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### Making Addition and Subtraction Facts Stick

I've been wracking my brain for years, trying to think of a way to get those basic facts to stick! There is way too much math that depends on knowing the basic facts, so we want the little ones to go beyond the "counting on fingers" or "counting on in your head" stage!

We've been using this sequence for learning facts at my school, and I must say, the kids are getting it! We all know it's not a good idea to introduce all the facts at once. There are 200 facts to be learned, and learning them in some systematic way is necessary. My knowledge of brain based learning tells me we need to help the children make connections, use visuals like color and pictures, practice frequently, add a social component, and make it fun. This will all help those facts stick!

I've taken 8 basic patterns and made 8 color coded sets of cards to be practiced based on these concepts:  plus one families, plus 10 families, plus 9 families, sums of 10, doubles, doubles plus 1, plus 2 families, and the remaining facts.  The "families" include 2 addition and 2 subtraction facts for each fact.  (For example, 1+8=9, 8+1=9, 9-1=8, and 9-8=1 are all connected.) These connections help children remember! I've even included a game that's connected to the cute little pictures on each card.

Practicing the facts is only half the challenge.  The other challenge is showing mastery.

I've included assessments with each set.  There are 2 basic assessments with each family. The 2 assessments are both similar. I just thought you'd like a second option so they aren't taking the exact same assessment each time. Each assessment has 5 columns of 10 facts.  I give the children one minute to complete as many facts as they can. (The timing helps distinguish between the kids who know the facts, and the kids who still need to figure them out.) I have found that kids that get 20 - 25 facts in a minute are definitely ready to move on to the next level. (This, of course, is up to you.) Some kids really need a one on one assessment with the cards, as their writing skills just can't keep up with their thinking skills.

Want to check it out? See the image below for the freebie version of the first set along with the assessments. Addition and Subtraction Fact Fluency Freebie!

## How do you help the facts stick?

### Tips for Keeping Creative Sub Plans

Did you ever notice it's easier to go to school sick rather than go through the trouble of writing up sub plans? I stayed ultra late at school last night making plans for today's sub. (I'm not known for leaving early anyway, but last night was totally ridiculous!)

I've learned to keep a tub of emergency plans. I have a folder for each day of the week, and detailed descriptions of  my day inside each folder. I also have a binder that includes emergency information, procedures, and management ideas.

I also keep folders for each subject that is filled with already run off materials ready for an emergency day. After having subbed at every level, I know how important it is to have clear, easy to understand directions so the kids stay engaged and don't have any opportunities to make the sub crazy.

The trick is to have the folders all updated to include materials that the children can do which isn't necessarily dependent on something the children are learning now.

## Good ideas to have on hand:

1. Practice on a skill that needs frequent review, like math facts, sight words, or parts of speech.
2. Writing prompts.
3. Vocabulary builders.
4 . Mini units that can be done in a day.

Here are some examples of things I keep in my sub tub or leave for subs:

I always keep a supply of these letter writing pages. I usually make a set with one letter addressed to everyone in the class. Then they choose one and write to that person! This is a "win-win" activity. Everyone writes a letter, and everyone gets a letter! (Explore image for this resource.)

This number booklet to 1,000 can be used any time of year.  (Explore image for freebie!)

Here's a math game the kiddos can play over and over, and all they need is a deck of playing cards! It practices addition skills, and gets them thinking about strategies! No, we don't do the gambling version! (Explore image for freebie!)

There's always an opportunity for kids to come up with a themed ABC booklet.  This is a fun activity to start off by reading an ABC book or two.  (Explore image for examples and freebie!)

Here's a mini-unit that can be done any time of year: (Explore image for link!)

If you find a couple of books about camping, you've got yourself a mini-unit in a day! Fun activities that practice important skills!

I happen to have a number of "no prep" activities you can find HERE. Most of them are seasonal, which adds to the fun! (I go straight to these sets if I'm going to be out!)

Now I suppose you're wondering why I was at school so late last night if I have all these ideas...  Well, I just hadn't updated my files from last year, and my schedule is totally different!  Now that the files are updated for the year, next time I'm sick will be easy peasy!

### Count to 1,000 Freebie Booklet

Some of my students have been struggling with counting once they get over 100. I decided to give them a hand and have them make some booklets where they can count to 1,000 with little help.

The kids started working on their booklets on Friday and they were totally into it!  You couldn't hear a peep in the whole room!

To make this freebie booklet, click the image above or click here: Count to 1,000 booklet.

I have a few games and activities I play with the children with these booklets.
• First, I have them trace the numbers, each hundred in a different color.
• Then, we play "find the number". With a small group, I'll name a 3 digit number and have a race to see who can find that number the quickest.  (I'll give a token to the first few to find that number.)
• Then I'll let individuals call out 3 digit numbers for classmates to find in the booklets.
• Then we call out numbers for them to name the number before or after.
• I'll bet you can think of other ways to get the children to search their "Count to 1,000" booklets to help them get to know Number sense!

