Sunday, February 19, 2017


Here are two simple little ideas to start each day on a positive note. The first one came from a teacher in Ohio years ago. He said that he adapted this concept from a football coach.

Morning Mantra
     Teacher: What is my job today?
     Children: Your job is to teach us and to love us.
     Teacher: What is your job today?
     Children: Our job is to learn and to love each other.
During the day if children are behaving inappropriately you can remind them gently by saying, "What is your job today? Are you doing your job?"

This other idea came from my exercise teacher who says this to her two girls each morning. You will remember it from the movie THE HELP. Write these statements on a chart and read over together at morning meeting.

     I am smart. (Point to brain.)
     I am kind. (Hand on heart.)
     I am important. (Hug self.)


Lucky me to be honored at James B. Edwards Elementary Leadership Day last Friday!  The CD (Child Development in SC aka pre-K) decorated their doors with my songs and sang their little hearts out on stage.  My heart was so happy!!!  


Saturday, February 18, 2017


Subitizing is the ability to recognize numbers without counting. Dot cards can contribute to children’s understanding of number concepts, counting, composing and decomposing numbers, and a variety of standards. Take a look at all the ways you can use dot cards in your classroom.

Hint! Start with dot patterns up to 6 and then extend it to 10 when they are ready.
*Make sure to download dot cards on card stock or heavy paper.
One to One
Children match up pompoms, beans, erasers, pebbles, and other small objects with dots on cards.

Dot Flash
The teacher quickly holds up a dot card and then places it face down. The children hold up that number of fingers on their chest. Ask, “How did you know it was that number?”

Clip It
Children use the appropriate number of paper clips or clothespins to attach to the dot cards.

Copy Cat
The teacher holds up a dot card. The children try to reproduce the pattern with their own counters.

Sort dot cards by amount.
Sort odd and even cards.

Line Up
Students line up the dot cards in numerical order from largest to smallest or smallest to largest.

Match dot cards with dots on dice.
Match dot cards with ten frames with the same amount.
Make puzzle games where children match dots with numerals or words.

Partner Count
Cards are placed face down on the table. One card is turned over and the first child to say the number gets to keep the card. The partner must count the dots to verify it’s correct.
*To make the game more challenging, ask them to say one more than the quantity of dots, one less, two more, etc.


Run off two sets of dot cards. Place them face down on the floor. One child at a time turns over two cards. If the cards match they make keep them and take another turn. If the cards don’t match, they are turned back over and the next child takes a turn.

Top It
You will need several sets of dot cards for this game. Shuffle the cards and lay them face down in a pile. One child at a time chooses a card. The child with the largest number of dots wins both cards. If they turn over the same amount they continue to draw cards until one player has a higher number.

It Adds Up
Two children have a set of cards and face each other. They each turn over a card and add up the amount. The first child to correctly say the answer gets to keep the cards.
*Tally to keep score.

Paper Plates
How about making some dot plates?

Friday, February 17, 2017


One math standard that many children struggle with is the ability to understand what is one more and one less. Let’s see what happens when we hop, sing, and move this standard.

Paper Clip (Parisa Ghannadan)
Make a number line on a sentence strip. Use a paper clip to slide to different numbers and the children can see what comes before and after.
Number Line Hop
Draw a number line with chalk on the carpet or use masking tape to make a number line on the floor. Choose different children to hop to a number. What is one less? What is one more?
*Let children roll one or two dice and then hop to that number. What is one more? Less?
*Call two children and ask each to stand on a different numeral on the number line. Which one is more? Which one is less?

Ruler Game
Give children a ruler to use as a number line. Have them point to the numbers as they count on the ruler. Can you find 6? What’s 1 more than 6? What is 1 less than 6?

Counting on a Shoestring
Write numerals 0-20 on a cotton shoestring with a permanent marker. Insert a bead. Children move the bead as they count. They can clearly see what is one more and one less.
Ten Little Friends
Ten little friends (Hold up fingers.)
Went out to play (Wiggle.)
On a very bright
And sunny day.
And they took a little walk.
Walk, walk, walk. (Walk fingers in front of your body.)
And they had a little talk.
Talk, talk, talk. (Put fingertips together.)
They climbed a great big hill (Move fingers over your head.)
And stood on the top very still. (Keep hands still.)
Then they all tumbled down (Roll hands around and down.)
And fell to the ground.
We’re so tired, (Hold up fingers.)
They all said.
So they all went home
And went to bed.
10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – (Put down fingers one at a time as you
5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1. count backwards and lower your voice.)
Good night! (Lay head on hands.)

