Multiplication Can Be Fun

Happy Wednesday! It’s another day which also means another snow day. Yes, this is officially the 5th snow day so far this year. It’s insane but I’m starting to accept that this is beginning to be the norm. Since I have the whole day off I figured I would share with you some of my favorite multiplication games that are helping my students memorize and learn their facts in a fun entertaining way.

As most of you know, one of the main things that you learn in 3rd grade is your multiplication facts. We’ve been working HARD on this since November and we’re slowly making progress. In one of my older posts I shared our multiplication sundae incentive and that is working great but I still have half of my class stuck on similar facts.

Last year I taught 4th grade and I was shocked that at the beginning of the year less than half of my students knew their facts. I found all of these games last year and it helped them remember their facts by October. I don’t want my 3rd graders going into 4th grade in the same boat so I took out all of these games (and found more) to use daily in my room.

The first game is a HUGE hit with my students! It’s multiplication connect 4. I found this on Grace Hartman‘s store on TPT. It’s as easy as it sounds, students have 2 dice, role them and then multiply the 2 numbers. Whatever the answer is they cover up that number. Their goal is to get 4 in a row before their partner. It is SUPER easy and SUPER fun. One of my students yesterday told me it was her favorite game that we’ve learned so far.

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The next game that was a hit last year with my 4th graders as well as my 3rd graders this year is multiplication squares. It’s just like the normal squares game that most kids play at restaurants on their kids meal mats. I found this activity on Flying Through Fourth‘s page. All you need is 2 dice and 2 colored pencils. It is similar to connect 4 because students role and multiply their dice. They find that number and make a line by that number. The person who completes a square around that number gets to color it in. At the end of the game, the student with the most colored squares wins. Super easy!

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The next few are more activities that I do with my whole class at once. The first activity is a free multiplication scoot game that is just as it sounds. I’m using this tomorrow in my room as a full review. The other activity I will be trying (that I did last year twice a week) is a free multiplication “I have/who has” game. Again, just as it sounds. It helps with concentration and knowing facts fast! I found the free scoot game on Teaching with Heart in Texas‘s page and I found this version of I have who has on Erica Castillo‘s page. The last activity I will use as a “homework assignment” that is all about multiplication/division fact families. I got this from Alissa Manning-Telisak’s store and I am so excited to use it! They role their dice and practice their facts while also understanding the relation between multiplication and division.

The next few games I have never tried before but I plan to use them in the next week or so. I found all again on Teachers Pay Teachers and they are all FREE as well! From Light Bulb’s and Laughter‘s page I found a fun Penguin Multiplication dice game which is exactly like the connect 4 game except that it has a fun penguin theme and is super cute! The second game I’ll be trying is a 7s facts game. This was found on Games 4 Learning‘s page. Like most of the other games, you need 2 dice. The twist on this game is that when the 2 dice are rolled the student adds the numbers together and THEN multiplies the sum by 7. 7s are tricky for my students so I plan on using this multiple times over the next few months.

A final game that I love to use isn’t something I found on Teachers Pay Teachers because it’s a game most of us grew up playing with a twist. I love to have my students play multiplication war. All you need is a deck of cards and groups of 2 (you can have larger groups but that takes some more planning.) Just like normal war, the students each have half the deck and flip over a card at the same time. The first person to multiply the 2 cards and say the answer gets the pair of cards. The person who ends up with all of the cards wins the game. I have my students take out the Jokers and tell them that all of the face cards equal 10. That’s because we only have to memorize facts up to 10, but if you want to go higher you can make the Jack an 11 or the Queen a 12. This game is the easiest by far and can get pretty intense. Last year my 4th graders got into some heated arguments over who said the answer first.

The best way for students to learn is by having them not know they are learning! By playing these games, they get to practice their facts while having fun. They get so caught up in the games that they don’t even realize they’re doing math. I LOVE all of these activities and plan to use them every day for as long as we can! The best part about all of these is that they’re all FREE!! Who doesn’t love that!?

For more of my day to day school life and the activities we do, go follow me on instagram @lifeoftherookieteacher!

Valentine’s Day Craziness

Hello fellow readers, and if you’re still awake after Valentine’s Day week, teachers! This was a super fun week (but yes, very exhausting.) On Valentine’s Day we went all out all day long while still incorporating our daily curriculum. I had the best day but I am tired!!

We started the day off with a Valentine’s Day surprise. I put a donut on each student’s desk for them to see and eat when they walked in. We also were celebrating our great behavior in the past few weeks by having a pajama day! They walked in and were so excited it made my day!!

To calm the craziness and chaos, they started the morning laying in a cozy spot with a book and their donut. It calmed them down from the excitement of what was to come that day and they thought it was so cool because they were wearing cozy clothes, had their blankets, and were eating donuts on the ground while reading.

