Differentiated Math Fact Practice

Making Ten

4th Grade Resources

Texas Test Prep: Are You Ready for the Fourth Grade Math Test?

Texas Test Prep Fourth Grade Math Review

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What are you doing for your fourth-grade math test review? I have created this detailed review plan to make that seemingly overwhelming task a bit easier this spring.  I have used this review with success in my fourth-grade classroom and you can too!
Fourth Grade Texas Math Text Prep

There is both a five-week version and a three-week version.  It is not meant to take the place of teaching the standards but as a comprehensive review covering what has been taught throughout the year.  It covers all of the tested standards and puts an emphasis on the Readiness Standards.  You may purchase it here.
 Fourth Grade Math Texas Test Prep Plan Fourth Grade Math Texas Test Prep Plan
 Fourth Grade Math Texas Test Prep Plan

This Test Prep outline gives you a template to review all the fourth-grade TEKS for the STAAR test in May.  Both are one-page outlines that cover all the important concepts contained on the STAAR test.
This outline was put together based on my research of all information that has been published by the Texas Education Agency, including the “Introduction to the REVISED MATHEMATICS TEKS” and the Fourth Grade “Release Test Questions” in math.
I have also begun publishing resources to supplement the outline.  
Daily Quizzes
There is a complete set of daily Quizzes for all 13 Readiness Standards Fourth Grade Math TEKS that you may get here.
Fourth Grade Math Test Prep Readiness Standards Quizzes
   Fourth Grade Math Texas Test Prep Readiness Standards Quizzes
The daily quizzes are part of my Texas Math Test Prep materials for fourth grade. Included are one-page Daily Quizzes for all thirteen Fourth Grade Math Readiness TEKS. Each quiz includes five rigorous questions as STAAR test practice. The quizzes may be used for a quick check of mastery of the standard as well as for practice.  Answers keys are also included for all quizzes. They are aligned with the TEKS, but may also be used to review the testing related to the Common Core State Standards.
 Fourth Grade Math Texas Test Prep Readiness Standards Quizzes Fourth Grade Math Texas Test Prep Readiness Standards Quizzes
Crunch Time Quiz 4.2bCrunch Time 4.2G
Quizzes covering all 41 standards are in the works.  You may purchase this growing bundle here.
 Fourth Grade Texas Test Prep Math Quizzes

Task Cards
Task cards are part of my Texas Math Test Prep materials for fourth grade. When finished it will include over 18 sets of 32 task cards aligned to the TEKS.  They include rigorous questions as STAAR test practice. They may be used for a quick check of mastery of the standard as well as for practice.  Answers keys are also included for all task cards.  It is aligned with the Texas TEKS, but may also be used to review the testing related to the Common Core State Standards.
 Fourth Grade Test Prep Task Card Bundle

Puzzles and Games:

Puzzles and games are also part of my Texas Math Test Prep materials for fourth grade. It will include many types of puzzles and games to review the standards.  Again, all will be aligned with the Texas TEKS, but may also be used to review the testing related to the Common Core State Standards.  Here are some puzzles to get you started.
 Fourth Grade Math Puzzles and Games

More Review Resources:

I will be publishing more resources to support the five-week outline including, intervention materials, daily guided practice, and enrichment.  All are aligned with the Texas TEKS, but may also be used to review the testing related to the Common Core State Standards.  This is a growing bundle that you may get here.
 Crunch Time Texas Test Prep Bundle

Test prep season is here!  I hope that these resources will make things a little easier for you this spring.  You will be happy with what they can do for your test scores and kids will love them too.


To Have Homework...Or Not To Have Homework?

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Assigning homework has been a hotly debated topic in recent years, and for good reason. The traditional theory argues that homework offers students additional time to practice and reinforce the skills presented in class.  However, theory and reality are two different worlds, particularly with math homework at the elementary level.

Assigning homework has been a hotly debated topic in recent years, and for good reason. The traditional theory argues that homework offers students additional time to practice and reinforce the skills presented in class.  However, theory and reality are two different worlds, particularly with math homework at the elementary level.


The Downside to Assigning Homework

The most significant drawback to assigning homework is that you, as a teacher, may have to undo what a student has done and practiced.  Then, you will need to re-teach the lesson so the students comprehend and master the material.   

Do you assign homework?  Should we even be giving homeworkanymore?  Is homework effective?  What are some alternatives to homework?

What if you have a student who ...

