Saturday, January 18, 2014

True of False Equations

Hi, Determining whether an equation is true or false (CCSS 1.OA.D.7) has recently become one of my favorite math standards. Kids who are not fluent with basic facts often tire of many types of practice, but are loving sorting equation cards by whether they are true or false. In working with these materials, they are becoming more fluent with basic facts while also developing problem solving skills.

Today, I'd like to share a freebie with you. It's a set of 48 true or false equation cards for addition within ten. These cards can be used for 2 different levels of Scoot games ~ everything you need is included. If you have't played Scoot with your kids yet, here's a great chance to try it out! (These equation cards are also handy for partner work and sorting activities.) 

To grab this free item, click here.

Here are some photos:

        I am also offering a product which includes ten levels of True/False equation cards and activities on my Teachers pay Teachers shop.  The levels are:
  • Addition within 10
  • Subtraction within 10
  • Mixed Addition/Subtraction within 10
  • Addition within 20
  • Subtraction within 20
  • Mixed Addition/Subtraction within 20
  • Addition Problems within 10 such as 5 + 1 = 4 + 3
  • Subtraction  Problems within 10 such as 8 - 1 =  9 - 2
  • Mixed +/- Problems within 10 such as 8 + 1 =  10 - 1
  • Mixed +/- Problems within 20 such as 18 - 9 =  7 + 2
Here's my very favorite part of all this: My son, Keith, took an interest in this product. He's 19 years old and is studying Computer Science at Binghamton University. He decided to make an app out of it. We've been having a blast working together and the app is now available for iPad on the Apple App Store. Here are a couple screen shots of this app. 

iPad Screenshot 1

iPad Screenshot 2

If you want to take a look at this app, you can check it out here

If you have comments or feedback, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at

Many thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Building and Reading Simple Sentences

Even while kids are still working on letter identification, I love to get them involved in building and reading simple sentences.  

I start with a simple alphabet book or emergent text. Alphabet books from Lakeshore are pictured. If I didn't have books with the sentence structure I'm looking for, I'd create an anchor chart and work from there. 

I prepare by putting the magnetic letters kids will need to form a sentence in a little cup.  For alphabet-based sentences, I add an item that starts with the letter. Each child gets a sentence strip to build on. They shake the cup and use the book (or anchor chart) as a resource to build the sentence.

As kids work, we talk about leaving spaces between words and about a sentence being a group of words that makes sense together. We also pay attention to the period at the end of the sentence.  

I find that I can work with 3 or 4 kids at a time, so this is a great activity for guided reading groups or intervention groups. 

After each child has built and read his/her sentence, we put the letters back in the cups together.  I give directions such as: "Pick up the letter H. Put it in your cup. Find the word is. Hold the word is in your hand. Spell is with me. Pick up the word for. Let's spell for together. . . . "

Once everything is back in the cup, kids pass the cup to the person beside them and they each spill and build again. It's fun to see how much quicker they get as the lesson goes on!

I've also created a set of sight word sentences for very early readers. Ever see a child read a full page when he/she only knows 1 word? Check out this sight word sentence page for the word I. 
Because of the high level of picture support, kids can successfully read this page when they know the word I. (We provide support as needed to help them use initial sounds to check their reading on the other words.)  

This series builds just one word at a time. Here's the order of the first few words: I, like, my, see, can, the, go. Within the first seven lessons using this program, kids are proudly reading the sheet pictured below. 
After reading these sheets at school, kids bring them home to share with their families. Repeated reading is very important at this stage, so I have a child color one star in each time he/she reads the sheet. When all the stars are filled in, they bring it back to show me. (We celebrate and they earn a tiny treat.)

If you'd like to take a closer look at these sheets, you can download the samples shown above by clicking here. 

If you decide you'd like to use these with your students, you can get the set at my Teachers pay Teachers or Teachers Notebook shop. 

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a look!

:) Anne Gardner (NBCT, Literacy)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Group Decision Making

Group decision making ~ it can be so tough!

From little decisions like where the family is going for dinner to significant policy decisions in our schools, it can be a grueling process.

Today, I want to share my all-time favorite tool for group decision making.

First, the group has to define the options. Once that's done, it's simple. The options are written down. Each group member gets a set number of chips (or any small object).

Each group member "weighs in" on the decision by placing chips on their choice of option(s). The beauty of this is, no group member has to choose a single option. Going out to eat, I may be torn between going for Italian or Mexican food. I could put an equal number of chips on both choices.

Once all group members have placed their chips, the chips are added up and the choice most often becomes clear.

I like it so much better than a simple vote - and sometimes trying to reach a consensus just doesn't work.

This can work for groups of students ~ they can "weigh in" to decide what book to read next in a literature circle or what treat to have for a class celebration.

It works beautifully with families, and I think it is also a great option for groups such as policy boards.

Do you have twists on decision making that work for you? If so, I'd love to hear about them!

Thanks for stopping by!    :) Anne