Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Comparisons are often tricky to explain. Comparing requires noticing how two things are the same, or different and in math we go beyond to quantify how alike or different two things are.

For my kiddies, this is never easy!

Enter: Hand Motions.

Some students can do very well with words alone and can visually work through the action of a word problem. Others MUST draw out a picture or a diagram before things "click" for them. But what about our kinesthetic learners? I had quite a few and hand motions fit the bill for them!

I have created a video below to demonstrate the hand motions. Today I am using my Halloween Sort & Solve (... they were a flash freebie today on Facebook!! Not following me over there? Start!)

The basic rules for hand motions are as follows:
* A known quantity is shown as an open hand, palm up.
* An unknown quantity is shown as a closed hand.

When using hand motions to solve a comparison problem, remember:
* If a quantity is "greater, more, bigger" etc. Make that hand higher.
* If a quantity is "less, fewer, smaller than" etc. Make that hand lower.
* If you do not know the difference between two quantities, move hands back and forth to show the missing difference.

This may seem a bit contrived until you try it, but I challenge you to try it yourself and with your students. Once you know the very few basic rules it is very intuitive and really can help your students to solve problems!

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On the first day of "Christmas"...

Who grabbed the flash freebie?? Hopefully, you! Let's do a quick rundown of what is in a sort & solve pack and why I love them sooo very much.

(And if you didn't grab it in time, never fear, the "Back to School" themed pack is on sale in my store for the rest of the day!)

First, 15 word problems.

The problems are divided into 3 sets. A-E are "part part whole" problems, F-J are "change" type problems and K-O are "comparison" type word problems. When I used a sort & solve with my kids, we started out by just sorting the 5 questions in a problem type, practicing how to act out the word problem with our hands, and practicing drawing a diagram for that problem type. As they became more proficient, I would combine the cards together and allow them to sort & solve.

**Notice there are 5 problems per type. Sometimes it's 3 addition and 2 subtraction. Sometimes it's 2 addition and 3 subtraction. It's a HUGE pet peeve of mine when there are an even number of sort cards and the kids know to just even up the columns at the end. Always keeping my little friends on their toes :)

In the pack you will also get headers for sorting as well.

You might be saying to yourself "A whole half sheet for two little headers?!! Are you out of your mind??!" No, I'm not. I like to keep them big so that I can do a full class sort & solve. You can also stick circle magnets to the back and sort on the white board. If you want smaller cards, just print two to a page!

Last, the recording sheet and answer page. I encourage my students to draw a diagram and write an equation in the box. Whatever works for you and your curriculum will be fine! An answer key is also included.

Hopefully this "tour" has been helpful to you. Check back for tomorrow's flash freebie. **Halloween Themed!**

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Monday, June 30, 2014

12 Days of Christmas... In July!

Summer Vacation Is HERE!!!!

Time to start blogging again. [Insert winking emoticon].

Everyone loves a freebie. Well, how about 12 days of flash freebies!? Each weekday I will be debuting a new "Sort & Solve: Sums to 100" themed pack. 12 months in the year? You guessed it, 12 themed packs. Hence, 12 days of Christmas! If you happen to grab all 12 flash freebies, you will have collected the full bundle. If not? I will keep each pack on sale for the remainder of the day.

If you don't already, be sure to click my Facebook link at the side of the page and follow me there so that you can have instant notification when the flash freebie goes up for the day!

I will share more information on how the packs work each day, but for now...
Here's a link describing how my students used hand motions to act out different types of addition and subtraction word problems in order to determine how to solve the problem. I will be posting more videos in order to show you the other problem types and associated hand motions over the next few days.

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