  • doesn’t really understand the concepts?
  • has poor number sense?
  • has a parent at home “helping” to simply get the schoolwork done?
  • has a parent who CAN'T help them because of language or some other barrier?
  • rushes through assignments to just get it done?
  • uses math aids to finish the work (computer, calculator, etc)?
  • is fabulous with rote memorization, but still doesn’t quite understand number sense?
  • can’t quite figure out the assignment out of context or out of the classroom?
Researchers are learning that assigning homework can backfire for the child who doesn’t understand the concepts. While it seems perfectly logical that homework will strengthen the required math skills, the opposite can happen.

Alternatives to Homework 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should adopt a “one and done” policy, either, where you don’t practice and reinforce new skills. To work toward true mastery, the application of skills IS important. And of course, many schools REQUIRE the assignment of homework.

Daily cumulative review

Based on my experience along with recent research in the field, I think that daily cumulative review is a better solution for mastery and retention.  Math concepts and skills will spiral, scaffold, and layer as students age. By providing a daily cumulative review in your classroom (instead of homework), you will notice the disparity in your students’ knowledge base much sooner than you would by correcting homework assignments during non-school hours. 
  • This allows the children to ask you questions directly when they are confused.
  • You can address and misconceptions much sooner.
My cumulative review of choice: Number of the Day More about Number of the Day here.

Projects & Assessment: A better way to practice!

The true test in math isn’t rote memorization, but rather, applying new skills to problems or a solo or group project.

For instance, if you have been working on area and perimeter, you could assign a project to determine the length of fencing needed around a yard or playground near their home (there are so many great variations on this theme!). 

While doing an individual or group project, incorporate informal questions as a form of assessment to check for mastery. The process:
  1. Students work on a real-world problem related to what students are learning in class, either independently or in groups.
  2. Students explain their thinking to another student or in small groups, sharing different ways that were used to solve the problem.
  3. Further, check for understanding by having students write about how they solved the problem.
How we review projects and tasks becomes as important as the work itself. We must move beyond just getting answers to allowing students to justify how the problem was solved. How do we accomplish this with such limited, precious time?
This is a little cheat-sheet that I use when I review the problem-solving process with my students and follow-up on student work:
Math Talk Freebie
Click to get it free here.

Benefits to In-Class Work
Transitions to higher levels of math will be much easier when students have strong number sense.  By observing the review process firsthand, you can see the progress students are making in developing number sense.
  • First, it is easy to "check for understanding".
  • Second, you can spot common misconceptions early on and very quickly determine who needs more intensive small group work.  Then, you can individually guide and coach students as they further practice skills.
  • Third, you can easily see how students have created meaning for themselves by observing the problem-solving process.
I use anecdotal notes on a regular basis to assess students as they work.  More on my system here. 
What if I am REQUIRED to assign homework?
Try assigning only one problem that requires deeper thinking rather than a bunch of problems that are void of any real-work context. Here is an example of a one problem homework assignment:
Should I assign homework?
Click here to get this free template.

Bottom Line

Research indicates that students with no homework are NOT at a disadvantage.   Why not try these ideas and see what you think? You may simplify things and have less preparation for your classes, while your students will LOVE having NO homework!

Number of the Day

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Hi ya'll!

My students definitely have a favorite part of their day.  No, not recess, or lunch.  The favorite part of my kids' day -- EVERY DAY -- is the time that we complete a page from the Number of the Day folder. Until now I have not written about it because there is just so much that I want to say.  Well, now, I'm just gonna dive right in and talk about the units that have transformed my math teaching!
Number of the Day is a great rotation to begin your math block.
I first heard about doing Number of the Day activities during my first year of teaching, over twelve years ago. One of my colleagues had gone to a workshop and brought the idea back to the campus.  It goes like this: Every day a different number is explored by manipulating the number in a variety of different ways.  Pick one number, show different ways to represent the number.  The activity because it can be used in any grade.  The numbers and representation might be different and gives students of all ages the opportunity to work with numbers and their representation.  Number of the Day is great number sense practice for all grade levels.  There are just so many things that can be done!

Eight years ago, I started creating my own Number of the Day Pages.  I added some cute clip art so that my kiddos could color the sheets after they had completed the math part. They loved them. from there, I started creating one for each month with a graduating difficulty of skills.  And with each month, more skills were added and the clip art matched the season of the school year.

The next year, I started creating the units for TpT and tried to really "kick them up a notch."   I used some really cool frames and more clipart. The kids loved them.  As they have evolved, I not have a whole year set for kindergarten, second and third grade.  I also have a Number of the Week series for Pre-Kindergarten!

I have used guided math in my classroom for over ten years. My day always begins with a page from my Number of the Day units.

Kindergarten Number of the Day focuses on numbers form 1-20.  It correlates with the Common Core State Standards and the TEKS.
Back to School Kindergarten Number of the Day
Back to Scool
January Kindergarten Number of the Day
January
First Grade Number of the Day focuses on beginning place value and addition and subtraction strategies, including number lines.  