For a more complex resource, with more differentiation options, click the image below or see here: Count to 1,000 booklet.

You have the option of making booklets with the numbers already there, having the children fill in most of the numbers, or having the children write ALL the numbers.  I had my second graders fill in the numbers, one page at a time. The first hundred were easy for them, but when they got to the second hundred, many of the children needed assistance.  Going through this process will really help the little ones understand our number system and its patterns, and help them develop their number sense!

### Why Do We Practice Nonsense Words?

Brain research tells us that learning needs to be meaningful. We need to connect our learning with things that are important in our lives. Typically, it's not too tough to convince children that reading is meaningful. In fact, reading has its own reward: as you get better at reading, the books and stories get better.

It's a little tougher to convince children why we practice reading nonsense words. Despite what I've heard from some, it's not to have more successful test scores on the DIBELS tests.

This is what I tell the kids:

## to practice the "sounding out" skill, so we'll be better at figuring out new words!

if we practice the "sounding out" skill with actual words, the visual memory can get in the way of this skill, and they're not actually practicing the "sounding out" skill, they're just recognizing the word from the way it looks.  Therefore, we use nonsense words.

Of course, there are some children who are strong sight word readers, and feel they pretty much know all the words.

So we talk about some of those ten dollar words they'll see as they grow as readers.

Words like Constantinople, or Emancipation Proclamation, or Deoxyribonucleic acid or even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Here are some activities I do to practice that "sounding out" skill.

Multisyllable nonsense word game: Buggy Syllables

## What do you use to help your children practice looking for letter sounds and patterns in new words?

### Build Number Sense With Daily Routine

There are some important number concepts that can be practiced just through our daily routine. Here are a couple of examples:

All my students have a class number. I think it's a great way to keep things in order, plus, it plays a big role in developing counting skills!

Often, when I call on the children to line up, or to go to their next activity, I'll call the odd numbers first, then the even numbers. (Or even, then odd.)

Sometimes I'll go beyond the number of kids I have in the class so they can really hear the pattern. After a while, they anticipate the pattern I'm calling and are super ready when I get to their number.

Sometimes I'll count by 5s, then go 5s +1, then 5s +2, etc, while pointing the pattern out on our class number grid. (5, 10, 15, 20, 6, 11, 16, 21, 7, 12, etc.)

Other times I'll call a pattern like... 1, 11, 2, 12, 3, 13, and so on.  They always watch when I point these out on the number grid as I call out the numbers.

Then there are days I just call out the numbers in order, or in backward order. Sometimes I start with 1, and other times I'll just start with a child who is behaving properly (as opposed to rolling around on the floor, which second graders often see at the end of a lesson!). Then, I've been known to start with a random number off the top of my head for no reason. I like to keep them on their toes!

Another way I keep them thinking about numbers during their daily routine is by consistently writing odd numbers in red and even numbers in green. Why? Because red means stop!  Why do we stop for odd numbers? Because someone or something doesn't have a partner! Since the even/ odd concept is in the common core for second grade, I mention it often, and constantly bring up that odd numbers are odd because they can't be paired off. They know what it's like to be without a partner, and that personal connection helps them remember why even numbers are different from odd numbers!  (Brain research tells us this.)

Here's another thing I do that helps the children internalize number concepts: I change my jobs after each set of ten! Most teachers change their classroom jobs weekly. I used to do that, but I realized how changing after 10 days will help internalize that concept of ten for these kids, especially since sets of ten is huge in our number system!

## Do you have any routines that help secure number concepts?

### Seven Ideas for Reading Accurately

I've finished my DIBELS, and my kids are all over the ball park as far as their needs go. I have noticed that several students had high "Words Correct Per Minute", but their accuracy was low. These kids read loads of words, but were adding, changing, and omitting lots of words. These same kids also had trouble with punctuation, and retelling the story. They need work on accuracy!

## Here are some ideas for working on accuracy.

1.  Tell them that's what they need to work on. Yes, seriously, give them the feedback they need. That's the number one trick to improvement, knowing what you need to work at! If necessary, go back to the "finger pointing" stage to help them focus on the words that are really there.

2.  Partner reading - One partner reads, the other partner checks to make sure they're reading accurately. This works best if the children are evenly matched at their own reading level.

3. Read with an adult - Grab a spare adult somewhere to read with students! It might be a teacher assistant, a parent volunteer, or maybe even the librarian, phys. ed. teacher or music teacher! Anyone that has a few minutes can sit down with a child and listen to them read. (Make sure they are ready to give feedback!)