For reading we did a fun creative writing project. My mom is a teacher and I got the best activity from her (I actually did the activity with her and her class 3 years ago while I was volunteering one day so the example below is mine! Haha sorry for the lame writing.) They each got a box of conversation hearts and a piece of pink paper. They had to come up with their own creative story using the conversation hearts as they wrote. They found it so silly because they had to use hearts that said “I love you” and “kiss me.” They had so much fun and I loved watching them and reading what they wrote.

During math I had my observation (of course on Valentine’s Day) with my principal so I needed to find a quality lesson but also something fun because it was V-Day and they weren’t going to focus on anything serious lesson. We are currently learning fractions (and struggling) so I went on the trusty Teachers Pay Teachers and found another conversational heart activity that related to fractions. They had a blast with this as well! I found the activity on Miss B and Grade 3‘s store. I actually did this exact same activity last year with my 4th graders but my 3rd graders did just as well with it.

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They each got another box of hearts and then had to sort out 10 hearts into their colors. They had to then create fractions of a color out of the 10 total pieces they had. They did well! (Better than my 4th graders actually!) Luckily for me as well, they were on their BEST behavior! When the principal walked in my students were talking and one of my boys, WHO ALWAYS IS TALKING, goes “shhhhhhhhhhhh guys, Mr. G**** is here.” Man, kids are so weird and unpredictable during observations. Overall, it went super well.

After lunch we braved our “party.” (Which consisted of opening boxes and listening to music for 20 minutes.) With not having school for almost 2 weeks total, we never had time to make any boxes, so they had to create their own at home. Holy cow, I want to do this next year again because they were SO CREATIVE!!! I attached my favorites below but I was impressed. When I was in school, we NEVER had boxes as cute as the ones they made.

To end the day, I turned on the Berenstain Bear’s Valentine’s Day episode (free on Youtube) and enjoyed the silence of my student’s as they intently watched this cute 25 minute video.

It was a crazy day, and a fun day, but I’m glad it’s over and that it’s officially the weekend because I’m tired! My mom said something to me yesterday that really stuck. She told me that she believes Valentine’s Day is probably most students’ favorite day of the year. That really hit me because after seeing their excitement and happiness opening their Valentine’s and doing all of our activities throughout the day, I think she might be right. Watching them and all of their reactions had to have been my favorite part of the whole thing!

I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day!¬† I hope that if you’re a teacher, you had fun and aren’t too exhausted from the craziness. In my personal life, Valentine’s Day is just another day, but seeing Valentine’s Day through their eyes made me see how great the holiday can be when you’re surrounded by those who love and care about you.

To see more of my day to day experiences and the live activities we do in class, go follow me on instagram @lifeoftherookieteacher!

Another Day, Another Snowstorm

Well it’s been almost another full week of school and guess what, we’ve had barely any school once again! I’m not kidding, this is NOT REAL!

The week started off Monday when we got the call at 5:30 in the morning saying we were going to have a 2 hour late start. I figured I would use the time to sleep in an extra hour but then get to school and have an extra hour of prep time. Just when I was about to start getting ready, my phone rang again saying that they called it and school was closed again. Honestly, this one wasn’t too devastating. We did have school last Monday (and then pretty much nothing all week) so I figured I could just pretend last Monday was this Monday and I would just continue on Tuesday like the last few weeks never happened.

Tuesday started and luckily it was a normal day, but I was so thrown off from the not having school that actually having school was weird. I was so NOT in the teaching zone. I made it through the day and then had to head to out to a gymnastics meet. We had a conference dual meet against a team that was an hour away. I was so excited for it but then I left school and noticed we were in a full blown snow storm. It took us over 2 1/2 hours to make an hour long drive. Because of that, we then had to push everything back later than normal. Long story short, a meet that should’ve been done by 9 and had me in bed by 10, ended later than normal and had me in bed past midnight. (Not my normal school night.)

I woke up only a few hours later early Wednesday morning sick….of course! Of all the days and weeks I could get sick, it had to be after having a week off from school. I had the plan to get to school super early this morning (Thursday) because I wanted to get caught up from yesterday, but guess what!? We were in the middle of another snow storm again! Even though I left early, I still made it to school around the same time because the roads were so bad.

The morning was going so smoothly until at about 10:30 I got the email. The email informed us that we would be getting out at noon because it was so bad outside. They made the announcement to the school a few minutes later and I pretty much lost control of my class. At noon, instead of staying later to work, I had to leave with my kiddos because the roads were SO bad they were encouraging all staff members to leave as soon as possible as well.

As soon as I got home I got an email saying that we are already 2 hours late tomorrow morning because the snow isn’t supposed to let up until early tomorrow morning, which means that tomorrow is going to be a wash of a day too.