Back to School First Grade Number of the Day
Back to Scool
January First Grade Number of the Day
January
Second Grade Number of the Day continues with place value and beginning to understand the prerequisite of multiplication and division by introducing arrays.
Second Grade Back to School Number of the Day
Back to School
Second Grade January Number of the Day
January
Third Grade Number of the Day continues with larger numbers and multiplication strategies.
Third Grade Back to School Number of the Day
Back to School
Third Grade Back to School Number of the Day
January
Each grade level unit has four weeks of Numer of the Day practice including practice with hundred charts.  There are monthly thematic units for the whole year.  They are also conveniently bundled at a reduced price.  For all grades, each month builds on itself in both the types of skills covered and in the magnitude of numbers providing a natural spiral review of skills throughout the year.  Again, all of the skills are aligned with the Common Core State Standards and the TEKS.

Here are a couple of FREEBIES.  Each includes a whole week of Number of the Day practice to get you started.
First Grade Back to School Number of the Day FREEBIE
First Grade Back to School Freebie
Second Grade Back to School Number of the Day FREEBIE
Second Grade Back to School Freebie

Enjoy, my friends!

Debunking the Math Myth

THE MYTH: SOME PEOPLE ARE “MATH PEOPLE” AND

SOME PEOPLE ARE NOT

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If you have been around education for any amount of time, it’s likely that you have heard someone say “I’m just not a math person.”  Maybe you’ve even said it yourself. I’m here to tell you that this is just.not.the.case!  Everyone has the ability to learn and understand math.

Growing up, I always loved math and I knew I was a “math person.”  My mother was a “math person” (a math teacher to be exact) and she convinced me I was a “math person” too.  I have loved math for as long as I can remember and I am confident my math roots started at home.  But is it possible, that is was that math-nurturing environment that made me open to math, and not a different style of brain?

You see, the myth goes something like this . . . You have a math brain or you don’t.  You are born with it or you’re not. You’re either right-brained or left-brained.  A math brained (aka left-brained) person usually thinks more analytically and in more orderly fashion.  Left-brained people are usually categorized as objective, analytical and good at math.  However, the right-brained person is seen as more artistic, creative, emotional and had a higher propensity for language (oh yeah – and NOT very good at math)!
The foundation of all math skills is number sense, and we must build a strong sense of the value and relationship of numbers in our students.  Students need to “do” math – they need many opportunities to think through problems and solve problems.  It is this thinking part of math that helps students make the connections between numbers.  Sure there is a time and place for memorization but, if students don’t understand the concepts behind what they are memorizing they are never going to truly understand math.
“Ever wondered where this right-brained/left-brained thing came from?  I’ll share what I found out at the end of the post.”  
What about you?  Did you grow up thinking you were “math person” or “not a math person”? Everyone I asked could answer this question and they knew exactly what I was talking about.

You guys – this makes me so sad! Sad because 60-70 years of students have grown up believing something that wasn’t true.  Sad because I see adults, students, teachers, and friends who believe this myth and it has affected their lives, their self-esteem and their futures.  Sad because this myth is just not true.  It is a myth and in the words of my TV friends Adam and Jamie – this myth is B.U.S.T.E.D!

Recently, a Stanford University math professor, Jo Boaler, and author of Mathematical Mindsets, shared that new brain research shows that EVERYONE, with the right teaching and messages, can be successful in math.  Yes, there is a small part of the population with a mathematical learning disability, but studies show this is only around 5% of the population.  You can read more about her research here.

When I read this conclusion from Dr. Boaler, my brain did a little dance.  It was something that I knew inside me to be true, and something I desperately wanted my students to believe and live out.  You see, even at a young age, some of my students already believe they are “not math people” and I want to be part of changing that.
Are You a Math Person?  Are some people math people and some are not?

So what do we do now?

Well, in the 1990’s a study was done with kindergarten students.  This study found that any student, even those most at risk for failing in math, could be at the top of their class as long as it was taught in a way that gives the child the opportunity to understand it. 

That means its up to us – the teachers.  It’s time to expand our knowledge base and teaching methods.  It’s time for us to teach that although math may have one answer, there are many ways to get there.  It’s time for us to teach our students the different ways to see, think about and do math.

I know what you are thinking – who’s got time for that?  Well, I challenge you to think of it differently.  For the sake of our kids, who doesn’t have time for that? 