Country Countdown 1-20 (“Totally Math” CD)
All right all you cowboys and cowgirls.
Time to count ‘em up and count ‘em down with me.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Turn around and count back down.
20 19 18 …..
Let’s do it again…

More or Less Game
Make a grid similar to the one shown. Two children take turns making sets with unifix cubes in the middle section. Their partner has to make sets with “one more” and “one less.”
Magic Number Countdown
Children stand in a circle. The first child says “one,” and children continue counting around the circle. When you get to ten or a set of ten, that child must sit down. Continue counting until you get to 100 and then start all over again. The last child standing is the winner.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Skip counting is a powerful way to prepare children for multiplication. You can clap, snap, hop, or jump as you skip count by ones, two’s, fives, tens, and so forth.

Whisper Skip Count
You can also try this patty cake technique with a partner. Count by two’s by placing your hands on your shoulders as you whisper “one.” Shout “two” as you patty cake in the air. Whisper “three” as you touch your shoulders and then shout “four” as you patty cake…

For counting by three’s place hands on waist and whisper “one.” Hands on shoulders and whisper “two.” Hands patty cake and shout “three.” Whisper “four” with hands on waist. Whisper “five” with hands on shoulders. Shout “six” and patty cake…

Four’s – knees, waist, shoulders, patty cake

Five’s – toes, knees, waist, shoulders, patty cake

Skip Count Books
Make a “High Five” book with children’s fingers. Trace around each child’s hand on a 6” square and let them decorate it. Attach pages with tape to make an accordion book. Number pages 5, 10, 15, 20…etc.
*Make a “Piggie Book” by tracing around children’s feet. Practice counting by ten’s with this book.

*"Eye" Count by Twos can be made by letting children draw their eyes.

Tunes to Skip Count
Sing and skip count by 2’s to “Twinkle Little Star.”

Practice counting by 3’s to “Are You Sleeping?”

4’s “Row Your Boat”

5’s “The Bear Went over the Mountain”

6’s “London Bridge”

7’s “Ten Little Indians”

8’s “This Old Man”

Macarena Skip Count
You can skip count by any multiple as you do the Macarena.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


It's time to give math a little love with "Show Me" cards.  These cards can be used to reinforce almost any math skill you are working on. They engage all children and give you the opportunity to quickly assess who has mastered a skill and who needs more help.
                                      Make a set of “show me” cards for each child by writing the numerals 0-10 on index cards. Have children store their cards in a zip bag in their desk or cubby. When you have a few extra minutes, have the children get their cards and arrange them on the floor or table in numerical order from 1-10. Use the cards for some of the games below. 

Here's where you can download number cards.  These store nicely in an envelope.

How Many?
Clap, snap, or stomp a set. Show me how many.
How many toes do you have? Show me.

Mystery Number
I’m thinking of a number between 4 and 6. Show me.
I’m thinking of a number two more than seven. Show me.

Math Facts
4 plus 2. Show me.
9 minus 3. Show me.

Number Stories
I had four pennies. I found three more. Show me how many I have in all.

Decompose Numbers – How many ways can you make seven?

Fact Families - Call out numbers in a fact family. Can children write the equations in that fact family?

Odd and Even – Sort the odd and even numbers.

Place Value - Put 3 in the tens spot and two in the ones spot. What’s the number?

Tap Happy
Children sit on the floor facing their partner. Place one set of the “show me” cards on the floor between them. The teacher calls out math facts or number stories. Who can tap the correct answer first? Keep score if you wish.

Hint!  For younger children start with 1-5.  For older children make cards 0-20.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


I'm jealous of all of you today. One of my sweetest teaching memories is the Valentine party. The children would be delighted as they opened their cards. "Oh, look! I got Mickey Mouse from Laura!" Those little paper cards were almost as good as the big expensive toys they got at Christmas.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "We are so busy trying to give children things we didn't have that we are failing to give them what we did have."

On this day we are giving children a memory that each of us had when we were growing up. A memory of a cupcake or cookie and an envelope filled with love. A memory of a classroom family being happy and enjoying the moment together.

Take a deep breath and enjoy all the LOVE today!!!


Monday, February 13, 2017


Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about indoor games. Ginny McLay told me how she adapted 4 corners for different skills she was working on. It was such a great idea I asked her to tell you more about it.

This is a fun way to review skills. I place sticky notes and/or pieces of paper in 4 (or 5) corners in the room. I write the skills to be practiced on each paper.  (You can put the 5th corner in the middle of the room or in the middle of the wall.)
For example: short e pattern word endings (en, et, ed, and one corner is labeled "other")

The kids walk to a corner. I close my eyes and pick a word. We tap it out together and then we spell it out loud together. While they are spelling it I type the word on the computer and it shows up on the screen for all to see. If they are in that corner they must sit down. The game continues as the kids move to another corner and I pick another word.
This game can be adapted for other skills, such as short vowels, digraphs, etc.

For math put numerals in the corners and spell number words. For addition facts put the sums in the corner and say the addend.

They don’t even know they are learning!!! They want to play many rounds!!