Wednesday, 26 November 2014

DIY Dice - Idea #4

In a previous post, I talked about filling your classroom with math visuals and manipulatives for little, to no money. One of my suggestions was making your own dice...quiet dice that is!

I found some great foam cubes at my local Dollar Tree, grabbed myself a fine-tip Sharpie, summoned my creativeness, and came up with a few different ways to use them in my math classroom.

If you want to check out the previous DIY dice ideas, you can do so here.

This idea is about 8 months overdue. The resource mentioned in this post was about 85% done...then I had my son...and now you understand the long delay in between this post and my last DIY dice post...

DIY Dice - Idea #4

Algebra Dice 

Again, the thing I love most about using these dice is it allows for easy differentiation. These activities allow students to develop their understanding at their own rate, thus becoming more confident learners. Each set of dice can be slightly different to accommodate each student's abilities. . One group could be working with single digits, one with double digits, etc. Plus, you can easily keep them organized by color-coding them, i.e. single digits are red, double digits are blue, etc.

I also love that the possibilities with these dice are endless. For this set of activities, all you really need are some different number dice, but just for fun I also create some variable dice.

 Create dice with different letters on the sides to represent variables, or 3 x’s and 3 y’s. Students can roll them along with the number dice to create a whole equation.

Here is an activity my students complete with algebra dice.

Students roll the dice to determine the value of x. Using substitution they then solve the equation. If the students are working in partners or groups they can race each other, and then compare answers in order to correct. I think a little competition always helps keep them engaged.

...and here is a game my students play with algebra dice.

Similar to the game of war, students have to use their skills of substitution to determine who has the highest answer.

You can find the whole collection of activities and games using DIY Algebra Dice here. There are over 10 activities and printables included in the pack!


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Bright Ideas Round-up

Welcome to the November edition of the Bright Ideas Link- Up! This one is a special one! Over the past 10 months, we have shared thousands of great ideas through our monthly Bright Ideas event. This month, we're recapping all of those great ideas, just in case you missed any! 

Below you will find some of my bright ideas from the past several months: 

I love using Number chips to add a visual and kinesthetic component to a math lesson. 
Find out how easy these are to make and use here.

I always establishing a math routine in my classroom right from the beginning of the year. It really helps with those transition times, and makes the most out of your class time. Read about my routine here.

Back in March, I wrote about how I set up my student-led conferences, which you can read 
all about here.

If you want to take a look at all my bright ideas, just click here.

I hope that you've enjoyed these bright ideas, and that you have found an idea that you can use in your own classroom. Be sure to check out the link up below for tons more bright ideas from my blogging friends! 

Thanks for visiting! 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Math Teacher of TpT Volume 2

Did you grab a copy of the "Math Teachers of TpT" CD a couple months back?
It was packed with an awesome assortment of resources from your favourite math teacher-authors!

Guess what???

We just released VOLUME 2!

That's right! There is a 2nd CD with an all new collection of fantastic math resources for grades 3 - 9.

 The total value of all of these resources is over $125, and you can grab it for only $25
That's an 80% savings!

What did I add to the mix?

{Click on the image to read the full description in my TpT store}

Want to know more about what you will be getting on this exclusive CD bundle? 

Head on over to to check it out and grab your copy!

There is a very limited quantity - once we're sold out, they're gone forever!

Don't miss out! 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Math is Real Life - November 2014 Edition

 I am happy to once again join up with the fabulous linky hosted by Miss Math Dork, 4mulafun, The Teacher Studio, and Teaching to Inspire in 5th! 

Did you survive Halloween?
I think all teachers breathed a collective sigh of relief when they realized that it was on a Friday this year!

My Halloween was a little hectic. Why? Two days before Halloween I still didn't have a costume for my son. I couldn't find anything in the stores, at least nothing that was worth spending any money on, so I thought I could just make him a costume. I consider myself to be a pretty crafty person, so why not give it a shot? My son said he wanted to be a why not make him into a truck? 

First I needed some sort of plan, since I had no idea how to construct a truck out of thin air...Pinterest here I come.

Below is a picture of the different stages of construction.

First, I needed to find a box. Luckily with kiddos in the house, I just happened to have a few diaper boxes kicking around. After a quick measurement of my son, I determined which box would be the best fit. Keeping in mind that a requirement of trick or treating in Winnipeg, is that the costume must fit over a snow suit!

Second, I needed to make a few measurements, trace my wheels, cut away the excess cardboard, and reinforce the whole thing with tape.

Third, we needed a few coats of paint. Primer, then about 5 coats of blue paint! Luckily I had some little hands to help with the painting!

Fourth, we added the finishing touches - traced out the doors and windows, added bumpers, licence plates, and working headlights. 

Fifth, I made a last minute call to my husband with the width of the front end and the diameter of the wheels so he could quickly cut out a grill, rims and a few decals. This is what made the costume! Thanks goodness my husband is a welding instructor.

Lastly, I created some shoulder straps out of blue duct tape, and VOILA, we have a truck!

I was pretty happy with how it turned out and my son was too! It was definitely a learning process and there was some problem solving involved, but in the end it came together pretty easily.

What math was involved in this frantic mom's DIY costume? Definitely measurement, as well as time constraints. I was watching that clock! I kid you not, this costume was finished the second we walked out the door to join the neighbourhood kids for a night of trick or treating!

Luckily I will have this costume ready to go for my younger son, but my oldest already informed me he wants to be a truck again next year...I guess I better find a bigger box!

'til next month!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Reading Numbers

I recently joined up with a group of math teacher bloggers to bring you a blog hop about squashing mathematical misconceptions. This hop's topic was about place value. You can read my earlier post here.

I believe that place value is so important it deserves more than one post, so I have a few to share with you over the coming weeks.

Today I would like to talk about place value and its importance when reading numbers.
Without a solid understanding of place value students will never be able to read/write numbers properly.

Even in grade 8, I still have students who struggle with reading numbers. Anything over 4 digits takes a little more thought...throw in a decimal and YIKES!

Introducing... THE NUMBER GENERATOR 2000!!

I know, I know, it looks super students are always in awe when I unveil it! ;)

However, all it is, is a large poster with the numbers 1-6 printed on it (you could do more, or switch up the numbers) and a magnet with a large black circle to represent a decimal.

I tape the poster up on my whiteboard, which is magnetic, and I can make any number I want by moving around the decimal. Amazing isn't it?

Now, I know what you are wondering...what does the NUMBER GENERATOR do??

Well, it has the ability to change into a variety of different numbers...just move the decimal. As the decimal moves, the place values change, creating a new number!

One thousand, two hundred thirty-four and fifty-six hundredths

One and twenty-three thousand, four hundred fifty-six hundred thousandths

Using the poster, we practice reading numbers as a whole class.
Each time I move the decimal the students need to re-evaluate the place values of the digits in order to determine how to say/read the number.
I also have an identical set of smaller posters that I use when I hold math interviews with individual students.

This number generator visual would also work great when working with powers of ten or scientific notation, as the students can actually see the decimal (magnet) move places.

Need some help getting your students to remember how to read decimals? Here's a great anchor chart from Fabulous Finch Facts.

If you were interested in using place value tents, like the ones I mentioned in my earlier post, I just posted a set covering millions to millionths in my store. You can check them out here.