In first grade, fact families are a big deal. We are all about playing around with numbers to see the different relationships that form.
Our favorite way to practice fact families is through centers! I started doing math centers this past fall after attending an SDE conference. I went to Reagan Tunstall’s session on guided math groups and fell in love! We don’t get to centers every day, unfortunately, but they BEG for them! Sometimes we even choose to do math centers instead of indoor recess. (My kids are crazy…crazy awesome!)
ANYWAY. Back to fact families. Here are some of our favorite centers to practice those pesky fact families!
I love Three Corner! Basically, it’s a fact family triangle. The sum or whole is always on the top in purple and the parts or addends are on the bottom in blue. We switch up covering up either the part or the whole to practice! I do this whole group as a warm up a lot of the time under my document camera. We use them in a center and the kids quiz each other. This builds great number sense!
We always use dice in our room. Here kiddos would roll two dice for the two parts, then write down the whole. Then we would write the fact family to match. This page is from Brown Bag Teacher.
In my small group, we practiced moving numbers around with playing cards. This concrete moving of the numbers really helped my lower students see how the numbers related to each other. The kiddos practiced writing the related facts as we moved them around.
This is the same idea as the triangles above, but this time its our turn to create the facts. We would roll a dice twice and write the two numbers on the bottom part of the triangle (blue). We then add then numbers together to find the sum and write it at the top (green). It’s then time to write out the fact family in the middle! I love that they are dry erase!
We LOVE the iPod center. Here are two of our favorite games. They aren’t exactly “fact family” practice, but simple addition and subtraction practice.
One fun app is Math Duel. Two students (or teams) compete to answer the question. The kiddos get really into this game!
Math Bingo is by ABCya and is super fun! You figure out the math fact, then find the answer. Once you answer correctly, you get a little bug on that space. When you reach bingo, you get to play a game with the bugs. We love it!
How do you practice fact families in your room? Any other fun tips you can share?
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Let’s be real – we have a million things on our mind at all times. So many things to remember! We have to remember to differentiate, learning styles, interests, data, meetings, bus duty, classroom management, rules, procedures, plus so many more things constantly. I LOVE this meme – it’s so true!
So how do we keep up with everything? I’ve found a super simple trick to help me and my students remember things that need to happen at specific times.
I have a student who gets medicine daily at noon and another student who leaves school on a special bus thirty minutes before the rest of the school packs up for the day. We are in centers when noon hits, so I’m never looking at a clock. We are wrapping up math and starting centers when my other student’s bus leaves, so I need to remind that student to get her stuff packed up before the bus comes. Friday afternoons are crazy and I have a student who receives a “Snack Backpack,” which is a grocery sack from a local organization (RIFA) filled with non perishable items for her to take home and eat over the weekend. And then of course you know I want to participate in #TeachersFeetUpFriday on Instagram! But how do I remember it all??
I use my phone’s built in alarm! I simply create an alarm for each of the things that I need to remember and then when the alarm sounds, I check my phone and know what I’m supposed to do. EASY - PEASY.
I even set a different ringtone for each of the alarms, so all the students know what each sound means. For example, my phone make the “Radar” noise for my student’s medicine time. Whenever the alarm goes off, I don’t even tell my student to go to the office – he and his friend automatically head to get the hall pass and head out the door. It’s FANTASTIC. If for some reason the boys don’t hear it (when they have headphones on), I have several girls who take it upon themselves to make sure they get the memo. The same thing goes for my student who packs up her things early – I don’t mention it to her anymore! She has learned to gather her things quietly while the rest of us continue what we are doing.
The alarm that goes off only on Fridays is especially helpful. I would sometimes forget to send my student to “Backpack Club” to get her sack sometimes because it wasn’t part of my daily routine. I felt horrible! Now she listens for her “song” on my phone and knows that she is allowed to head on to the guidance room.
This little trick has definitely helped me this year. Not only does it cut down on my stress level, but it puts responsibility back on the students. They know what to do when a particular sound happens and they just do it.
Do you use alarms in the classroom? What other ways can you use this little trick to make your life easier?