration, or other activity.  This is the second freebie in my "Home For the Holidays" promotion.  To get the freebie, scroll down to the bottom of this post.  Update December 2014:  I have changed the green background pages and the cover page. 

Recently I visited a website called   It has tons of fun fonts.  I found one that looks like a candy cane or peppermint stripe.  I used it to make images with large letters that spell the word "SANTA".  I did a little funky editing with the green background achieve the look I wanted.  There are two sets of "SANTA" letters.  One set has a white background and the other set has a green background.  The set with the white background will be a tad more ink-friendly on the printer.  If time is short, the set with the green background doesn't require cutting or mounting the letters.  Below are the directions and photos of the project.

METHOD 1  White Background Letter Set:

1.  Print the five pages to spell "SANTA".

2.  Cut out the letters.

3.  Adhere one letter on one piece of green construction paper or other specialty paper.

4.  Repeat step 3 for each of the remaining letters. 

5.  Laminate if desired.

Print the desired letters. (Method 1)

Cut the letters out. (Method 1)
This is how the letters appear after they are cut out.
Mount the letters on green construction paper or on specialty paper. (Method 1)
METHOD 2  Green Background Letter Set:

1.  Print the five pages to spell "SANTA".

2.  Laminate if desired.

Now you have "S-A-N-T-A" letter cards for the children to hold during your holiday program!  It's a good idea to mark the back of the letter cards with adhesive dots.  Put one dot on each side.  This helps the child know where to position his/her thumbs when holding the cards.

These are the letters with the green background built in to the page: 
Each of the letters above prints on a full size sheet of paper.

To get this freebie click on the words, "We Can Spell Santa!".

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Sale

Is it too early to say "Seasons Greetings"?

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday.  This year I made everything except for the turkey.  Alright, I must confess, the peas were in a bag, the cranberry sauce came from a box, the gravy was in a packet, the stuffing poured out of a box, and the rolls were the frozen variety that get browned in the oven.  However, I made the potatoes from scratch . . . not the instant kind.

I was not planning on doing the "Black Friday" shopping extravaganza which by the way is a "Black Thursday" event but someone else in my family wanted to shop.  Therefore I was talked into it after the Thanksgiving dinner.  That's right, at around 8:30 p.m. last night, I was standing in line at a major department store with all kinds of craziness around me.  I think in the future I will be doing more and more online shopping.

The irony of this is that I have decided to have my own "Black Friday" sale.  Everything in my store is 20% off today and tomorrow.  (November 29 and 30, 2013)  I am still gearing up for the "Cyber Monday".  The "Cyber Monday" sale will offer buyers even more savings at my store.  In addition to the 20% off that I will be offering, there is an extra discount when the promo code "CYBER" is applied.
Click on the picture above to view my tpt store.

My Thanksgiving meal.  I added an apple and some raisins to the stuffing.
Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Subtraction "Home For the Holidays" Freebie

Hello viewers,

I hope you had a great week at school albeit a short one.  I am home for the holidays and plan on enjoying some turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and a slice (or two) of pumpkin pie.  It's nice to have a few days off to recharge my "batteries" and get a few things done that I have been neglected recently . . . like dusting.  Yeah!  One thing I will pass on is the maddening "Black Friday" sales that are now more like a "Black Thursday" sale.

Here is a subtraction freebie I made for you and your students.  I call them "subtraction function tables".  Students subtract horizontally and vertically.  This is intended as a mental subtraction exercise to build subtraction fluency.  (There are no equals of minus signs.)

They can be laminated and a dry/erase marker can be used to write and wipe the answers and the same can be done with sheet protectors.  I prefer that the focus is on the mental math aspect of the activity so we use the numeral cards with Velcro fasteners.  This method allows the children to focus just on the math and not on numeral formation.  It's a bit more self-checking when the correct numerals are presented for the students.  Ashley Hughes made the graphics that I used for this center.  I love her artistic flair!  Visit her Teachers pay Teachers store at Ashley Hughes.
Here's a shot of the finished product.

There is a student response sheet so the center work can be documented.
Print each of the sheet and laminate.  Then add the Velcro coins.  No cutting! 
1.  Print, cut, laminate, and cut again.  2.  Put Velcro coins on the backs of each.

Here's an answer key so students can check their own work. The letters in the top left corner of each function table correspond with the card names . . . "A, B, C, D, E, and F".

Happy Holidays!
Click on the picture above to get this freebie.

Check back here again soon for more "Home For The Holidays" freebies!  The pretty frame shown above was made by Krista Walden.  Visit her TpT store at:  Krista Wallden

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale!

Hello Readers!

I'm having a Cyber Monday sale.  Everything at my Teachers pay Teachers store will be 20% off.  Use the promo code, "CYBER" for an additional discount.  Don't forget to hit the "APPLY" button after entering the code.  It's time to empty your wishlist or start a new one. 