I JUST WANT TO TEACH!!!! I have NEVER experienced anything like this before! When I was in school, the most consecutive days we ever had off was 2! Some years, we never had a snow day. My mom has been teaching for over 25 years and she cannot believe what has been happening. This is killing me.

I feel like I am letting my kids down, which yes I know is dumb since I have no control over the weather, but they will be so behind! Next week WILL be a full week and a better week! I’m just looking at the last 2 weeks as an extended vacation and going to move forward! Ugh, oh Minnesota!

 

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Snow Day Valentine’s

You can’t make this stuff up but we had ANOTHER DAY OFF today from school! That makes 4 1/2 days off in a week, which NEVER happens! With the extra free time I figured I would use my time wisely and make my Valentine’s for my class.

The reason we didn’t have school today was because the roads were so icy they were too dangerous to drive on. I got pretty antsy shut up in my apartment so I waited until the roads cleared up a little bit and ventured out to the one and only Target.

I went back into their seasonal section and found some amazing Spritz Valentine’s party favors to create a fun little goodie bag for each student. The first thing I found was a pack of heart shaped putty packs with cute little goggly eyes. My kids are OBSESSED with putty and slime so I thought this was perfect!

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The second thing I purchased for them was this pack of eraser toppers. The package has a variety of different characters to choose from. The pack I bought had mermaids, hedgehogs, sloths, and dinosaurs. (You can also buy an all dinosaur pack which is also super cute!)
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The last thing I included were some Utz “x” and “o” shaped pretzels. I know Valentine’s Day is ALL about candy and sweets but with 23 students all bringing sweets for each other, they end up with plenty of candy by the time the day is over. I thought that pretzels would be a fun snack they could have that day or save for another time. (I also found that the fact they were “x” and “o” shaped was pretty adorable!)

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I wanted to attach a fun and cute card to my goodie bags but I also didn’t really want to make one. I looked on Teachers Pay Teachers and found these cute cards for my kids free on¬†Erica Bohrer’s shop.

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I LOVE putting together little goodie bags for my kids so I had a blast making these today. It also felt good to do something productive today since I couldn’t go to school once again. I really miss my kids!

I have 2 super fun activities that I’ll be sharing with everyone next week that involves candy hearts, math, and creative writing to make for a fun and educational Valentine’s Day morning.

Signing off once again from the frozen tundra that is Minnesota! I am keeping every finger and toe crossed that we will have a full next 4 days of school!

For more fun activities and day to day life, go follow my instagram account @lifeoftherookieteacher to see all of my daily stories and posts!

 

Thanks Minnesota

Oh my goodness last week was a whirlwind!

Like I said in my last post, it was SO COLD here in Minnesota that we had 2 cold days off on Tuesday and Wednesday. To make it even better, we had ANOTHER cold day on Thursday. That made 3 DAYS OFF because it was too cold to go outside! I also mentioned that last Monday, we had a late start because there was a snowstorm the night before and the roads were too bad right away in the morning to make it safely to school.

So once Friday morning came around, we had only been to school for half of a day. To make it even better, we had a scheduled early release scheduled Friday afternoon for self development. That meant that by the time my students left Friday afternoon, I had seen them for a total of 1 school day….I basically lost an entire week of school.

On the bright side, because we had no school, I didn’t have to make any new lesson plans because I just get to use exactly what I had planned to do last week. The down side is that I’ve been behind my colleagues by almost 2 weeks in both math and reading (and probably a month behind in science) and last week was my week to catch up while they used the week to review. We’re now jumping into this week and they’re moving forward skipping review so I’m pretty sure I’ll be 3 weeks behind. Go me!

It’ll all work out I just get paranoid being the new teacher in my grade level (and school) and not being on track with my team at all!

On a complete separate note, because of the cold, all sports were cancelled and rescheduled last week so my gymnastics schedule is going to be INSANE this week! We had 2 meets scheduled last week (Tuesday and Thursday) that we couldn’t have because we didn’t have school so we had a make up meet Friday, and now this week, we have a meet scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. I love coaching and meets are a blast, but most nights I don’t get home until at least past 10 (when I usually get to bed by 8 on a school night…..) and then have to be up the next morning at 6. It’s exhausting to have 1 meet in a week but 3….it’s going to be rough! Thanks Minnesota!

My plan for this week is to get caught up as much as I can in reading, math, and science while also starting to plan our Valentine’s Day party/activities. Things were so messed up last week that I honestly can’t wrap my head around the fact that Valentine’s Day is next week. I’m usually more planned and on top of school things like this but this one totally through me off! I’m just going to make it day by day and keep my eyes on Saturday morning when I’ll get to sleep again!