Differentiated Math Fact Practice

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4th Grade Resources

Tips for Introducing Telling Time in the Primary Grades

In the primary classroom, we teach lots of skills and concepts that our students will use for the rest of their lives.  Learning to tell time is just one of them.  Some math concepts are fairly straightforward, but telling time is not one of them.  Here's a few tips for introducing the concept of telling time in the primary classroom.

1. Get to Know the Clock

Before you jump right into the concept of telling time, introduce your students to the clock.  I'm a believer in teaching kids related vocabulary right from the start.  When you teach about time here's some of the key vocabulary that students should know:
  • clock face
  • hour hand
  • minute hand
  • analog
  • digital
One of my favorite ways to do this is with hands-on activities.  Students can build their own clock using a paper plate or work with practice clocks like these:

As students interact with the clock have them identify different parts and naming them using the vocabulary.  

2. Introducing Time to the Hour

Telling time to the hour is the best place to start when students learn to tell time. This is important because being able to identify the hour is necessary in other telling time skills.  While the traditional approach is to teach that when the minute hands points to the 12 we say "o'clock" I'd urge you to broaden that.  When we teach our students a hard and fast rule like this, we are setting them up for misunderstandings. 

Add a little science in with math and teach about how an analog clock works.  Learn about gears and how they move the hands.  As students understand the gears they will learn that because of the gears, the clock hands can't just jump from one number to the next.  Using this we can teach students that the hour actually happens when the hour hand is on the number or in the space after the number.  

A great visual for teaching this concept is this amazing clock that uses color to show each hour zone.

Give students lots of hands-on practice with time to the hour.  Students should be able to look at the clock and tell the time, but they also need to be able to create the time on the clock. 

It's also important to introduce students to telling time to the our on a digital clock.  This way students are exposed to the different forms of time to the hour that they will see in real life.

3. Time to the Half Hour and Beyond

Once students have a good understanding of telling time to the hour, then it's time to move on to time to the half hour.  Students will be able to use their knowledge and understanding of the "hour zone" and apply it to telling time at all levels.  

The general order of teaching is:

  1. Telling Time to the Hour
  2. Telling Time to the Half Hour
  3. Telling Time to the Quarter Hour / 15 minutes
  4. Telling Time to the Minute

While you might not go through all of these in the primary classroom, you will be laying the foundation for the years to come.  What's most important is that students understand the concepts so that they can apply and build on their understanding as they move to subsequent levels.

No Prep Resources

In addition to all of the hands-on practice, it's important that students just have opportunities to practice telling time.  Here are some no prep resources that can be used as you teach time to the hour and the half hour.

You can find these telling time resources in print and digital format in this Telling Time and Counting Money pack.  Practice these two important life skills with this single resource.  You can also find out how I teach counting coins in the blog post.

Save these Tips for Telling Time

Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back for these tips and ideas on teaching time in the primary classroom.

Number of the Day Digital Fun

If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, then you probably know I am a big fan of using Number of the Day in the classroom.  With the increase in the number of classrooms using 1 to 1 devices and the unexpected addition of distance learning, I decided to make a digital version of my favorite classroom number sense activity.

Number of the Day Builds Number Sense Skills

Number Sense.  The reason I love Number of the Day is because of number sense.  The foundation of math is the ability to fluently recognize, understand and use numbers in a variety of ways.  Starting at the youngest of ages we can help our students build a solid foundation for their math futures and it starts with number sense.

Number Sense Activities that Work

Over the years I have done many different number sense activities with my students.   I have pulled from my teacher toolbox the activities I feel have helped my students the most and put them into this fun, skills-based digital activity.

Digital Number of the Day activities helps students develop a strong number sense.  Ready to use on Google Slides your students can complete on any devide.  Share with Google Classroom or with a share link.

Here's a detailed look at the Digital Number of the Day activities.

Counting Sets

Each day starts out with counting out a set for the number of the day.  This is a great way to work on counting skills and one to one correspondence.  Learning and understanding 'how much' each number represents is an important part of building that number sense foundation.

Digital Number of the Day has students counting sets

As the numbers increase, it's not as time effective to count by ones, so higher numbers will include grouped counters which allows students to work on skip counting skills too!

Counting sets by ones or use skip counting

Using Tally Marks

Another important aspect to number sense is being able to use other forms, like tally marks, to represent the number.  Tally marks are great because 1) they are commonly used in real life which helps our students connect their learning to everyday life; and 2) they introduce the concept of skip counting by fives.

