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math

Multiplication

I’m starting to teach multiplication strategies this week! It is one of my favorite units of the year. I use four strategies to teach multiplication when we first start our unit: equal groups, drawing arrays, repeated addition, and skip counting.

 

First, I always start with equal groups.

Second, we learn how to draw an array.

Third, we talk about how multiplication is the same as repeated addition.

Last, I teach my class how to skip count.

Skip counting is the method I like them to use ALL year long. The other three methods are great for the beginning, but in the months to come, skip counting is what helps them get the most quick and accurate answers. It also helps them transition and memorize their multiplication facts quicker!

During each unit, I teach my mini-lesson and whole group lesson on Monday. This means we glue each of the strategies into our interactive notebooks on Mondays. We also do some independent practice that day. This helps me decide who will be in each of my groups during math centers the rest of the week (Tuesday through Friday). For the rest of the week, they get to play games and enjoy math centers that help practice the skills we learned on Monday.

Third Grade September Math Centers

I also include some of my Third Grade September Math Centers in my rotations to help spiral review the skills we learned earlier in the year.

Additional Math Centers

I also use these multiplication math centers that practice all of the strategies we have learned. They are easy to understand and great for extra practice.

Skip Counting Posters

I also put up skip counting posters on the wall during the first two months of our multiplication unit as something the kids can refer to as a reference. This helps them start to learn the skip counting sequences by heart.

Other Games

I also want to mention two games that are perfect for teaching multiplication strategies! The first one is called Back to School Problems: Multiplication Strategies. Students have to collect school supplies each time they solve a multiplication equation.

The second game is called Introduction to Multiplication Strategies Sort. The students sort the cards of equal groups, arrays, picture forms, and repeated addition equations to match the correct multiplication equations.

Multiplication Quizzes

After we’ve been practicing these methods for several weeks, I also introduce them to our multiplication fact quizzes because these quizzes help show me who is starting to learn their facts and who needs more practice. I also have an ice cream party with my class at the end of the year for anyone who passes all of their multiplication facts (passing their division facts earns them extra toppings too!).

Finally, here are links to all of the products I talked about above!

How I Teach Multiplication Using Equal Groups

How I Teach Multiplication Using Arrays

How I Teach Multiplication Using Repeated Addition

How I Teach Multiplication Using Skip Counting

Multiplication Strategies BUNDLE!

Third Grade September Math Centers

Multiplication (3.OA.1) Centers

Skip Counting Posters

Multiplication Quizzes

Back to School: School Supply Problems Multiplication Strategies Game 

Intro to Multiplication Strategies Math Sort

 

 

How do you teach multiplication each year because I’d love to hear about it!

Math, Uncategorized

April Math Centers

These are the centers that I am putting out for the month of April. These April Math Centers are spiraling what my students are working on as we get closer to state testing. We are working on measuring with rulers and making line plots with fractional amounts.

April Math Centers Whole Group Lesson:

On Mondays, I do a whole group lesson on whatever school we are learning. To practice measurement, we glued this interactive lesson into our math notebooks during our whole group time.

At Teacher Time:

When students come see me at the back table, they are working on basic, on grade-level work. This week, they were given a packet of measuring worksheets to help them practice measuring to the nearest quarter inch. It’s difficult to use real rulers to practice this skill since a real ruler goes up to 1/16 of an inch. This packet I made perfectly aligns with what third graders need to know. You can find this packet HERE. 🙂 

At Free Choice:

When students go to their Free Choice April Math Centers station, they get to choose what they’d like to work on. All of the centers shown in the picture above are what we have on our Choice Chart this month. Each time they complete a center, they X it out. My students get to go to Free Choice for one of their three centers each day.

I am a big fan of puzzles so I’ve put my Spring Math Puzzles for Third Grade as the first six centers on my kids’ choice chart .

Next, to help them practice with rulers, I have them practicing measuring sand castles to the nearest inch. You can find this here. 

I’m also a big fan of brain teasers! There a lot of great ones on TPT. Here’s the one I have in my math centers for April. Emojis are great!

Each month, I also put a math sort in my free choice centers. These are great cut and paste activities that I require my students do each month. Their easy to use as a quick check and my kids really enjoy them too! This month, my students are doing the one that has them practice finding the measurement to the nearest inch, half inch, and quarter inch.

I am literally OBSESSED with these color by number pages! There are SO many to choose from on TPT but these are my favorite (from Inspiration 4 Education) for three reasons. First, they are reasonably priced. Second, you can’t see what the picture is until it’s colored in. Third, the questions and answers are all on the same page which means less copies for me and easier to follow directions for my kiddos! The picture above is from the Easter set I have!

Next up, I put my fractions as whole numbers game in my centers. Students glue each fraction next to the correct picture. It’s an easy way to practice this tricky skill for third graders. A lot of my students still mix up the difference between 4/4 and 4/1 at this point in the year. This is a great spiral review for them. Find it here. 

Teacher Choice Centers:

Teacher Choice centers are the centers I choose for my students to do each day. These are all of my Teacher Choice centers for April Math Centers.

 

I have a couple of Hungry for Peeps games out this week. My students have to sort the peeps into the correct mouth! It’s great for the month of April and is adorably cute:) The Hungry for Peep games I have out right now are identifying fractions, equivalent fractions, and division facts but I have over 30 of them in my TPT store. 

My students are also making Bunny Line Plots using this fun game from my April Monthly Math Centers pack. They have to practice making a line plot based on how tall each bunny is as a fraction.

This April Fool’s Game is also at my Teacher Choice centers this week. It helps students practice finding the area of rectilinear shapes and plays along with the April Fool’s Day theme.