4. Have them read "out soft" - often!  The more they read so someone can hear, the more accurate they will become. That "sense of an audience" really makes a difference. When my students come to reading group, I have them bring a book they are working on, and they are expected to sit down and start reading it "out soft". That means: loud enough so that I can hear them across the reading table, but not loud enough to be heard from across the room. They find it a little awkward at first, but it doesn't take long for them to feel comfortable reading their book just loud enough to be heard. This trick also gives me a chance to listen to individuals, give a little extra time to some kids, and has the children warmed up and ready for reading group. I notice huge improvements in accuracy and fluency when I start doing this!

5. Readers Theater - As mentioned above, that "sense of an audience" is a big motivator! Plus, Readers Theater can be fun, which is another plus! There are plenty of sources of scripts out there. Just google it! Just beware of the danger of readers theater: after reading it a few times, they memorize the script. Then it isn't real reading anymore!

6.  Reading song lyrics - Music is very closely related to the memory. If they already know the song, they'll be able to read the lyrics. Give out song sheets and have them "finger read". As above, just make sure they are truly reading, not reciting something that they have memorized. (Nothing wrong with memorization, but that's not the skill we're trying to improve!)

7.  Practice sight words and phrases - In order to read accurately, they've got to know the words! Experts recommend that children learn sight words in context. See the freebie below for several phrases using the Dolch pre-primer list. There are plenty more of these for other levels, too!

## I love going all out for Constitution Day!

My students wear red, white, and blue, and the whole school recites the pledge together, outdoors at the flagpole.

We have 1700s USA flags for the kids to color, and copies of the school promise to sign with a quill pen. Sometimes even George Washington and Benjamin Franklin stop by the classrooms with a little skit about the signing of the Constitution.

Of course, I might read a book or two:

Here's one of my favorite Schoolhouse Rock Videos!

Here's a Constitution Trivia Boom Learning Activity:

And, of course, I have a couple of Patriotic Freebies:

Here's an explanation of 6 USA holidays, and some suggestions on how to celebrate our country.

Here's another freebie:  a variety of paper with a USA theme:

## What are your ideas for fun on Constitution Day?

### Five Ways to Practice Counting By Fives

I've got some kids that totally need practice counting by 5s!  This is a pretty important math concept, as it is needed to count money as well as tell time.  As they get older, it will help with multiplication.

Plus, it's in the Common Core State Standards for second grade:
CCSS.Math.Content 2 NBT.A.2: Count within 1000; skip count by 5s, 10s, and 100s.

Yes, that does say within 1,000!  That means they should be able to start at 825 and keep going by 5s through 1,000!
That's why I brainstormed this list of
Five Ways to Practice Counting by Fives!

1.  Here are some You Tube Videos that are great!  They combine music, rhythm, visuals, and fun!  That's a brain based recipe for learning!

Exercise and Count by 5s - Jack Hartman

Blast Off!  Counting by 5s

Counting by Fives Song  by Have Fun Learning

Counting by Fives - Schoolhouse Rock

Whacha' Gonna Do?  (Rap counting by 2, 5 and 10)

As I was posting these, I listened to them. That last one (the rap) is now stuck in my head. I suppose that's great if it happens to the kids who need to learn to count by 5s!

2.  Learning Games!  I posted about this game just the other day.  It's great for learning any sequence that needs to be memorized. To download the directions, explore the image for the link, or go here: How to Play Countdown.

3.  Let them see the pattern!  I like to have loads of laminated copies of number grids around the room for the kids to look at, talk about, and mark up with their wipe off markers.  They can call out the numbers by 5s as they circle them.  It really helps those visual kids to see the patterns. (Brain research tells us ALL students benefit from visuals! You can download a freebie color coded number grid HERE (or click the image) and you can download a freebie color coded number grid here: Color Coded Number Grid.(or see  the image.) Plus you can download your color coded grid to 1,000 grid here: Numbers 0 - 1,000.

4.  Get physical - and funny!  Kids need to move, and we know that movement and exercise help bring oxygen to the brain, therefore helping the memory!  We do loads of movement while counting, such as follow the leader, brain gym exercises, jumping jacks, push ups (the boys love these... and think they're doing them right with their little behinds up in the air!) and just about anything we can think of to get the counting to be automatic.  Since laughter also brings oxygen to the brain, it's fun to do the counting with a funny voice.  For some reason, I often break into a southern accent while counting by 5s, and the kids giggle like crazy and join right in!  (Waving y'all to all my southern friends... feel free to break into a Boston accent with your kids!)

5.  Don't stop at 100, and leave out the "and"!  I know, this isn't actually a 5th idea, but it's a pet peeve of mine.  My second graders are learning that counting by 5s keeps going after 100!  Those first 2 rows after 100 on the hundred grid are the toughest for the kids to learn, so it's important to go at least past 120!  Did you realize the proper way to say 105 is "one hundred five" without the word and.  Technically, the word "and" stands for the decimal point, so "one hundred and five" really means 100.5.  (OK, you'd really say "one hundred and five tenths", but let's get the kids in the right habit now so the kids won't get confused when they learn decimals!)