Use tally marks to represent a number with the digital number of the day activities

Each slide was intentionally set up to include a 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 set of tally marks.  This allows students to work at their skill level.  If a student needs to count by ones, they can.  But it also opens the door to the concepts of addition and subtraction by asking questions like "how many more?"

Tally marks help with skip counting

Standard Form

One of the most basic levels of understanding numbers is knowing how to write the number in standard form.  Learning proper writing formation for the digits 0-9, and then knowing how to put those digits together to form different numbers is one of the first skills our students learn.  This is a precursor skill to learning about place value.

Learning to write numbers helps students with standard form

Since this is a digital activity, students will also develop some basic technology skills.  This activity introduces students to typing.

Digital Number of the Day also works on basic technology skills like typing

Place Value

Speaking of place value . . . Number of the Day would not be complete without using place value to break down the number.  Students will add each number into the place value chart and then build the number using place value blocks.

Place Value is a key part of developing a number sense

Building numbers with place value blocks is a great way to

This is a skill that continues to build on itself as students start working with larger numbers.  Understanding what each of the place value columns represents is a key part to building that number sense.  It is this that helps students know that the digit '4' does not always equal the same quantity.

Down the road, students will also be introduced to using place value to write expanded form.

Using expanded form as a way to represent the value of numbers as part of digital number of the day

Using Ten Frames

Building numbers in ten frames is another great way for students to learn about quantity.  Initially, students can use ten frames to count out sets, but as their knowledge of place value grows they can connect the sets of tens and ones to the number.  

Learning to represent a number on a tens frame helps students understand the quantity

While students start out filling the ten frame one at a time, essentially counting by ones to build the number, the complexity will increase as students work with larger numbers.  Later, students will be able to count by tens and fill a ten frame using skip counting.

ten frames is a great way to skip count by tens

Counting & Ordering Numbers

Counting might just be the first skill children learn with numbers.  Even before they can recognize a number, they can often count.  But being able to memorize some words in order does not mean that students understand the concept of counting.  It is important to give our students lots of practice counting in varied forms.  Students should be able to count forwards and backwards starting at 1 or another number.  Students should also be able to fill in missing numbers in a series of numbers that are provided.  Through this digital Number of the Day activity students will get lots of opportunities doing this.

finding missing numbers on a number line

digital number of the day and finding missing numbers

As students become more familiar with the processes and working with higher numbers, the activities change slightly so students stay challenged.  In the number line activity above, students are dragging in the correct number.  However, a couple of months later, they will be typing in the missing numbers without scaffolded supports.

using a number line to fill in missing numbers

filling in missing numbers is a key number sense skill

Students will continue to to be challenged with counting from any starting point and filling in missing numbers.

skill levels gradually increase as numbers increase on digital number of the day

Relating With Other Numbers

Once students have an understanding of what a number represents and numbers in order, learning how numbers relate to each other is a skill students will develop.  Using a hundreds chart is a great way for students to not only see numbers in order, but also how they relate to one another.  On these digital Number of the Day activities students will be challenged to think about numbers on a hundreds chart as they relate to the target number.

Students will fill in the parts of a hundred chart that touch the target number.  Students will start with the concepts of one less and one more. 

relating numbers to a hundred chart helps with number sense

 Then they will add in the concepts of ten less and ten more.

working with more and less on digital number of the day

As students skills continue to grow, so does the challenge they will see in the Number of the Day activities.  

harder more and less on digital number of the day

While keeping the activities consistent, they continue to gradually become more difficult as students are able.  This allows the students to have the benefit of a spiral review that also continues moving them forward in their learning too!

Basic Operations

As students start working with higher numbers, they will also use the target number to practice some basic addition and subtraction.  Using the number and images, students are able to use their counting skills to add or subtract.

using numbers in basic operations

using basic addition and subtraction to learn more about numbers

Solid Number Sense Skills

Using these activities on a daily basis students will build a solid number sense foundation.  This activity can be done as a whole group on a Smartboard or single device.  What is great about this option is the modeling that can be done with the thinking and the activities.  However, since it is digital it can also easily be shared with students to complete individually.  This could be done at the same time as the group to increase engagement or it could be done individually as morning work, a math warm-up or even a daily math center.   

This daily practice with a variety of skills is also a great informal assessment of what your students are learning and struggling with.  As you see class struggles you can use this information to reteach skills and concepts.  You can also add targeted skill practice in math centers.  For individual struggles you can do targeted reteaching through small group instruction.  

