Monday, August 11, 2014

Place Value Freebie!

Thank you for sticking with me through my transition from Polka Dots & Teaching Tots to The Math Spot! I have a gift for you for sticking around :)

It's a place value game for your 4th & 5th grade students! I created this politically correct version of hangman to play with my students at the beginning of the school year because place value is one of the first topic we will study. Students NEED to know the names and relationships between the periods on the place value chart. This game will help to orient to students to the place value chart and get them to start using appropriate place value vocabulary.

These place value cards are cut apart and put into a deck face down. The student playing the teacher gets to hold onto these cards. They choose one card to begin the game. 

The student playing the guesser guesses a digit. The teacher tells them if the digit is in their number. If the digit IS in the number, they tell them which place value or place values the digit goes in. I would recommend laminating this sheet for repeated plays! 

If the digit the guesser guesses is NOT in the number, the guesser has to cross out a balloon. If all of the balloons are crossed out, the girl jumps into the pool! See, a little less violent :) Can your students guess the whole number before the girl jumps in the pool? 

I have included two versions so that students learning decimal numbers can play as well! 

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


Please excuse my dust as I change over from "Polka Dots & Teaching Tots" to my new identity as "The Math Spot".

This is a bittersweet change. I began this blog over 2 years ago as Polka Dots & Teaching Tots. Since then I have worked under this identity on a TPT store, through my Facebook page and on Pinterest.

While I loved that name and the feel of the site, I know that my new name and identity better represent me and the majority of the work I do! If you have been to my TPT store, you know that around 80% of my resources are in math. This is my true passion. I love to create hands on activities along with other materials to make teaching math more manageable.

I hope you will continue to follow me as I assume my new, more accurate, identity!

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

5 Math Websites To Spice Up Your Computer Station

Math websites can be an invaluable resource in the classroom! Well crafted websites can:

  • Reinforce classroom instruction
  • Provide independent practice
  • Serve as a student led station during guided math
  • Be a resource for parents looking to support their child's learning at home
On my own classroom website I have a section devoted to math websites. When my students have free time they will often elect to go to these websites to brush up on their math skills and even to go head to head in math competition with their friends. Here are 10 websites which my students and I consider favorites! 

In this game, students race against the clock to create different amounts of money using a specified number of coins. A "Currency Help Mode" option displays the value of each coin for students who may need the additional support. This game is addictive!! The game is part of the larger Hooda Math website. 

This input/output table game is perfect for students who have learned but are still exploring the 4 operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The game features simple single step input/output tables. The game is on the PBS Math Games for Kids website. 

Sticking with the PBS theme for a moment, you may have recognized the game above as being from a PBS cartoon. The show is Cyberchase and EVERY episode is online for free on the PBS website. I have a love/hate relationship with this show. I hate that an episode takes 20 minutes to watch because it's a bit of a time suck but I love that the show really helps to reinforce some math concepts. The episode about dividing up Halloween candy into equal groups provides a real light bulb moment for students who don't understand the idea of EQUAL groups. 

This game and the other related "racing" games on the website are probably the #1 favorite math website that I offer to my students on the classroom website. Students are able to set up a game where they can race against each other and against other students in testing their math facts. I have linked to the multiplication races, however, there are addition, subtraction, fractions, etc. on the website. Students also get to choose their "name" and the color of their car so there's an extra novelty involved as well. It may not seem like much, but if you're an 8 year old boy, racing a yellow car named "BumbleB" is certainly a novelty! 

This game comes from Mr. Nusbaumm's Learning & Fun website. It's a fun pizza fraction game which reinforces direction following and creating a visual representation of a fraction. Students read the pizza order and create a pizza with toppings matching the order. For example, 1/4 pepperoni, 1/2 cheese, 1/4 mushrooms. The catch is that the pizzas come in different sizes. A "Super Extra Large" pizza may have 16 pieces but may require students to fill 2/8 with cheese... equivalent fractions in action! 

Check out these websites and the larger sites they are a part of to spice up your own math computer station! 

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