If you need a Bingo game, a SMART Notebook activity, paper puzzles, sight word cards, or a thematic unit from a nursery rhyme, come visit my store.

And . . . check back here later this week for some "Home For the Holidays" freebies!

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Santa's Bingo

Are you planning a holiday event for your classroom before the winter break?  If so, this might interest you!

I've seen some teachers collaborate with each other when organizing their special holiday events.  Within a grade level, each teacher plans one craft, snack, or game.  The children rotate from one classroom to another during their party.  Each teacher is responsible for just one activity and he/she repeats the activity for each group of children within the grade level.  This is a great way to make less work for everyone involved during this busy time of the year.  It also gives the children a chance to visit other classrooms and it's fun for the kids.  Bingo games are an easy, no-mess, activity that could be used for this purpose.

I started creating bingo games a few years ago.  Students seem to enjoy them!  I begin by making a list of words and phrases related to a topic.  In this post, I have used my Santa's bingo game.  I wanted the game to be practical for a variety of school situations.  Plus, they needed to have educational value.  This caused me to narrow my choices of words a bit.  Once I generated my word list, I create the bingo games.   

The black and white option is great for immediate use.  The words could also be cut out by the children and used for word sorts after playing the game.  (See the end of this post for the word sort ideas.)  The children can color the pictures with the black and white Bingo.   Click on the image to view it at my shop.

The color version of this game could be laminated for lasting use year after year.  Click on the image below to see it at my shop.

Below are a few more pictures of the Santa's Bingo games I created.

There are 25 unique bingo cards.  Each bingo card uses the same 24 words.  The center space is the "free" space.  It has a Christmas themed graphic.
The bingo cards print on a full sheet of paper. (8 1/2 X 11)  The card shown above is from the version that requires color ink.
Students can mark words on their bingo cards with paint daubers, bingo chips, math cubes, or anything else that can fit within the squares.

Erasers were used as markers in the photo above.  You can find inexpensive seasonal mini erasers (they're a tad smaller than the ones in the photo) at the Dollar Tree!  It's a pack of 100 erasers for $1.00.  If you have 20 students, you'll need about 5 packs.

I used common nouns and proper nouns with the words in this Bingo game.  Both singular form and plural form nouns are used.  There are two adjectives (red & green).  Here are a few sorting ideas that could be used:

Singular Nouns                    Plural Nouns                     Not Nouns

tinsel                                            elves                                        green
tree                                              stockings                                  red
ornament                                     carols                 
Christmas                                    candles
December                                    gifts
Santa                                            toys
sleigh                                            bells
holiday                                          lights
North Pole
candy cane

For the sort shown above:  "North Pole" and "candy cane" are paired words on the Bingo game.  These could be crossed out and not included in the sort.  To simplify further, the adjectives could be thrown out.

Common Nouns                      Proper Nouns                  

tinsel                                                Christmas
holiday                                             Santa
sleigh                                                December
lights                                                 North Pole
candy cane

For the sort shown above:  The adjectives were thrown out.

1 Syllable                    2 Syllables                    3 Syllables

sleigh                                Christmas                         holiday
red                                     tinsel                                 ornament
tree                                    carols                                December
elves                                  Santa
green                                 garland
bells                                   reindeer
wreath                              candles
star                                    stockings

For the sort shown above: The adjectives were thrown out as well as the paired words "candy cane" and "North Pole".

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Teaching Measuring Weight with Non-Standard Units

Last week was super busy!  I don't know if Halloween and "trick or treating" that has me tired or if it's just the time change along with the fluctuation in temperature. 

At the first grade level in Virginia, we use non-standard units with the measurement strand of the state standards for measuring length,weight, and volume..  While the balance scales are great for weighing small items, they're not useful for big things such as pumpkins.  This year I wanted to see if I could create something to measure a large object such as a pumpkin.

I used a shelving board for my beam and put a patio block below it. I took a large bag of rice and divided the rice into equal portions in plastic bags. I had six bags of rice in all.  The rice became my non-standard units for measuring the weight of the pumpkin.  I put the pumpkin on one end of the beam and one bag of rice on the other end. The pumpkin's weight was more than one bag of rice which caused the beam to tip to the left as seen in the first picture. Then I put a second bag of rice on with the first bag of rice. This seemed to cause balance as seen in the second picture.  
The pumpkin's weight was more than one bag of rice.
The pumpkin appeared to weigh two bags of rice.  This was not exactly correct!

Finally, I added the other four bags of rice on to see if the weight would cause the beam to tip over again. It did not tip.  I determined my teacher-made seesaw was an inaccurate measuring tool. Nonetheless, it did tell us that the pumpkin was heavier than one bag of rice! Perhaps I should have used smaller units of rice per bag to cause more measuring to take place.  I was wishing for one of those old playground seesaws to test this out more but we don't have them in my location. 