They key for our students to developing fluency with numbers is the repeated practice of number sense skills.  By adding Number of the Day to your daily math schedule your students will be well on their way.

Save These Number Sense Ideas

Just pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back and quickly find these number sense ideas.

Build solid number sense skills with Number of the Day.  This digital daily math helps students build important number sense skills so they they can work fluently with numbers.  Skills include recognizing and writing numbers, place value, missing numbers and basic addition and subtraction.

All About Me With a Math Twist

The beginning of the school year is always a great time to get to know your students.  But really, is there a bad time to get to know your students better?  Here's how I get to know students in my math classroom.

All About Me activity with a math twist is a great digital activity to get to know your students better.

Sometimes get-to-know-you activities seem better suited as a language arts activity with the writing and speaking standards.  Sometimes they don't seem to connect to any academic skills.  While I know how very important it is to use activities of this nature to build a classroom community and get to know my students, I really love when they connect to our learning too.  That is what I created these Math About Me activities.

Students will tell about the numbers that describe them  (their age, number of people in their family, etc.)  A great get to know you activity in the math classroom.

One Activity - Three Goals

I'm all about double and triple dipping as long as it's not with my chips and salsa.  But when it comes to classroom activities I LOVE when an activity has 2 or 3 purposes.  The more the better.  That is the case with the Math About Me digital activities.

Goal 1: Get to Know Your Students

With this fun and engaging digital activity, you have the opportunity to get to know your students and some facts about them and their family.  This is a great way to build connections in your classroom.

All About Me activity that is perfect for math class.  Digital activity for elementary students.

Goal 2: Informal Assessment of Math Skills

Within the Math About Me activity, students will be working with numbers in a variety of ways.  This is a great way to informally assess your students math skills and get a little insight into where they are, what they do well, and what they might be struggling with.

Get to know your students and practice math skills with this Math About Me digital activity.

Goal 3: Technology Skills

This All About Me activity is a digital activity that uses Google Slides.  Through the activity students will learn and practice typing and using text boxes, clicking and completing a drag and drop function.  All of these are skills we will use with other digital activities throughout the year.  So while the ultimate goal is getting to know my students, I can also use this as a great opportunity to begin teaching how to use the Google apps and complete basic technology functions.

Math About Me for 1st & 2nd Grade

This Math About Me activity was designed for first and second grade students, although with some reading help it could be completed by kindergarten students too!  The math part of this get to know you activity focuses on numbers and building numbers with ten frames and tally marks

1st and 2nd grade students will love this All About Me activity

Students will have a chance to tell about themselves and see the numbers associated with them, their family and their pets.  

Get to know your students and the numbers in their life with Math About Me for 1st & 2nd Grade.  You can find this fun digital activity in my store on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Digital Math All About Me Activity for 1st and 2nd Grades

Math About Me for 3rd & 4th Grade

I created a second version of Math About Me for 3rd & 4th grade students.  While the get to know you parts of the activity are similar to the version for younger students, the math aspects are not.  Students will use "their numbers" and calculate 10 more and 100 more as well as writing equations with numbers related to their life.  

Digital Math activity and get to know you activity for elementary students

Here's some of the fun your students will have with Math About Me for elementary students.

You can find this Math About Me Activity in my TpT store too!

Digital Math About Me Activity for 3rd and 4th grades

I love getting my students to work with numbers in ways that are different and fun and these Math About Me activities do just that.  So why not get to know your students a little better and have some math fun too!

Pin it to Save it!

Pin this to your favorite Pinterest board so you can quickly get back to these fun and engaging All About Me activities with a math twist.

Get to know you students and their numbers with this fun digital All About Me activity with a math twist.

Teaching Kids to Count Money Step by Step

I'm sure you've heard it said before, "When will I ever use this," about many math concepts.  And it might be true that some higher level math skills won't be used if you aren't in a career with a math focus.  But there are many math skills that we use in our daily lives and counting money is one of them.  Teaching kids to count money is one of those skills that our students will use for the rest of their lives.  So we owe it to them to guide them to mastery on this skill.  

step by step approach to teaching kids how to count money

Before You Teach Kids to Count Money

skip counting is an important precursor to teaching kids to count coinsBefore jumping in to counting money, it is really important that kids know how to skip count by 5's, 10's and 25's.  The more fluently they can skip count the more fluently they will be able to count money.  Obviously, counting by 1's is also an important foundational skill that will help kids learn to count money.  