My students can also ALWAYS use more practice with telling time. This game called Grab It! is perfect for practicing that skill. You can find it here.  It’s perfect for April Math Centers.

In addition to the games above, I have an Earth Day game out right now too where students learn about recycling and also practice measuring to the nearest quarter inch. I have a lot of these in my store. Here’s the link to the measuring to the nearest quarter inch and here’s the link to all of them. 

These Easter egg puzzles are a great racing game for up to four students. The kids each take a different colored egg and race to put all of their egg pieces back together again. Whoever does it the quickest wins! Find it here.  Great game for the month of April!

This QR code game is also a big hit in my classroom. Each time they solve a card, they scan the QR code and find the letter that matches it. They are able to solve the Mystery Phrase using the cards provided. You can find it here and this one practices identifying fractions.  These April Math Centers are perfect for Teacher Choice.

I love to use this game with four students in my classroom at a time. Each team gets a different set of cards that line up in a different order. This month, the cards practice breaking up equations using the distributive property. Find Line Them Up here!

This game is called Easter Egg Collector! Students have to sort the eggs into the correct basket based on the answers they provide. I have my students playing the Comparing Fractions version but you can find over 30 versions of it right here. 

Another skill my students always need more help with is creating and answering questions about bar graphs and pictographs. I put out this game this week that has students create questions about silly bar graphs and they had a blast with it! When a graph is silly, the kids are so much more engaged while learning at the same time! Here it is. 

Last but not least, my students are also practicing measurement with flamingos, unicorns, and dinosaurs! Sorry the pictures above are a little blurry. I quickly took some snapshots of them when they were already in their bags ready to go! I have my students start with the flamingos (measure to the nearest inch), then do the unicorns (measure to the nearest half inch), and then to the nearest quarter inch (dinosaurs). Find it here. 

That’s a wrap! These are all of the centers I am using in the first two weeks of April! I’ll be back in a few weeks to tell you what centers I’m putting out next! The picture above is is the homework I’ll be sending home to go along with measurement.

Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to blog about!

Math

Math Center Tips and Tricks

Here are ten math center tips and tricks that will help math centers flow more smoothly in your classroom!

#1:  Choose games that are easy to repeat. 

Anytime you choose games that you can repeat each week (but with a different skill), you spend less time talking about rules every time you put out new centers.

Some of my favorites include:

-Math Mysteries

-Color by Number

-Line Them Up

-Holiday Themed Games

-Puzzles

 #2: Take advantage of parent volunteers!

If you have parents that are willing to help out in your classroom, have them come in for math centers! I have a few that are a HUGE help to my students and do a great job making sure my lower ability students get the practice they need and my higher students understand the enrichment activities that I assign.

#3: Assign student helpers to assist you 

I use something called Teacher Clips in my classroom and they are a HUGE life saver!! I give a “teacher clip” to the four friends who I think would be the best teacher helpers during math that day. Anytime a student has a question about something during math centers, they have to go ask at least two of my teacher helpers before coming to interrupt me with my group at the back table. My kids and I both LOVE this concept. I typically choose my teacher helpers based on which kids were the most on-task the day before during centers or the kids that do a good job in the morning during morning work before we start math centers.

#4: Laminate EVERYTHING!

Anytime I can laminate something to reuse again the next year, I do! Now that I’ve been doing this a few years, I just have to pull out the centers that I used in previous years and am ready to roll!

 #5: Make math center time with your small group longer when necessary.

I always meet with my low group FIRST. That way, these students can get a little extra time with me if I need to extend their center time. These students benefit from the extra time with me while my high group won’t miss those few extra minutes.

#6: Circle the room while working with high kids.

When students come to the back table to work with me, I  assign each of my groups the same center work. To learn more about why I do this, click here. My high kids typically pick up our independent work much easier than my lower group. My high group is normally able to complete their Teacher Time activity with very few directions from me. During the time that my high group is with me, I take an opportunity to circle the room and also check in with my lower students while they’re working on their other math centers.

#7: Use photo boxes from Amazon or Michaels to organize your games and task cards! 

These amazing little boxes are great for keeping you organized when you have to change out your centers. I have tried manilla folders, paper bags, and plastic bags but the photo boxes are the BEST investment I have ever made!

#8: Have clear expectations how to clean up each math center.

I have my students complete math centers for about 18 minutes at each station. They also get about 2 minutes to clean up their center and move onto the next one. They know exactly where the centers need to go back and how to clean it up properly. We have a lot of discussions at the beginning of the year about how to NOT throw all of the pieces back into the box, how to make sure you have cleaned up all of your pieces, and to make sure you put the box back where you found it. A  lot of reminders and practice drills at the beginning of the year talking about this helps them stay on track the rest of the year.

#9: Give your students CHOICE in what they want to do!

When you give your students some choice in what math centers they can go to, they are more invested in their own learning. I use something called Choice Charts that allows my students some choice in what they’d like to practice. You can read more about them here and download them for FREE here.

#10: Do what works for you!

Math centers are not going to look identical in every classroom! Do what works for you! If you want to do three math centers a day, do it! If only two math centers a day is good for you, that’s okay! Some teachers like to have 20 centers to rotate between each cycle and some only have five. No matter what you choose, don’t overwhelm yourself. Choose what works best for you and your students will also appreciate it!

I hope these math center tips and tricks helped you prepare to start math centers in your own classroom! Let me know if there’s something else you’d like me to blog about relating to math centers!

Want to learn MORE about math centers? Check out these blog posts!

Part 1: Making Math Centers Work in Your Classroom

Part 2: Math Center Organization

Part 3: Math Centers Tips and Tricks (this post!)

 

Math, Uncategorized