Some children have exercised with "teeter toys".  When using a "teeter toy", you place one foot on each side and then shift your weight from the left foot to the right foot to cause the "teeter" to rock.  While a bit abstract, perhaps a few children could make the connection between the similarities of how the balance worked and that of a teeter toy.

I would love to hear your ideas about how to create a simple device that could weigh large objects with non-standard units.  It can't be too technical or require a lot of carpentry skills though.  Please share!

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Apples For the Teachers . . . It's A Treat Without a Trick!

Hello everyone!  I hope you're geared up for the last week of October.  It's "Trick or Treat" time so I made some free teaching resources for you.  I'm sending you the treats without any tricks.  The teachers' "Halloween Apples" have arrived! 

The first activity is for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.  I love creating sorting activities for students to use.  I like using things the children can manipulate in their hands.  It's an effective way to present math activities . . . especially when introducing a new concept.  We used the candy corn and the "Mellowcreme Pumpkins".  (Visit the Brach's Candy website and go to the link that says "Halloween Candy" to see what I'm referring to.)  Each child gets a small, plastic sandwich bag with some of the candied pumpkins and the candy corn inside.  I program the amount so that each child has about 5 pumpkins and 8 candy corn pieces.  The children sort the candy into two groups - one group for the pumpkins and the other group is for the candy corn.  This year I made a sorting sheet to go along with the activity so the children could sort directly on the sheets and record their results.  Below are some of the photos of how it's done.
Happy October!  Here is a free sorting activity with two of the friendliest ghosts you've ever seen!  Give each child a bag of candy corn to sort.  You'll need the pumpkin shape variety as well as the traditional type of candy corn.  Students sort the candy corn into the two groups as indicated by the image on the ghosts.  Then they count the candy corn within each group and record the number.  No reading is required for the sorting activity!
Students sort the candy corn and pumpkin shaped candy into two groups.
The children draw to record the candy corn and pumpkin candy on the sheets with their crayons.  This represents the amounts of each they received.  Click on the picture shown above to get this sheet!  To get the British spelling version, click here:  Ghostly Candy Sort!  British Spelling.  
The remaining activities are for first and second grade.  You'll need the books to go with these.  There's a link at the end of this post of where you can acquire them.

We had a read-aloud for the story titled, The Teeny-Tiny Woman by Paul Galdone.  Are you familiar with this ghost story?  It's such a fun story to act out and have all the children shout, "TAKE IT!" at the end.  The main character in the story, the teeny-tiny woman, learns an important lesson: 

Don't Take Things That Belong To Someone Else.  

If you've heard the story before, you might be aware of another moral in the story which is:

Perseverance Yields Results.

Hmm. . . could it be that the little voice which kept saying, "Give me my bone!" was nothing more than a little dog wanting what was rightfully his returned to him?  Maybe we should say:

"Dogged Effort Wins Out in the End."

That's a lesson both teachers and students can use!

I don't want to miss this opportunity to evaluate listening comprehension.  I want to know who was tuning into the story and who had their thoughts elsewhere.  It's time prohibitive to ask each of the students a question about a read-aloud.  What usually happens is that a handful of questions are asked with a few of students called on to answer.  Information about the majority of the students' listening comprehension on a given read-aloud is unknown.  I've started to make quizzes to check listening comprehension after a read-aloud.  This way, I can measure all students' listening comprehension instead of just a few.  I used a multiple choice format to make the quizzes.  The quiz has ten questions.  However, the quiz can be reduced to five questions by eliminating the second page.  Since I'm measuring LISTENING comprehension and not READING comprehension, I read the questions and the answer choices to the students.  You can see the preview below.

If you'd like a copy of my quiz for, The Teeny-Tiny Woman by Paul Galdone, click the image shown below.

In order to compare and contrast one ghost story with another we also read, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.  If you're familiar with this story, you know that the beginning is the same as The Teeny-Tiny Woman with the main character being a woman that is going for a walk.  In Linda Williams's story, clothes and a pumpkin head make sounds and follow the old lady while she takes her walk.  Eventually the clothes and pumpkin head reveal to to the little old lady that they want to be frightening.  In fact, they are quite frustrated that they couldn't scare the little old lady.  The clever little old lady finds a purpose for the clothes and pumpkin head.  This turns out to be mutually beneficial to all . . . except for a group of crows!  Below are the pages from my quiz for The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.

If you would like my quiz for The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, click the image below:
Here are the links to where you can get the books:
The cute image graphics of the bone, ghost, candy corn, pumpkin, and jack-o-lantern came from

© 2013 Lessons by Molly.  All rights are reserved.