Showing posts with label Learning Games & Centers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Learning Games & Centers. Show all posts


Place Value and the Great (FREE) Race to 1000 Game

Place value is one of the underlying math skills that can make or break a student.  Students NEED a solid understanding of place value to master skills such as addition, subtraction, mental math, and explaining how addition and subtraction work.

In Kindergarten, students start by working with ten frames and understanding that teen numbers are a set of ten and some more ones.

In First Grade, students begin exploring place value deeper by working with 2 digit numbers, naming the positions as ones place and tens place, completing mental math of 10 more and 10 less and using place value as a specific addition/subtraction strategy.

In Second Grade, students are building on Kindergarten and First Grade to begin working with 3 digit numbers by adding the hundreds place.  Students will be counting, forming numbers, comparing numbers and using place value to solve more complicated problems.

It is critical that students are able to work fluidly and flexibly with base ten.  One of the best ways for students to do this is to play games.

One of my student's favorite games is the Race to 1000 game.  

Fun Fact: You can also play this game by racing to build 100 using only tens and ones!

(Please note, some links are affiliate links which means I may receive some pocket change to help support this blog and fund teaching expenses when you make a purchase. As always, the opinions are my own and I promise to only share what I truly love- cross my teacher's heart!)

To begin play, we divide into 2 teams (you could do more).  Each team gets a work mat and base ten materials while I collect the big foam die I have!  (If you do not have any base ten materials, I have used these fun printable ones!)

The premise of the game is simple.  Each team has 6 rolls to build a number that reaches as close to 1000 without going over!  If they go over 1000, they lose!

When a team rolls, they look at the number and decide if they are adding ones, tens or hundreds to their number or work mat.  After making the decision, they add to their work mat and play goes to the next team.  Play continues until each team has made 6 rolls.  Teams count their base ten materials and compare numbers!

After students have played in a group for awhile, they love to play in partners.

You can differentiate this game by changing the number that students build.  Try going smaller or larger.

You can download the work mat here!  After printing the work mat, I recommend laminating or placing in a page protector to make them last.

If you need some more place value practice, check out these resources in my TPT store.

Here are some of my favorites!

Counting Days of School with Base Ten Blocks
Find the Number Place Value Game

Tens and Ones Apple ThemedPlace Value Winter and Christmas


Stop the Boredom! 3 secrets to engaging students in centers!

I 💓 centers!  They promote independence in my students.  Give me time to work with small groups or individuals.  AND-- they are FUN!  (Did I say fun?  Shhhh!  Don't tell anyone!)

Seriously, sometimes I feel like all the fun is being sucked out of learning, school and being a kid!  We HAVE to do this...they HAVE to master that...

Really?  What about wonder?  Engagement? Fun?

For years, I have searched for the perfect way to keep centers consistent so students can complete them on their own, but engaging so students don't get bored.

You know what does it?


Novelty is defined as being new, original or unusual, I find that it also means it's fun.  Kids having fun are engaged.  Engaged kids are learning kids!

Here are my top three secrets to using novelty in centers.

(Please note, some links are affiliate links which means I may receive some pocket change to help support this blog and fund teaching expenses when you make a purchase. As always, the opinions are my own and I promise to only share what I truly love- cross my teacher's heart!)

#1- Think cheap.  

Novelty wears off if you keep it around too long so do NOT sink much money into it.  One of my students favorite bits of novelty is tiny centers.  I print center activity resources 2 to a page so that they are about half the size.  Set some magnifying glasses out with the center and its a whole new ballgame.  Guess how much that cost?  Yep, NOTHING! (If you already have the magnifying glasses.  If you need magnifying glasses, it is a small investment!)

#2- Make it seasonal.  

This allows you to keep the same structure to an activity so students can continue to work independently, but make it different enough that students are engaged.  In January, put it on snowflakes and snowmen.  In February, break out the hearts!

#3- Change the writing utensils.  

For writing instruction and assignments, I prefer students to use pencil.  However, when they are making a list of short a words or writing in a collaborative journal, I relax that rule.  Every few weeks, I put different writing tools out for students to use.  A pack of metallic crayons cost me a few dollars, but brought tons of multi-paragraph writing!

I am always looking for new ways to add novelty so I would love to hear what you do!  Leave me a note and watch for a shout out!


3 Traditional recess Games that Integrate Learning

Last week, I found myself with some seriously unfocused students during a downpour.  We are in the middle of our testing window for reading AND we had to finish our math benchmark.  When we closed the last testing book-- they went crazy!  We had about an hour left in the day, but I knew anything I had them do would be a battle.  And this wasn't a battle to pick.  Since it was cold and rainy, we headed to the gym.  PE classes had been canceled so we had it all to ourselves.  Here are the games we played!

1.  Book Tag!

Anyone remember TV Tag?  When you were tagged, you sat down.  You had to say the name of a TV show before you could enter the game again.  Book Tag has the same principal.  When students are tagged, they have to sit.  I went around and asked them the title of a book they had recently read!

2.  Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Sounds on Over

Ahhhhh, Red Rover.  Such a popular game when I was young.  Somehow, we all survived with our heads intact!

The updated version plays by the same procedures.  Students stand in 2 straight lines, holding hands and facing the opposite line.  One line calls out "Red Rover, Red Rover, Send _______ on over!"  The person who's name was called, leaves their line and runs to the other side.  If they are stopped by the line, they join the new line.  If they break through the line, they take their team mates that were previously captured and go back to their original line.

By assigning students a letter or phonics pattern, such as -at or Ff you open an opportunity for learning and review.  My school uses LetterLand, so I would assign students a Letterlander and give them each a sign to wear.  As students became more advanced and you moved into phonics patterns, students could advance to calling out words to come over.  For example, if the line called out "Red Rover, Red Rover, Send MAT on over!"  The students with M, A and T would run over.  Or the students with M and AT could run over.  There are so many variations to this!

You can even do it with numbers!

3 Four Square (Math)

To play Four Square (Math) you will need a traditional Four Square court, but inside each square you need to write a number.  I like to use 10 and 100 to practice mental math strategies of 10 more and 100 more.  The teacher, or leader, calls out a starting number and play begins.  As students bounce the ball, they complete the mental math of the square they are in.  For example, if the starting number is 10 and the ball bounces to the person in the '10' square, they would mentally add 10 to the starting number of 10 and say '20'.  Play continues until someone is out and players shift boxes.  The teacher, or leader, says a new number and play begins.

Do you have any fun ways to combine play and learning?

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