Your students don't need to have mastered skip counting, but having an understanding of the concept will be very important.  If they cannot skip count by memory then it will also be important to have a skip counting tool in place that they can use as they count money.

Step 1: The Value of Coins

The first step in teaching kids to count money is to make sure that they can identify each of the coins and its value.  Students should be able to identify a coin by both the front and back side, give its name and how much it is worth.  

Step 2: Sorting the Coins

One of the easiest ways to teach kids to count money is to start by sorting the coins into groups.  Once you have all of the same coin together, the next step will be much easier.  Later, as students find counting coins easier, you can skip this step and keep the coins mixed up.  But for starting out, this sorting step will make the rest of the process easier for the students.

sorting coins is the first step in counting money

Step 3: Start with the Biggest Value and Count On

Have students find the coins with the biggest value.  Then show students that since all of the coins in that group have the same value they can use skip counting to count them.  If you are using actual coins, have students count as they touch the coin and drag it into a new pile.

If you are using pictures of coins on a worksheet or practice page, have students write in the value of each coin on the picture.  Then have them skip count starting with the biggest value.  

Once they skip counted all the coins with the largest value, then move to the coins with the next largest value.  Start counting where you left off and just adjust what you are skip counting by.  Here's an example:

how to skip count as you count money example

In this picture you can see 3 quarters, 3 dimes and 5 pennies.  This is what the counting process should sound like for this group of coins - quarter first, then dimes, pennies last.  This is what it should sound like:
25 - 50 - 75 - 85 - 95 - 105 - 106 - 107 - 108 - 109- 110

This process is called Counting On and it is one of the easiest ways to teach kids how to count coins.  In fact, although as an adult you probably don't think about each of these steps, it is very likely that this is how you count money without even realizing it.

Teaching kids to count money doesn't have to be hard if you follow these steps.  Start with one coin and work through the steps.  When students can count multiples of each individual coin then move to two different coins in the group and work through the steps.  Once students can count two different coins then add a third coin and work through the steps.  Just slowly build upon the last lesson as students show that they are ready!  

When people tell me they are having problems with their class learning to count money I immediately wonder what step they are missing.  After a few minutes of talking I can usually pin point the problem, and it always comes back to the steps.  Sometimes they don't have a skip counting foundation and other times they jump from Step 1 to multiple coins Step 3 and just skip over the step by step approach.  

Practice, Practice, Practice

Once students have learned the steps for counting coins, they need to practice, practice and practice so more!  

Hands-On Practice

One of my favorite ways to practice counting coins is to play a game called Grab Bag!  Here I take a small bag of coins and have each randomly grab a few from the bag.  Then we practice going through the steps and counting the coins.

The great thing about the Grab Bag is that you can fill the bag with the coins you are working on, or the coins your kids are struggling with.  So, if you are working on counting by pennies and nickels, then you would only put pennies and nickels in the bag.  This makes it really easy to differentiate for your students.  This is a really fun game to play during small group instruction.  Once students can count coins independently, you can use the Grab Bag game as a math center.

Written Practice

Money Counting Practice Pages are another great way to practice counting coins.  My favorite counting coins practice pages are in this Time & Money set!  

time and money practice set by Mrs. Balius

What I love about this set is that it includes instructional posters and practice pages in an order that supports kids from the beginning to more advanced coin counting.  The instructional posters can be used as you teach your lessons and then hung in the room to provide a learning tool that your students can refer back to.  

sample instructional posters for teaching kids to count money

These posters will take you from Step 1 all the way through the coin counting process.  You even get posters for the most advanced activities which requires students to apply what they know to a real world situation in the "Do I Have Enough" activities.

Next comes the variety of practice pages that will give your students the repeated practice necessary to learn and master this skill.  First, students work on counting money that is all one coin.  Then they work on counting money that is displayed in a line, already in order by value. Next they will have to order the money on their own when the coins are left in a random group.  Finally, they will apply what they have learned to decide if they have enough money to buy something.

sample practice pages for teaching kids to count money

You can also find these activities in digital format too!  Students can complete these activities using Google Slides which makes them perfect for classroom technology integration, distance learning, or a 1:1 classroom setting.  

digital activities for counting money

Students will type into text boxes and move objects to provide their answers on the digital activities.  Look at the digital activities in action.

Get Counting!

Grab these fun and interactive counting money activities (and get some fun activities for learning to tell time too)!

If you aren't quite ready, then pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you can come back quickly when you it's time to teach your students all about counting coins.

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