A great starting point is Dr. Jo Boaler’s book Mathematical Mindsets.  She does so much of the laborious work for us.  She’s done the research and clearly lays out the best mathematical tasks we should be teaching our students. Just as children’s language and vocabulary abilities grow based on the experiences they have, so do their math abilities.  Dr. Boaler believes that the brains ability to be successful in math has more to do with a person’s “approach to life, the messages they receive about their potential, and the opportunities they have to learn.”  Math is about a mindset, and we as teachers can start modeling a positive math mindset to our students.
1. Building a Strong Number Sense
The foundation of all math skills is number sense, and we must build a strong sense of the value and relationship of numbers in our students.  Students need to “do” math – they need many opportunities to think through problems and solve problems.  It is this thinking part of math that helps students make the connections between numbers.  Sure there is a time and place for memorization (can you say math facts) but . . . if students don’t understand the concepts behind what they are memorizing they are never going to truly understand math.
2. Make Problem Solving a Priority
We also need to provide students with a variety of approaches for problem-solving.  Every student will have a different light bulb moment – and it’s our job as teachers to reword, reteach, or find a new way to model the problem-solving process to help each student have that ‘aha’ moment.
3. Student-Centered Learning
In many subjects, we have seen a shift to more student-centered learning.  Teachers have stepped back from lecturing and taken on the role of guiding students through the thinking process of their learning.  I dare say it is time we take this approach in math too.  Sure, there are some rules or formulas students must learn, but once that is done, let them do the explaining, answering questions, and problem-solving.  We are always there to guide and correct misconceptions, but sometimes it’s the explanation of a fellow student that helps more than what we can say.
4. Help Math Connect to the Lives of Our Students
Math should always be taught in context to something our students can relate to.  Studies have shown that any learning happens faster when a connection to real life is made.  Especially for younger students, connecting the abstract concepts of math to concrete examples is an important part of learning foundational math skills.
5. Start With the Concrete
Our primary aged students start with manipulatives as they learn a new skill.  It’s a lot easier to see the process of addition when you take 2 blocks and 3 blocks and push them together to see a new group of 5 blocks.  This helps our students so much more than just memorizing 2+3=5.  As students learn the concrete they have more success moving into the abstract because they can make that brain connection.  Allowing students to talk about, write about and draw math is a great first step!
In the next few weeks, I am going to show you an in-depth look into my classroom and our math block.  I’m going to show you what I consider to be best practices, and my attempts at implementing them.  I’m going to do my very best to give you practical, easy to implement ideas for your classroom.  Until then – I want to challenge you to do this one thing – talk about math in a positive way in your classroom and around your students.  Find math in your everyday activities and celebrate it.  Start laying the foundation of making math a wonderful thing!
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P.S.

Side Note – but so worth that rabbit trail!  I started wondering about this left brained/right brained thing and did a little digging.  It appears that this idea began in the 1950’s and 1960’s and was based on the research of Nobel Peace Prize winner Roger Sperry.  You see, his research showed that the brain did in fact have different hemispheres and that different functions happened in different locations of the brain.  But, brain researcher Jeffery Anderson from the University of Utah concludes that while "[i]t is certainly the case that some people have more methodical, logical cognitive styles, and others more uninhibited, spontaneous styles, this has nothing to do on any level with the different functions of the [brain's] left and right hemisphere.  Separating the brain's two halves into “logical” and “emotional” hemispheres appears to be a function of pop psychology, not science. The pop-culture idea (creative vs. logical traits) has no support in the neuroscience community and flies in the face of decades of research about brain organization.  You can read more about Dr. Anderson’s research here.

Holiday Freebies and a Huge Raffle


FREE Holiday Printables for YOU!


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The holidays are a really busy time for everyone, but ESPECIALLY teachers! This is why I teamed up with some great TpT authors to give you FREE TEACHING CHRISTMAS Resources at your fingertips! Click the photo of what you want to download from TpT! Don’t forget to let the author know how much you appreciate their hard work in your feedback or blog comments so we are encouraged to keep the freebies flowing! Have a great holiday season!

      
 
    

    

       
      

AND...a Teacher Giveaway!

It’s that time of year to spread some #HolidayHappiness to some lucky educators! We teamed up to give away FOUR gifts for teachers because YOU deserve it! What a great way to start the new year. We will raffle off: 
❤️1 $250 TpT Gift Card 
❤️1 $250 Amazon Gift Card 
❤️2 MYSTERY Cash Prizes 
Enter the raffle here: 
Raffle Ends at 12:00 AM EST Thursday 12/19/19. The winner will be announced by 12/21/19. 👉You must be an educator to win and provide proof by providing your school name and grade level within 48 hours after contacted or a new random winner will be selected. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, or Teachers Pay Teachers. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this page and not to Facebook, Instagram, or Teachers Pay Teachers. No Purchase Required.
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